ROUGH JUSTICE by Matt Hilton (Severn House, 31 December 2019)
Matt Hilton’s The Girl On Shattered Rock was one of my favourite pieces of escapist reading in 2019:
The story about a young woman trapped on a remote island with a group of kayakers and being stalked by a killer, was a fast paced and very exciting tale, that went in some unexpected directions.
Now with his latest novel, Rough Justice, Hilton takes a similar approach, with a small group being hunted in the Great North Woods of Maine. This is the sixth book in his series about PI Tess Grey and her partner, former convict Po Villere. The pair of them find themselves in the Great North Woods along with their friend, gun-runner Jerome ‘Pinky’ Leclerc. Tess has been hired by an insurance company to check rumours that a third person survived a recent plane crash in the Woods, which claimed the lives of the pilot and co-pilot. The three field biologists who witnessed the crash claimed that there were no survivors, but when one is later heard talking about a surviving female passenger, Tess is hired to search the crash site and interview the biologists.
Once they get into the Woods they find that others are also after the reported survivor and that they will stop at nothing to find her. Then there is also the matter of a pair of killers seeking to claim the bounty which has been placed on Pinky’s head by criminal elements back in Baton Rogue.
Rough Justice opens with a bang, and the pace does not let up as the story races through a series of violent encounters to the explosive climax in a small rural village. Hilton smoothly brings the various strands of his plot together and keeps the tension running high as the plot unfolds. The backdrop to the plane crash is interesting and the storyline proceeds in some unexpected directions.
One of the things I liked with The Girl On Shattered Rock, was that Hilton kept the reader off guard by brutally killing the more likeable members of the group, so that you never know who was going to be killed next. That sense of surprise is lessened this time around by Rough Justice being part of a series, but Hilton still does manage some good shocks and things do not quite turn out how you would expect.
The characterisations are a little shallow and cliched, but overall this is a good fun read that kept me very happily engaged over the Christmas holidays.
Four Stars out of Five!
Rough Justice is released by Severn House on 31 December in the United Kingdom for £20.99 and in the United States on 7 April 2020 for $28.99.
Thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for an electronic copy of the book to review.