05/18/2024

Some Crim

Track the Untold Stories

Hunted by Abir Mukherjee @radiomukhers @HarvillSecker

Hunted by Abir Mukherjee @radiomukhers @HarvillSecker

Source: Review copy
Publication: 9 May 2024 from Harvill Secker
PP: 512
ISBN-13: 978-1787302723

My thanks to Harvill Secker for an advance copy for review

It’s a week before the presidential elections when a bomb goes off in an LA shopping mall.

In London, armed police storm Heathrow Airport and arrest Sajid Khan. His daughter Aliyah entered the USA with the suicide bomber, and now she’s missing, potentially plotting another attack.

But then a woman called Carrie turns up at Sajid’s door after travelling halfway across the world. She claims Aliyah is with her son Greg, and she knows where they could be.

Back in the US, Agent Shreya Mistry is closing in on the two fugitives. But the more she investigates, the more she realises there is more to this case than meets the eye and suspects a wider conspiracy.

Hunted by the authorities, the two parents are thrown together in a race against time to find their kids before the FBI does, and stop a catastrophe that will bring the country to its knees.

Where to begin with this astounding thriller? First and foremost it is a masterclass in thriller writing. Tense, immersive, with great characters, authentic voices and a truly propulsive plot, this is a thriller you just won’t want to miss.

But it is so much more than that. It has such a contemporary resonance that it is truly chilling. It is as if Abir Mukherjee has got inside my head where I try to think through all the different aspects of what’s going on in the world; why we are so polarised and what has brought us to the stage where we seem to be in a country and a world divided by rhetoric and devoid of humanity. He’s taken all of that and transposed it into a contemporary thriller with really well drawn characters, and the result is an emotive, thrilling experience with extraordinary heart.

Moving from London through Canada and into the USA, Abir Mukherjee delivers a fast paced intelligent thriller which explores the big questions of the day. The complete disenfranchisement of the poor; religious intolerance, racism and the polarisation of worldwide politics all leading to the dehumanisation of vast swathes of the world’s population. Lies, corruption and sleaze are tolerated while our leaders demonise each other with rhetoric and invade countries in a way that ignores the plight of the people who are at the heart of these actions.

Hunted follows two parents clinging together in a welter of disinformation and suspicion who are caught up in a race against time as they try to track down their children, both of whom are suspected of terrorism. Sajid works as a baggage handler and is a refugee who, caught up in political violence in Bangladesh, came to the UK as a refugee with his wife and children. He understands what it is like to be a Muslim viewed everywhere with suspicion and anger which can easily turn to violence.  

One of the key protagonists in Hunted is FBI Agent Shreya Mistry. She is thrawn, dedicated and prone not to following orders when she thinks they are wrong, thus bringing a whole heap of trouble down on her head.

In this highly political environment Mukherjee gives us a complex, fast paced conspiracy thriller with lots of twists and a completely compelling hunt for the perpetrators that covers hundreds of miles and any close shaves.

But the true heroes of this book are to be found in the parents of two of those who are involved in this conspiracy. It is their selfless search for their children; this almost impossible race against time, that we see the difference ordinary people can make when those they love are put at risk. These voices are real, authentic and undeniably heroic. Sajid, in particular has a haunting, realistic voice hat understands too well the impact of terrorism on those less able to defend themselves.

Verdict: Although this book deals with complex themes, it does so in an immensely readable form and this book flows so well it’s like being carried along a fast moving river; buffeted hard by the waves and then dropped headlong into the waterfall.

I was blown away by this emotive, unputdownable thriller which is, without doubt, a must read book. Buy it, you won’t regret it.

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Abir Mukherjee is the bestselling author of the award-winning Wyndham & Banerjee series of crime novels set in 1920s India. His books have been translated into fifteen languages and won various awards including the CWA Dagger for best Historical Novel, the Prix du Polar Européen, and the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing. He also co-hosts the popular Red Hot Chilli Writers podcast which takes a wry look at the world of books, writing, and the creative arts, tackling everything from bestsellers to pop culture. Abir grew up in Scotland and now lives in Surrey with his wife and two sons. Photo: c. Stuart Simpson