Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Hunter, the debut novel by Andrew Reid.
The Hunter was published in eBook on 12 July 2018 and follows in paperback on 7 February 2019.
A troubled genius who vanishes in a mysterious car crash.
A disillusioned cop sensing conspiracy in the corridors of power.
A ruthless team of mercenaries operating in the shadows.
A billion-dollar business that wants the world in its grip.
One link connects them all.
A champion fighter. Betrayed and searching for the truth.
CAMERON KING IS THE HUNTER.
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Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting to take part on the blog tour. Although I haven’t read this book, it is exactly the type of book I love to read and I have it waiting on my kindle already!
I am lucky to be hosting an extract of the first chapter, which sounds brilliant. I can’t wait to get stuck in!
On the highway, the snow is already thick enough that Cameron can’t make out the center line. There are tracks where other cars have been – trucks, maybe, from the width of them – but they’re fading fast into the static fuzz of the blizzard. About a mile back, they’d passed two cars pulled over, the syncopated orange blink of their hazard lights soaked up by the falling snow. The barrier is still there, the white- crested strip of silver just visible on the right-hand side of the car, and Cameron can’t help but think about what happens when a car hits it. They’re built to break, to take an impact, bolts popping free and a few hundred feet of steel bending like a weighted rope as it soaks up the force needed to decelerate two tons and change without killing everyone inside. Even in the best-case scenario, if you had no choice but to hit it, you want to hit it as slow as you can. Right now, the speedometer reads eighty-two miles per hour.
The whole car lurches forward as Nate puts his foot down, and for a dizzy instant the back of the car feels as though it is sliding free of the road. According to the radio, the worst of the weather was supposed to be hitting over to the east. Either the forecast was lying or everyone due east is digging in right now to welcome in the end times. Cameron’s gut goes cold, and she glances across at her brother. Not for the first time tonight, she wonders what the hell his problem is. There’s no emergency that she knows of. Just some business opportunity he pitched her a couple of days ago that turned into a dinner meeting. He’s always had a good head for that kind of thing. He left a high-paying position with a multinational biotech firm to join her team, taking the computer systems he’d built to track epidemics and using them to predict how brands go viral instead. Ever since, he’s been a key player in landing some of her best endorsement deals – but it’s late in the year to be thinking about signing something new. She only agreed to go with him because she trusted his instincts. Now, though, she’s starting to wonder if there’s something else going on.
‘You sure you should be going this fast?’ she asks. Nate doesn’t answer. He’s got a hard-jawed look that doesn’t suit his face, and he glances up at the mirror quickly before hunching back over the wheel. He’s gripping it in both hands, like a learner driver, his chin thrust forward. He’s wearing a big jacket that hides his skinny frame, and even though the aircon in the car is blasting them with heat, he’s got a scarf jammed up tight around his neck like any second now he expects to be out in the cold. Cameron clears her throat.
‘Nate. Slow the car down. Now.’ She can hear her mom in her voice. Something about it always goes south when she tries to sound like a hard-ass. Normally she hates the sound of it, but then maybe it’s the kind of push that Nate needs right now.
He swallows hard before he answers. Nervous. Guilty. ‘You ever get into trouble, Cam?’ He doesn’t look at her.
Oh Nate, she thinks, what have you got into? ‘Enough.’ Fighters get into nothing but trouble. Even with a good manager, a really good lawyer, and as clean a promoter as she could find, there had still been a few close moments that she’d rather not have to remember. One time she’d got back from a weigh-in to find a picture tucked inside her kit bag, next to her wraps. It was a picture of her parents’ home: cheap paper, a little blurred from the printer, but unmistakable for what it was. There had been a phone number on the back. Cameron had been so angry that she had sidestepped every- one – her lawyer, her manager, even Nate – to get it dealt with quickly. That decision had been a whole other kind of trouble, and it had taught her one thing. ‘Enough to know you can’t outrun it,’ she says.
Nate nods, swallows again. Worries at his lip like he’s trying to work something out. Cameron has seen that look before. More brains than sense, their dad always said, but then Nate over thinking every damn detail has saved her career more than once. Clauses in contracts that her manager had missed; a guy in the crowd he’d seen in another fighter’s entourage weeks before, waiting to spray oil of wintergreen in her face during the walk-in. His face is blue in the light from the low-beams reflected back through the windshield by the falling snow. ‘I’m not trying to outrun it, Cam.’
‘Trying to get us killed?’ She tries to say it lightly, make it a joke, but it catches in her throat and comes out high and scared.
When he answers, his voice is far away. Like he’s forgotten that they’re pushing ninety along a skating rink disguised as a highway. ‘You ever wonder if it’s possible to just . . . disappear?’
Don’t let him do this. Cameron checks that her seat belt is fastened. She’s already running through the options, her brain switching on to automatic. Can’t pull the handbrake. Can’t fight over the wheel. Both of those would crash the car. She could hit him, catch the angle of his jaw with just the right amount of force to cold-cock him, and get a hold of the wheel. The only thing that stays her hand is that it’s Nate. Geeky, dumb, dependable, big brother Nate. In her whole life, he has never once let her down. Not one time.
‘Whatever’s happening, Nate, you can talk to me.’ Nate turns and looks at her, the long angles of his face softening. It’s not fondness. It’s like he’s relieved. ‘You know, I really can’t.’
The way he looks at her snaps something inside of Cameron. It’s like the last time he’ll see her. Do something. She reaches down past the handbrake and pops his seat belt, the buckle whipping across his chest and catching under his left armpit. There’s a sour twist of triumph, an echo of the feeling she gets when she outmaneuvers someone on the mat. He has to slow down now. The crash would kill him.
Nate nods at her like they’ve just shook hands on a deal, like this was what he was waiting for, then wrenches the wheel two-handed, a quick swing to the right that takes them on to the verge and then back again, hard over to the left.
The Lexus fishtails in answer, and as their forward momentum suddenly becomes sideways the car flips, driver- side wheels peeling reluctantly off the tarmac then springing skywards as it turns up and over.
It’s like a hip throw. Cameron feels the jolt, the sudden violent motion, and in its wake the drawn-out moment of almost weightlessness as the whole car goes over.
Time goes slower when you’re upside down.
To follow the rest of the blog tour…
About the Author
Born in Scotland, Andrew Reid worked as a research scientist for almost a decade, on projects including DNA synthesis, forensics, and drug development. He now lives in Stockholm.
His short fiction has featured in several anthologies and his fantasy novel serial has amassed almost 200,000 reads.
THE HUNTER is his debut novel.