Hunted by Steve McHugh #BookReview

Cursed by witches centuries ago, Remy Roax was content with living his long life as a half-man/half-fox. But when he learned he had had undiscovered powers, he had no choice but to learn how to use them.

After relocating to North Dakota in order to practise his new found abilities, he soon finds himself in the targets of Louis Bonne, a man who wants to understand how the curse placed on Remy worked, so that he can use the souls of innocent people to make himself immortal.

Since Remy has no interest in helping, Louis sends a group of murderers intent on convincing him. But Remy isn’t some helpless bystander, and these people will soon discover that Remy isn’t the kind of fox who runs from a hunt.

Hunted is a new novella set in the universe of the bestselling Hellequin Chronicles and Avalon Chronicles series.

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Hunted today. Huge thanks to Steve J. McHugh for sending me an advance digital copy of the novella.

As much as I love many of the characters in Steve McHugh's Hellequin and Avalon series, Remy Roax, the fox/man hybrid is my favourite and I know I'm not alone in that. I was really looking forward to this three-foot furry hero taking centre-stage so was surprised to discover him living as a human in the opening scenes of the book but soon understood why he is hiding away in North Dakota and being trained by Wei. It's here that I feel I should point out that although Hunted can easily be enjoyed as a standalone and there is enough back story included for newcomers to understand the important points about Remy's past, there will undoubtedly be parts of the book which will resonate more with readers already familiar with the character and the world he lives in. Remy as a human has been living a debauched lifestyle but it's clear that his excesses are a way of trying to forget - much to Wei's concern. Wei is a huli jing - a nine-failed fox - and like Remy can turn herself from human to fox. However, she doesn't have the same ability to heal herself while in her human state. Remy is almost impervious to harm in his human form and Wei is keen to learn the limits of his power.
Being pushed off a four-hundred foot cliff would be fatal to most people but although it's incredibly painful for Remy, he is able to recover quickly - which is just as well because it turns out that there are worse things than being thrown off a cliff and very soon he finds himself in terrible danger.
The humans who confront him in a bar are easily dealt with in a scene which really captures the essence of who he is. He may be foul-mouthed, promiscuous and rude but he is not amoral and his strong principles are part of what make him so endearing. The arrival of two witches is far more concerning, however. Remy doesn't have much time for them at first, which is understandable given that it was a coven of witches who turned him into a fox/man hybrid. Not all witches are evil though and as he hears the reason why Monique and Jamal have come to him, he agrees to help them deal with the sinister Louis Bonne.
Although the first part of the story could hardly be accused of lacking in action, it's from here that things really heat up as Remy must face a power-hungry enemy who has very similar healing abilities to his own. How is he going to deal with a foe who has a hundred lives and a coven of witches to do his bidding? Back in his fox form he is hunted by powerful forces and would appear to be alone and vulnerable as Louis is sure that Remy holds the key to his own immortality.
The violent action scenes which always feature in Steve McHugh's books are present here too, as Remy is eventually reunited with some old friends who join forces against Louis and his witches. The damage inflicted is truly gruesome but despite the extreme violence, the wisecracking humour and warmth between friends ensures that Hunted never becomes too dark. It's also fascinating to discover more about Remy's origins and to see him begin to come to terms with the past and who he is.
Hunted is a fantastic addition to the Hellequin/Avalon canon and has left me even more eager for the upcoming Rebellion Chronicles. Although shorter in length, it is still packed with the fast-paced gripping action, superb character development and clever plotting I've come to expect from Steve McHugh's books. Highly recommend.

Hunted us published on 1st October 2019 and can be purchased from Amazon UK.

About the Author

Steve's been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up 'One boy and his frog' was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn't for another decade that he would start work on a full-length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Twitter  Website