Thank you to Tony Forder for a copy of this novel in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
The Huntsmen, by Tony J Forder, is the first book in a new UK crime series, based in Wiltshire.
The opener introduces the reader to DS Royston Chase and his new partner, DC Claire Laney. Chase is a family man and good at his job, but his lack of filter when speaking (caused by a brain injury sustained on the job) can cause problems. Laney is winding down towards her retirement, is bitter about having risen to the rank of DI only to see herself demoted back down again. She presents as a copper who no longer cares, but we find out otherwise. The two are supported by PCSO Alison May, who is ambitious and keen to join the force as a PC or preferably a DC.
Multiple deaths following a road collision are hard enough to deal with. That the man responsible was the ex-Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police and a Knight of the Realm is worse still for those tasked to investigate the incident. But the real question they have to answer is: who was the now deceased naked female minor alongside him at the time?
DS Royston Chase is living life as an outcast in a small Wiltshire village, and is called to the scene. Paired with the bold and strident DC Claire Laney, Chase is given the task of closing the case quickly and quietly.
But when the minor’s DNA provides a familial link to a girl who vanished from her home twenty years earlier at the age of eight, Chase and Laney refuse to accept the coincidence. The pair start looking harder at the ex-cop’s life, at which point they encounter serious opposition. Perhaps deadly serious.
Because the establishment looks after its own, and soon it’s not only their bosses getting in the way of a thorough investigation. Chase and Laney find themselves seemingly at odds with everyone, fighting to save their own reputations as well as the case. But neither will rest until they identify their young victim, no matter what the cost…
Oh my! The opening chapter (and the ones that follow) are incredibly hard hitting and pack an instant punch but despite being extremely dark – I couldn’t stop reading. This book is like a car crash; disturbing, a little traumatic but impossible to turn away from.
The Huntsmen is a fantastic start to a new crime/detective series from the author of the Bliss series.
DS Royston Chase is a non-nonsense, straight talking (sometimes not by choice due to a brain injury) officer working in a small town. When a road traffic collision comes in DS Chase is completely unprepared for what he’s faced with. A dead ex Chief Constable with an unknown passenger as well as several other victims, a new partner who has even less of a filter than he does, a wall of silence and protection from the powers that be and a whole Pandora’s Box spilling out. The links to the past are cleverly plotted and it was intense from start to end.
The plot is not a comfortable or easy read but it is good and raises a lot of ugly questions and realities. There is a good time spent on developing the new characters and a good balance of their back stories and the actual investigation.
DS Chase is a fascinating character with a huge heart, a lot of compassion and an intolerance for people who don’t follow the law. DC Laney also speaks her mind, doesn’t beat around the bush but is great at her job. They make an amusing but formidable crime solving team.
I adore Bliss but I may have just found a new favourite detective and I cannot wait to spend more time with him. An amazing start to a new detective series.
Author Bio – Tony J Forder
Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered. The series continued with The Autumn Tree in May 2021.
Tony’s other early series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun. These books were republished in April 2021, and will be joined in 2022 by The Dark Division.
In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins.
The Huntsmen, released on 4 October 2022, is the first book in a new crime series, set in Wiltshire. It features DS Royston Chase, DC Claire Laney, and PCSO Alison May.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on the first book of an intended new crime series, whose working title is The Huntsmen.
All of Tony’s links can be found on Linktree: https://linktr.ee/TonyJForder