Please welcome UK author Matt Hilton, here to introduce USA readers to his long-running exceptional Joe Hunter thriller series:
This year (2015) is a busy one for me, seeing the release of three novels and a short story, from various publishers throughout the world. Of course, it isn’t only the publications that will keep me on my toes; I’m also hard at the keyboard writing another two novels, along with everything else that goes with being a working author these days. I’m not complaining. I like busy. I love writing. I also enjoy meeting and speaking with readers, both old and new, so I think this will be a good year.
For anyone unfamiliar with my name, I’m best known for my Joe Hunter thriller series. Hunter is an ex-soldier from England, now working in the USA as a PI, bodyguard, and sometimes vigilante. Sometimes Hunter can be uncompromising when it comes to dealing with the bad guys of the world, but he’s a good guy at heart. He has been compared to Jack Reacher, Travis McGee and Joe Pike, but he’s also his own man. To date in the UK there have been nine Joe Hunter books published by Hodder and Stoughton, and number 10 is just a few short weeks away from hitting the shelves on June 4th.
In The Devil’s Anvil – Joe Hunter 10 – Hunter accepts the task of protecting Billie Womack. The job is a no-brainer for the ex-counterterrorist soldier, but it comes with its own set of complications. Billie’s husband, Richard, stole thirty million dollars from some violent people. He apparently died in a car crash with Billie’s daughter, Nicola, during a desperate attempt to elude his pursuers.
But his enemies don’t believe him dead. They think he escaped the plunge into the icy river that killed Nicola and has now decided to come back for the money. If he’s alive, they believe he’ll contact Billie. It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to arrive at her remote farmhouse. Soon she and Hunter are fugitives. Dead or alive, Richard’s fate means nothing to Hunter, but he promises to do everything in his power to protect the grieving mother. Even if it means taking a bullet for her, it’s a price he’ll pay. It’s a price he will come to regret.
Publication of the Hunter series in the USA is a little behind the UK, and to date six novels have been published by William Morrow and Company (Harper Collins), with book 7 recently published by Down and Out Books. This June also sees the publication by Down and Out Books of book 8 called Rules of Honor.
When Rink’s father is murdered, Joe Hunter vows to help his friend avenge his brutal death. Rink’s mother Yukiko isn’t talking, her silence governed by the Bushido tradition of giri, or moral obligation. But other people known to Yukiko are also dying, all due to a shameful secret from their past that Hunter must uncover if he hopes to end the murders. To do that rules must be broken, and Hunter doesn’t care what he must break to stop the killer.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Rules of Honor:
My friend Jared Rington moved along the carriage with an easy pace, but even from this end I could see the muscles working in his jaw, an old knife scar standing out as a white slash against his tawny skin. Rink hadn’t gone to the trouble I had. He wasn’t disguised, and didn’t see the need. He wanted Chaney to know who was coming for him, and who his executioner was going to be. The only compromise to his usual colourful attire was a pair of black leather gloves. Chaney had his back to Rink, but my friend isn’t the type to do a hit from behind. Rink’s voice was muffled, but I still heard his sharp command: ‘Stand up you piece of shit.’
Chaney dropped his phone and went for his gun, already turning as he rose.
Rink struck him with the edge of his hand, a chop to the side of the big man’s neck. Uncontrolled the blow could kill, but Rink had tempered the force. It was still enough to stagger Chaney and while he was weakened, Rink took the gun from him with a practiced twist of the wrist. Chaney grunted something, continued his turn and tried to grapple for the gun. Rink hit him again, a sweeping elbow strike that contacted with Chaney’s face and knocked him back a few steps. Rink followed him, bringing up the Glock he’d liberated to point it directly at Chaney’s forehead.
Time I did something.
I hit the button and the door swept open.
As I entered the carriage my view of Rink was slightly obscured by Chaney’s thick body. I had a horrible feeling that Rink would shoot, and the bullet would go directly through Chaney’s skull and hit me. I sidestepped, placing myself in the open next to the exit doors. Rink was taller than Chaney, and I knew he’d seen me from the slight narrowing of his eyes. That was all the notice he gave me, though, because his attention was on the man he was about to kill.
I brought up my SIG Sauer P226 and pointed it at Chaney’s back. My other hand I held open to Rink. ‘Don’t do this, brother,’ I said to him. ‘Chaney’s a piece of shit, but he doesn’t deserve this.’
Rink didn’t even look at me. Nausea squirmed a passage through my gut.
‘Don’t,’ I said again.
‘What’re you going to do, Hunter?’ Rink’s eyes never left Chaney. ‘Shoot me?’
‘I don’t want to,’ I said.
‘That’s something, at least.’ Rink ignored me then and took a step nearer Chaney.
The enforcer reared back on his heels, bringing up his hands in a placating motion. ‘Whoa! What’s this all about?’
‘I’m about to kill you,’ my friend snarled.
‘Rink. Don’t do it.’ I hurried towards him. ‘Don’t cross the line, brother.’
‘It’s too late for that, Joe.’
I knew then that there was less than a heartbeat to spare.
The short story I have upcoming is called After the Red Rain Fell and is a complete left-turn from my Joe Hunter output. I was chuffed to bits when Geoff Brown, editor in chief at Cohesion Press asked me to contribute to their SNAFU anthology series, and I jumped at the chance to exercise my horror-writing muscles again. Anyone who has been following me will probably know that I also write horror and supernatural tales and have published various novels in these genres as well. I was also the creator of the webzine Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers and you can probably tell from the name that I’m comfortable writing in the various genres it encompasses, and love nothing more than mixing the genres up when I’m allowed. After the Red Rain Fell is probably best described as a military-horror with a Spec-Ops team coming up against a nightmarish extraterrestrial terror loosely inspired by ‘The Blob’, ‘The Thing’ and ‘Aliens’. It is also firmly based on a true event from a few years ago where Indian scientists discovered bacterial life forms living in our outer atmosphere where I’ve pondered the age old question: What if? My tale will feature in SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest.
Taking another step away from Joe Hunter, I’ve a new series starting this year, with November as the launch month for Blood Tracks. It’s the first in a new mystery series featuring Tess Grey and Nicolas ‘Po’ Villere, and sees the mismatched pair – one an ex-cop, the other an ex-con – attempting to trace a witness in the steamy bayous of Louisiana, before a murderous killer can get to him first. My readers can expect the same level of excitement as they’re used to from Hunter, but also stories that are more whodunit in nature. Severn House will publish Blood Tracks for the UK market this November as I said, but the US editions will not hit shelves until Spring 2016.
Matt Hilton quit his career as a police officer to pursue his love of writing tight, cinematic American-style thrillers. He is the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, including his most recent novel The Lawless Kind – Joe Hunter 9 – published in January 2014 by Hodder and Stoughton, and the upcoming The Devil’s Anvil – Joe Hunter 10 – coming in June 2015. His first book, Dead Men’s Dust, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Book of 2009 Award, and was a Sunday Times bestseller, also being named as a ‘thriller of the year 2009’ by The Daily Telegraph. Dead Men’s Dust was also a top ten Kindle bestseller in 2013. The Joe Hunter series is widely published by Hodder and Stoughton in UK territories, and by William Morrow and Company and Down and Out Books in the USA, and have been translated into German, Italian, Romanian and Bulgarian. As well as the Joe Hunter series, Matt has been published in a number of anthologies and collections, and has published novels in the supernatural/horror genre, namely ‘Preternatural’, ‘Dominion’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘The Shadows Call’. He is currently working on the next Joe Hunter novel, and editing a new thriller novel called Blood Tracks, soon to be published by Severn House.