|HODDER & STOUGHTON|
the observer Sat 20 June 2009
Matt Hilton became the envy of many unpublished writers when his debut was scooped from the slush pile last year, earning the former Cumbrian police constable an £800,000 advance for a crime thriller series featuring hard-as-nails Joe Hunter. This first instalment tracks Hunter on a helter-skelter journey across America in search of his missing younger brother, who is in the clutches of the Harvestman, one of recent fiction's grisliest serial killers. Hilton switches the narration between a first-person Hunter and a third-person Harvestman, setting up a properly disgusting denouement in the killer's lair in the Mojave desert.
Hilton's publisher said that Hunter would give Jack Reacher a run for his money, and it's easy to see Lee Child's influence - the tough former military man beating his way to the truth ("Some people call me a vigilante. That's their prerogative. I prefer to think of myself as a problem-fixer"), and the rapid-fire sentences. There are too many cliches but Hilton can undoubtedly write and Dead Men's Dust roars along at a ferocious pace. A promising start to a welcome new series.
the guardian Fri 29 May 2009
Hodder signed Matt Hilton to a five-book deal and has high hopes for him. Dead Men's Dust introduces us to retired special forces soldier Joe Hunter, who now devotes his time to "beating down the thugs, criminals and mobsters that prey on those weaker than themselves". Like Lee Child's Jack Reacher, an ex-military policeman, Hunter is a loner, but he lacks Reacher's intellectual gravitas and liberal ambivalence about his former employers. Hilton writes well, shifting ably between first-person narration for the chapters in which Hunter features, and third-person for those involving his ultimate quarry, the hilarious, all-boxes-ticked serial killer Tubal Cain, who has swapped identities with Hunter's brother. (Cain's favoured trophies are his victims' fingers, which he keeps wrapped in clingfilm.) It's a promising start, but Hunter may need to become more complex and conflicted to sustain an entire series.