When I was contacted about Prey by L A Larkin I assumed I’d read Larkin’s previous book, Devour as I recognised its cover. So when I started reading and realised Prey was a sequel, I flicked back to my site (and through Goodreads) for my review to get some context.
It was only then I realised I hadn’t read its predecessor. It was a little problematic initially as there were a lot of references to events in Devour (marketed as Olivia Wolfe #1) and I almost put Prey aside as a result. I’m glad I didn’t however as I grew to increasingly like our lead character, Olivia and was keen to discover what she uncovered.
by L.A. Larkin
Published by Clan Destine Press
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
Olivia Wolfe is a journalist who travels the world exposing heinous crimes. She has more enemies that most.
When her anonymous source is murdered, Wolfe must unravel the terrible secret that connects a series of gruesome murders. But powerful people want her stopped.
Betrayed and isolated, Wolfe is hunted by a faceless killer. Can she stay alive long enough to expose the shocking truth?
The beginning of the book felt a little dense but I suspect this is because of the many references to the previous instalment. Once I realised I didn’t ‘need’ to know all of the backstory I settled in more.
I was taken back to the 1990s in some ways as ‘spy / espionage’ type of novels were my bread and butter back then. I tend to avoid them now, particularly anything referencing war-zones, foreign spies, government conspiracies or corporate espionage. Larkin includes several of those themes here, but with a more contemporary feel.
In fact it’s got everything – corrupt politicians and officials (on multiple sides of the globe), dirty businessmen, an online network of sadists as well as those trading in illegal wildlife and endangered species. In some ways there’s almost too much going on.
I would have been happy with the money laundering politician. Many of the linkages between the disparate illegal activities however come from a man we come to know as Samuel. An assassin. An assassin with a side business in snuff movies. Or at least recording the horrific deaths he inflicts on his targets for an underground network of those who enjoy that kind of stuff. It just so happens that his employer has his hand in a few related pies, which is where Olivia comes in.
She’s essentially investigating a corrupt member of the English Cabinet who’s embezzling money but gets dragged into the rest of it.
The first book in the series obviously introduced Olivia’s Russian love interest along with ‘their’ nemesis DS Dan Casburn who’s part of a ‘Global Threat Taskforce’. We also meet Olivia’s likeable but kinda diffident boss, Mozart Cohen as well as the private investigators she uses in the UK. Her mentor Butcher and hacker Ponnappa.
Despite the amount of information I struggled to absorb in the beginning of the book (not yet knowing what I needed to retain / not) I soon became invested in Olivia’s investigation and that of the South African cop helping her (and her colleagues back home). I was intrigued by Casburn and gather we see a side of him here readers of Devour didn’t.
This isn’t a ‘mystery’ as such. There’s no reveal of ‘whodunit’. The suspense centres more around wondering what fate will beset Olivia next and who she’ll be able to rely on. It’s more about Olivia pulling on threads to find out where they lead. The result is complex but at the same time brings to light a number of important themes around endangered species, the influence exerted on decision makers by corporations and the fragility of our governments and bureaucracies.
This book traverses a few continents and I was slightly chuffed to see a few references to places I’d visited, including Mozambique – a country I lived in for about 17mths in the mid 1990s. This will be a popular read with those who love conspiracies, are incensed by government corruption and feel passionately about protecting wildlife and traditional ways of life.
Prey by L A Larkin will be published by Clan Destine Press on 20 April 2020.
I received a copy of this book from the author for review purposes.