As soon as I read the review on the back cover, I was sure I would not be walking out of the bookshop without Matt Hilton’s Dead Men’s Dust in my hand. My decision proved to be justified – I could hardly put it down until I finished the whole story.
Matt Hilton started up on writing after 22 years spent in private security and the police force in Cumbria, North West England. His first book, Dead Men’s Dust was published in 2009 as part of a crime thriller series featuring ex-military soldier Joe Hunter as the protagonist. Currently, he is working on his 8th Joe Hunter thriller. Hilton aspires to embody the hero in a realistic way by using his own military experiences and lending his own personal characteristics to the hero. Hunter, just like the author, always stands up against bullies, using his experience as highly skilled martial artists, but he doesn’t operate within police’s authority. ‘Some may call me a vigilante. I think I’ve just got problems to fix.’ These regularly repeated sentences imply that Joe doesn’t follow the police’s protocol; all he wants is to defeat bullies who hurt people, especially women or children, guided by his own moral laws. For this, he uses his favourite gun, the SIG Sauer. Through his adventures, he is accompanied by his old friend from military days called Jared ‘Rink’ Rington.
In Dead Men’s Dust, Joe has to find his missing half-brother, John Telfer, a self-indulgent gambler who left his wife and two kids and escaped to America under mysterious circumstances. Joe along with his friend Rink takes a flight to America and starts to put together the puzzle of his brother’s disappearance. Meanwhile, John steals a car from a serial killer Tubal ‘Harvestman’ Cain who intends to kill him as payback. As the story develops, the chase for John turns into a pursuit for both John and the Harvestman. The plot takes turns with the narration of a first-person Hunter and a third-person Harvestman that prepares us for a highly thrilling denouement in the killer’s hidden place. Also, the plot has several unexpected twists that keep the readers hooked from beginning to end.
Since the centre of the book is the determined hero who always catches the bad guy, it is inevitable that the story be a bit predictable in some places. However, the supremely tense atmosphere inherent in the double-point-of-view narration and the authors’ sensuously vivid description of the last scene adds up to the story’s realistic value along with its unquestionable quality as a crime thriller.
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Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (1 Oct 2009)
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by Tótiván Anett