Is there anything sweeter than a new crime series? Introducing Book 1 in the Matt Hunter series – Sanctified. Purified… Purged.
From the back cover:
Matt Hunter lost his faith a long time ago. Formerly a minister, he’s now a professor of sociology writing a book that debunks the Christian faith, while assisting the police with religiously motivated crimes.
On holiday with his family in Oxfordshire, Matt finds himself on edge in a seemingly idyllic village where wooden crosses hang at every turn. The stay becomes more sinister still when a local girl goes missing, followed by further disappearances. Caught up in an investigation that brings memories to the surface, Matt is on the trail of a killer who is determined to save us all.
You know them books that like to toy with you, the ones it takes a little while to get into but once you’re in, that’s it, you’re hooked? This, for me, was one of them reads; it took me about 100 pages to become fully invested in this story. I think that’s mainly because I am guilty of judging a book by its cover, so here I was expecting a disturbingly creepy read but that wasn’t the case, well not right away anyway – this books sinister atmosphere took a while to enter my orbit.
The story starts in London but the Hunter family move temporary to Hobbs Hill as Wren, Matt’s wife, has a trial job opportunity. The more the story progressed in Hobbs Hill, the creepier it became. A close-knit community of deeply Christian worshipers, with crosses hanging in almost every window, welcome the Hunter family to their town. But what happens when the town discovers this family is not the ‘religious type’? An ex-minister has turned away from his faith, can he and his family be saved? Suddenly the scenic woodland is not so pretty, the gushing waterfall is no longer peaceful and how is one really purged of their sins?
Laws has a great writing style that makes this book a fluid read, interestingly, Laws is a Church Minister and I love that he was able to incorporate his knowledge of religion into this book without it taking over, so if you tend to avoid books with religious themes, there’s no need to avoid this one; it’s laced with dark humour and macabre, which I actually enjoyed reading more than the thriller elements.
Matt Hunter is a great character and I found myself really liking him, he came across as very real and down-to-earth. It’s not everyday, you find an ex-minister in the process of writing a book that debunks the very faith he used to live for, assisting the police with religiously motivated crimes – that idea alone makes this an orginial and interesting read. While Matt is no longer a believer, he still has his own internal battles going on, a well developed character, with pain in his past and a clear dedication to his family.
This is a solid start to a new crime series, if you’re a fan of macabre crime fiction, pick this one up.
*My thanks to Emma Finnigan (of Emma Finnigan PR) for providing me with a copy of this book*