Hunter’s Moon

January 14, 2008

Hunter's Moon, by David Devereux

Hunter’s Moon, by David Devereux.

When the author turns out to be a self-confessed, and apparently practicising, ‘psychic defence and exorcism officer’ with an actual real client base and a previously-published non-fiction account of his life and work, you kind of know his first novel is going to be something of a ride.

It is indeed. Hunter’s Moon is excellent: the kind of first published novel I’d be proud to write. Tight, lean and utterly controlled, it’s the story of an unnamed SAS-type who works for a deniable British organisation that deals with magically-based crimes. He’s a commando, a magician and a complete bastard whose speciality is often wetwork: extreme removal of enemy magicians and suchlike who plot against the interests of Her Majesty’s Government.

The story itself involves our nameless hunter being ordered to infiltrate a coven of witches who are liaising with a terrorist group in order to assassinate the British Prime Minister. Needless to say, everything goes pear-shaped and a combination of military skill and magical ability is required to get out of it with some semblance of a happy ending. Our hero is totally unscrupulous, unafraid to use torture to get results, and totally unswerving in his service to the job. It’s actually very clever, and refreshing, for someone we’re meant to identify with as the hero analogue being untroubled by morals — you’re cheering him on and at the same time saying, “Hang on, you did what…?!”

Utterly hilarious early scene of note: whilst breaking into an English country house to knock off a brace of terrorists residing therein (with, of course, extreme prejudice and a big knife), our hero has to get at a mob of enemies within a locked room. The obvious option: throw a grenade in? Not in this case — a quick summoning instead and an uncontrolled demon is released into the room where, to its surprise, it is not bound by a protective circle and consequently slaughters the lot. Very effective… 🙂

Find this if you can. It’s as sharp as his oft-used knife, occasionally very funny and a definite breath of fresh air in the urban fantasy genre. Reminds me a lot of Warren Ellis’ Strange Kiss graphic novel series: his combat Sergeant Major William Gravel is cut from the same cloth, and you can bet if the two of them met they’d have a swift pint in the local pub before trying to kill each other — all in the name of Queen and country, of course…

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