Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Judgment and Wrath"

Matt Hilton is the Cumbrian author of the Joe Hunter thriller series, including Dead Men’s Dust, Judgment and Wrath, Slash and Burn, and Cut and Run, with further books in the series coming soon. He is a high ranking martial artist and has been a police officer and private security specialist, all of which lend an authenticity to the action scenes in his books.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Judgment and Wrath and reported the following:
Following the events of Dead Men’s Dust - shortlisted for the ITW Best New Book Award 2009 – where Joe Hunter arrived in the USA in search of his wayward brother, the ex-counterterrorism agent has now settled in Florida where he is doing occasional “work” for his friend and brother at arms, Jared ‘Rink’ Rington. Hunter is approached by a grieving father who asks Hunter to bring home his daughter, Marianne. He claims that her boyfriend, millionaire Bradley Jorgenson, is a twisted, abusive man, and hints that Hunter should use whatever force necessary to rescue the girl. Hunter hates bullies, particularly men who hurt women and children and accepts the job willingly. The problem is, when Hunter finds the couple, Marianne appears happy and refuses to leave her lover. Things get more complicated when a remorseless contract killer who goes by the name of Dantalion shows up at Jorgenson’s exclusive island residence with his sights set on the couple. Dantalion – named after a fallen angel - has an agenda of his own, and nobody is going to stand in his way. Not even Joe Hunter.

Page 69 of Judgment and Wrath is indicative of the kind of action that drives the book. It follows events where a disguised Dantalion has made his first attempt on the lives of Jorgenson and Marianne, where Hunter has intervened, forcing a vicious gun battle that culminates in the fiery destruction of Jorgenson’s house. In it Hunter is still reeling from the effects of the explosion and misses an opportunity to finish the killer once and for all, setting up the subsequent action. What started as a simple matter of snatch-and-grab turns into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that sets Hunter and Dantalion on a gruelling chase deep within the Florida swamplands.

Here’s an excerpt from page 69:
Making it to my feet, I limped through the bushes, making my way round the building, looking in hope for any sign that Marianne had got out of there alive. As I went I wiped the SIG clean on my sweater sleeve.

Jorgenson’s house was devastated. The entire upper floor had collapsed onto the ground floor; the roof was a burst-open wreck pushing splintered joists skyward. Flames and smoke broiled against the sky. The condominium I’d leased next door wasn’t in much better shape, with the whole front of the building spilling out towards the parking area. The golf buggy I’d rented to get me here from the ferry landing was flattened beneath fallen masonry.

Two cash deposits I wouldn’t be getting back, I thought idly.

There was rubble heaped everywhere. Thankfully there weren’t any chunks of burnt flesh or bones poking from the mounds. That didn’t negate the possibility that Marianne was buried beneath the wreckage of the house.

Movement nearby caught my eye. A shadow moving away from me. Wearing a dark suit, neither Jorgenson nor Marianne. The killer, I thought, making his escape. I lifted the SIG, drawing a bead on him. But then I let the barrel drop. The figure had longish fair hair, whereas the killer’s had been jet black. For all I knew this was an innocent passer-by caught up in the fury of the explosion and staggering away.
Read more about Judgment and Wrath, and visit Matt Hilton's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Dead Men's Dust.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue