The Manhattan Hunt Club
In Manhattan Hunt Club John Saul plumbs the depths of the Manhattan underground--the network of subway tunnels and secret caverns and chambers where the homeless denizens of the city have created their own society. It's a world Jeff Converse, a young college student convicted of a crime he didn't commit, never knew existed until he is plunged into it after an "accident" that occurs while he is being transported to prison. He soon realizes that it's no accident, but the opening move in a deadly game being played by some of the city's most powerful men and women, a game in which he is the prey and they are the hunters. Jeff's only chance to make it to the surface and survive lies in allying himself with a homicidal maniac who's appointed himself the young man's protector, but whose designs on Jeff are almost as lethal as those of his enemies in the Manhattan Hunt Club.
Saul made his reputation in the horror genre, but he now focuses on psychological terrors rather than things that go bump in the night. His narrative gifts are displayed to great advantage in this heart-stopping thriller; the pacing is flawless and the central characters are very well developed. What keeps this from living up to its fullest potential is the inadequate motivation of the villains, who are largely one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. But that won't keep this otherwise topnotch thriller off the bestseller lists, where Saul (Nightshade, The Right Hand of Evil), like Stephen King, is a perennial contender for the number one spot. --Jane Adams