Hell in paradise
Stevie Erickson is looking for a fresh start. Losing her grandmother has turned her life upside down. When her boyfriend Jacob is offered a job on an island off the coast of Tanzania, she decides to go with him, despite her reservations.
They start their new life in Tanzania in a hostel, where an incident leaves Stevie freaking out and fearing she is being watched. The one good thing to come out of that incident was meeting golden couple Leo and Tasmin, with whom Stevie and Jacob became fast friends.
Their friendship, and Stevie and Jacob’s relationship, are put to the test when they all make it to Raffiki Island. Innocent flirting escalates, secrets are revealed, a killer is exposed, and Stevie is in the centre of it all.
The book through my criteria lens:
The Hunted is told through the perspectives of Stevie and Leo, with some flashbacks when necessary for context. Nay did something with one of the perspectives that I freaking loved! I’m not mentioning it because I want you to have that first experience like I did! But from that moment on, I couldn’t put the book down! I enjoyed the characters, they all had their unique voices, and all but one of them are people I would love to meet and hang out with! All four main characters are on different morality scales, and I really enjoyed the nuanced personalities. Even though Leo occasionally would do something that confused me, he was my favourite character, and his development remained consistent for most of The Hunted.
I feel that Nay nailed the suspense, tension, and setting description. While they were in the city, I could clearly picture the characters’ surroundings; I just wish that we had spent more time on the island and explored the diving world, probably because I have been physically distancing since March 2020 and want to live through my novels, lol! Most people will not care about this, but fair play is the one criteria I am the harshest one, and I feel that Nay mainly played fair with her solution; I was able to guess who – but the motivation came slightly out of the left field. That being said, the whodunnit plotting was well executed!
My personal feelings:
Reading The Hunted, I immediately liked Stevie and felt protective over her. She has had the worst luck, losing people she has loved and finding herself surrounded by assholes! To follow her arc and see her coming into her own was worth the whole reading experience for me.
On the topic of an asshole, we are supposed to have a killer, but still, the one character I couldn’t stand was Jacob. Stevie was so much better than him, and I don’t care what his motivations are – he was pretty close to being emotionally abusive and clearly loved the idea of Stevie, but not her. He was toxic, emotionally unavailable, predatory, and selfish. Can you tell I did not like him? Hahah, Kudos to Nay; in my book, any visceral reaction to a character means the author gave them a strong voice.
I also always love when a book makes you reflect on your choices, and The Hunted did that for me. I adored how a character made use of social media to stalk. It was such a subtle and interesting way to evoke reflection on how much we share online with strangers – is our social media footprint intentional? Do we ever consider what we’re sharing? I know I try to keep my personal life as private as possible and try not to post anything that can be traced back to me or my life, but a simple hashtag can give it all away!
Overall I recommend The Hunted to everyone looking for a fun summer read!
My total rating: 3.91
I mention this book in this video: TBD
Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Simon & Schuster Canada, Roz Nay and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The Hunted.
Until next book, be the hummingbird!