The Hunt and the Kill by Holly Watt – Review
By Sarah Morgan
Last November it was announced that the production company founded by Stephen Garrett, whose previous credits include The Night Manager, Spooks and The Undoing, had snapped up the rights to Holly Watts’ Casey Benedict novels.
A TV series is now in the offing, and as it tends to take an age for productions to make it to the small screen, anyone wanting to read the books first has the time to do so before the drama makes its debut.
The first in the run, To the Lions, won the 2019 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, while the second, The Dead Line, was on the awards’ longlist earlier this year.
The third book, The Hunt and the Kill, is now available. I hadn’t read either of its predecessors before diving in, and don’t feel as if I missed out on any important plot points by not doing so.
Watt is a former investigative journalist who worked for the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph before her career as a novelist took off. She has clearly drawn on her first career to create Casey, a hard-bitten reporter who stops at nothing to get to the truth.
“Wild goose chase”
This time she’s delving into antibiotic resistance and rumours of a superdrug that could save millions of lives. Her investigation leads her to a pharmaceutical firm boss she suspects is behind a series of suspicious deaths, including one that’s very close to home.
The Hunt and the Kill isn’t badly written, but there’s an awful lot of exposition at times, which is slightly tedious.
The constant trips here, there and everywhere, across various time zones, is tiring for readers, never mind Casey herself who, considering the traumas she faces, would surely be in danger of collapsing from a nervous breakdown – and do newspapers really have the budgets these days to send reporters away on what is, in this case, largely a wild goose chase?
But finally, Casey herself is a bit of a nightmare. She plays fast and loose with other people’s lives, seemingly not caring whether they live or die so long as she gets her story. To her the means justify the ends, which makes her difficult to like.
Will I read another of her adventures? Probably not – but I’ll give the TV series a go, just to see if its makers have managed to make the central character more sympathetic.
‘The Hunt and the Kill’ by Holly Watt is published by Bloomsbury, £12.99 hardback