THE HUNTED (Hunted Series) by Dave Zeltserman (2012, Top Suspense Books)
Among the many wonders of the Internet is a resurgence of pulp fiction. There are many definitions of pulp fiction and I don’t plan on starting another one with this review. The best one I’ve ran across is: a short, action-filled story with characters who are pure in their motives. Noir came along at the end of WW2 with characters not absolutely good or evil. In the 1960’s, the boom in paperback book publishing unleashed many blends of pulp and noir with the action series. Mickey Spillane and Lester Dent stared at each other from the book aisles in the local supermarket.
The rise of electronic publishing is making it easy for established writers, such as Mr. Zelterserman, to send their works directly to the reader. Jeter is doing this with his Kim Oh series. Other writers are following suite, issuing new works to the reader or opening up their extensive backlog (Hello Michael Stackpole, what’s taking you so long to get those Horn novels back out to us?).
Dave Zeltserman continues exploring the themes of Outsourced with The Hunted series. In the first novel, we are introduced to government assassin Dan Willis, a former military specialist who has returned to his old profession after losing a job as a representative for a liquor company. It’s the not-so-near future and unemployment is sky-rocketing. When Dan is contacted by a shadowy agency known as “The Factory”, he finds himself employed to terminate sleeper agents for a secret insurgency raging across the USA.
But Willis begins questioning his work. After 20 or so hits, he begins to wonder about the profile of the targets. When he is given an unemployed computer specialist, Willis asks his contact at The Factory if they’d made a mistake. “No mistake”, he’s told, “this is war being fought to the end”. Willis carries out his latest hit, but the seed of doubt has been sown.
I won’t give away the plot of the series or book and reveal to you why Willis is really killing his targets. Suffice it to say, the discovery was stunning. A little far-fetched, but not too crazy in the world of paperback pulp. Again the connection to pulp and noir writing is strong with this book. Which is why I call it “New Real Pulp”, to distinguish it from the people trying to duplicate the hero pulp of the 1930’s.
My only issue with the book is the price. A little steep for a download which clocks in at 70 pages. But still a great read which kept me going back to the book. I’m reading the next one in the series too.
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