This debut crime novel is set in a brutal, chaotic Scotland of the near future, where it’s business at any cost for the people who live there. Archie Henderson, a passionate hunter, has rewilded his vast Highland estate filling the mountains and woods with wolves and bears. Here he runs wolf hunts with a terrible difference.
But when a young man is killed by a bear on the reserve, Detective Inspector Rhona Ballantyne investigates. The death is not all it seems. She uncovers a terrifying truth that will put her own life in jeopardy.
I’m a sucker for a crime novel. And a dystopian novel. So The Wolf Hunters seemed ideal. Set in a remote part of Scotland, there was promise of an interesting story.
Although it started really slowly, with a lot of backstory and explanation, once the story got going, I did enjoy it. There were lots of great elements that stood out and the narrative was excellent. The shock factor of the brutality was quite gruesome, but it wasn’t glorified and although I could visualise everything clearly, I wasn’t unnecessarily repulsed.
Personally, the dystopian element didn’t add a whole lot to the book. It was an interesting concept, but the plot itself could have worked in the world as we know it. There was murder, manipulation, weirdness and a lot of brutality; none of which is unusual. There is also an underlying portrayal of the class system, with stark differences between the rich and poor throughout the story. With the poor fighting for survival, the rich are playing games with other people’s lives.
Choosing Scotland as a location was fantastic. Rugged, desolate and bleak, it added to the daily struggles of the characters.
DI Rhona was your typical flawed, female detective. Every one I’ve encountered seems to lack social skills, prefer their own company and have hidden demons. That said, I liked her: she was feisty, resilient and somehow personable…
Of the other characters, only Wilber stood out. I felt so sorry for him, as he was also manipulated, but had no way to defend himself. Rhona’s dad was a feeble character; there merely to give her a reason to return, his presence added nothing to the story.
Despite the lack of pace at the beginning, Mitchison has put together a unique story that looks at how people react when there is nothing left to live for. It’s shocking, harrowing and leaves you questioning your own morals.
I was provided with a copy by the author and Love Book Tours. All opinions my own.
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