Book review: Prey by LA Larkin

Olivia Wolfe is a larger than life, tough, gritty, tattooed, and heavily pierced investigative journalist in pursuit of a story after a corrupt British Cabinet Minister dies in strange circumstances. Wolfe ignores warnings to drop the story and the chase takes her to South Africa to a wildlife reserve set up to protect rhino’s from poachers.

On the isolated wildlife reserve Wolfe realises the sadistic psychopathic killer responsible for a number of bizzare and grisly murders has started to pursue her.

What follows is an action packed, fast-paced and gruesome tale of illegal poaching, the international trade in rhino horns, and money laundering by large corporations. The assassin wants to make Wolfe his most spectacular victim yet and leaves a trail of destruction in his pursuit. He is his own worst enemy though, as he likes to show off his handy work on the internet.

Wolfe is angry that the assasin killed her friend so rather than run she becomes unrelenting in her pursuit of the killer, and her mission to bringing justice to the people who hired him. I found the character of Wolfe had echoes of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.

Prey, published by Clan Destine Press, has a bit of the ’90’s espionage novel about it, brimming with corrupt officials, dodgy businessmen, and a network of online sadists running the illegal wildlife trade. Larkin takes her research seriously and spent time volunteering on patrol at wildlife reserves in Africa to prepare for writing the novel.

The short chapters set a cracking pace with plenty of twists and subplots. If you like action thriller suspense novels and a bit of gratuitous violence, I recommend you read the first in the series to begin with. I started with Prey which is book #2 in the series and it took me a while to get into as I didn’t get the references to Devour, the first in the series.

If you prefer gentler pursuits Larkin also writes cosy mysteries with a dog detective called Monty under the name of Louisa Bennet.

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