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Headhunter - Michael Slade

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Michael Slade / Edition: Reissue / Paperback / 424 Pages / Book is published 1994-06 by Signet

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      18.03.2009 21:15
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      A killer begins collecting heads in Vancouver and taunting the Police....

      A relatively old book now, I first stumbled across this in the late eighties and it still remains a firm favourite- one of my all-time favourite thrillers in fact, this is the first book in the Special X series written by a team of Canadian lawyers under a pen-name. In recent years, the writing team has changed and the books are now written by one of the original team and his daughter and have suffered slightly in quality because of this but this is the novel that started it all off and remains one of the most memorable thrillers ever to grace my bookshelves...

      Former Superintendant Robert De Clerq of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is an olympic-standard crossbow athelete who went into retirement when his wife and daughter were murdered by a terrorist group during his last active case. Now living out his days as a horticulturist with his new wife, he is called out of retirement to head a murder task force when a killer begins stalking the streets of Vancouver and removing the heads of his (or her?) victims. With an inclination to taunt the people responsible for tracking down, the killer shows no signs of stopping their reign of terror leading to acts of vigilantism on the streets and mass unrest and condemnation in the press. De Clerq is brought in not just to catch a killer but also as a P.R enterprise and, though he at first exhibits reluctance, Robert is soon back in the swing of things enjoying the thrill of the chase. But as the investigation continues with no firm leads and the pressure mounts, the stress of the case begins to take it's toll....

      Highly original, unique, dynamic and exciting, HeadHunter is a roller-coaster ride from start to finish. A vague opening prologue becomes relevant in the final pages and one of my favourite things about the book is that just when you think it is all over and everything tied up satisfactorily if not a little predictablly, then the last few chapters turn around and throw everything on it's head with a series of double bluffs and blinds that suddenly throw everything previously read into a spin. Even if you get half-way through or approach what you think is the end with a sense of "this is going exactly where I imagined it would", then it is worth hanging on until the close of the book which ends not with a whimper but an explosive bang. Events set into place in this book would not be concluded for another four novels and this debut chiller from a group of highly skilled professional lawyers is the epitomy of what is meant when someone describes an ending as a cliff-hanger. If anyone can predict how this ends without cheating but simply by reading the book from beginning to end, then I will eat my hat. This is simply the best ending I have ever read in my life and hence why this book remains if not my favourite thriller of all time then at least in the top three.

      If you have never read this before and enjoy good thriller writing, then what the hell are you waiting for? It's going for a song on Amazon at the moment and, if not on there, you can pick it up for peanuts on Ebay...

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