In this sequel, a human target must escape captivity in a lawless African nation.
Jack Mason is a chiropractor from Wisconsin. His passion for hunting rare animals leads him to the fictional African nation of Amanbai. After bagging a prize kill, however, he finds himself among the hunted on the Homo Sapien Ranch. Left for dead in Rafferty’s (The Trophy Hunted, 2016) previous novel, Jack has now woken up on the edge of the ranch. His hand and shoulder are severely wounded. He tries to get the attention of a train passing the nearby depot, but blood loss keels him over. He later wakes in a pristine white room, hooked up to a heart monitor and handcuffed to a bed. His wounds have been tended by a buxom African nurse named Nyamba, who says, “We need you to get better….We need you to heal.” Jack initially believes he’s been saved. Then the ranch’s top henchman, Monroe, walks in. They want to mend Jack so they can stalk him again. A bonus treatment involves showing him grotesque hunting footage, followed by an IV cocktail designed to induce nausea. Jack’s only hope is that his wife, Ann, is somehow searching for him. In this gruesome sequel, Rafferty once again hammers home the message that trophy killers ruin “the reputations of hunters” who “use, appreciate and harvest all of the animal.” The prose is raw with grisly imagery, starting with the first scene, in which Jack removes an arrow from his hand (“The shaft disappeared, leaving a dark, red hole in the top of his hand, and a stream of blood and bodily goo”). The author brings early levity to the narrative when Jack names the arrowhead Pierce and calls it his friend. Other tones aren’t as successful, like the consistent sexualization of Nyamba (“It didn’t hurt to see that beautiful butt once again”). An over-the-top twist near the end is well executed, though readers may see it coming. The fallout of Jack’s adventure promises a nerve-racking third installment.
The premise of hunting man for sport remains reliably sordid entertainment.