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by Matt Hilton
Hodder & Stoughton, February 2011
352 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 0340978333

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Joe Hunter returns for another outing in the fifth book in Matt Hilton's series. The daughter of an old colleague of Hunter's has died in a car crash and although the police think it's an accident, her father, Don Hoffman, is convinced that she was murdered. He contacts Hunter and begs him to find the people responsible for her death.

Hunter isn't so sure, but attacks on first himself and then the rest of the dead girl's family soon change his mind and send him into action against a group of white supremacists who want to hold the government to ransom and claim to have manufactured a dirty bomb to back up their threats.

This book sees Hunter on good form although on this occasion he does seem to spend longer than usual in examining his own actions and motivations in a way that comes dangerously close at times to slowing down the narrative pace. However, in spite of Hunter's bouts of introspection, the book does romp along from one threatening scenario to the next and the action scenes are as gripping and well-written as ever. A violent siege at a family house with Hunter pitted against an array of opponents determined to take no prisoners is a high point of the book and had me on the edge of my seat wondering how Hunter was going to fight his way out against heavy odds, even though it was clearly far too early in the book for him to be killed off. Despite his bouts of naval-gazing, it is clear that when it comes to the fight scenes, Hunter is as focused and ruthless as ever and Hilton has lost none of his touch in his portray of encounters like this.

Hilton also manages to stay out of moustache-twirling villain territory this time, a healthy development, as I had felt the series was in danger of producing caricature bad guys. Hunter has difficulty knowing whom to trust at times and it is good to see him off balance, especially where an old and valued friend is concerned.

BLOOD AND ASHES is a welcome addition to the series. Hilton has lost none of his flair for writing action scenes, which for me are one of the main attractions of the books. I don't think his fans will find this a disappointment. I certainly didn't.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, February 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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