Canned Hunt

A Nick Tanner Crime Thriller

Fiction - Crime
326 Pages
Reviewed on 04/27/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Leonard Smuts for Readers' Favorite

The topic of canned hunting and the trade in endangered species remains discreetly hidden from the public gaze. Astonishingly, it is not illegal in many states of the USA or even internationally, but generates huge revenues for those less inclined toward acknowledging animal rights. Kerry K Cox brings these malpractices to the fore in a hard-hitting and uncompromising manner. Through the eyes of Special Agent Nick Tanner, Canned Hunt explores the shadowy world of so-called outfitters who arrange for rare and exotic wildlife species to be hunted in circumstances where the target is deliberately captive and defenseless. Nick Tanner is tasked with uncovering those involved, but the story really begins with the shooting of a fellow agent in the course of her duties. This leads Nick to the backwoods, where he finds a web of conspiracy involving the local sheriff and the members of a fundamentalist church who believe that they have a God-given right to exploit nature. The church uses the proceeds they derive to further a right-wing supremacist agenda. As Nick and his colleagues close the net, they are exposed to increasing levels of personal danger, which culminates in a tense and dramatic standoff.

Although Canned Hunt is written as a novel, it highlights real-life issues and moral dilemmas. Law enforcement against canned hunting is often under-resourced and not always adequately supported by either political will or by local crime prevention agencies. Indeed, many citizens still assert their right to hunt, the only difference being the circumstances they regard as ethically acceptable. Kerry K Cox has researched this topic in depth and weaves an intricate tale of undercover operations, deceit, and personal risk in tracking down the culprits. He does this through a variety of interesting and exciting characters, whose adventures enrich the book. A personal favorite was Ray, a blind bobcat who Nick has legally adopted and later becomes an important part of the plot. I also welcomed the reference to the trade in rare butterflies, which do not enjoy the high profile of the larger predators but are equally endangered. A new and sinister development in the industry is remote, online hunting made possible by new technologies. The intriguing and original plot unfolds at a brisk pace, holding the reader’s attention to the end. The book is a fascinating journey into a little-known and secret world, where profits are protected at any cost and even humans can become fair game.

K.C. Finn

Canned Hunt: A Nick Tanner Crime Thriller is a work of fiction in the crime, mystery, and thriller subgenres and was penned by author Kerry K. Cox. It is best suited to the mature adult reading audience owing to the presence of explicit language and scenes of moderate violence throughout. Our protagonist is Special Agent Nick Tanner, who spends his time working in the fish and wildlife area of the service. But Nick gets more than he bargained for when wildlife trafficking turns out to be interconnected to murder and dangerous nationalist movements. What follows is an exciting tale of undercover operations, secrets, and deadly situations.

Author Kerry K. Cox delivers on all fronts with this riveting crime novel, which will be sure to please all fans of the genre with its balanced approach to mystery, action, plot, and character development. The pace and length of the novel itself make it highly readable for the casual crime fan, but there’s also lots of detail to go into and enjoy as you follow Nick around and begin to unpick the clues that he uncovers. I also found the variety and atmosphere of the settings to be fresh and unusual, showing stark contrasts between the big city and wild outdoors, each with their different dangers and tensions to keep you on the edge of your seat. Overall, I would highly recommend Canned Hunt for fans of original crime thriller novels that are packed with intriguing ideas and a plot you genuinely can’t predict.

Natalie Soine

Canned Hunt by Kerry K. Cox is a thrilling, suspenseful novel. Federal Agent Shannon McBride was investigating illegal canned hunting outfitters when her body is found in Tusher Canyon. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agent-in-Charge Lowell Hightower assigns Special Agents Nick Tanner and Maria Martinez to the case. The team is drawn into a spider's web of supremacists, illegal activities, butterfly poaching, and canned hunting. With help from Utah Fish and Game Warden Danni Burnette, the investigation leads to Howard Nash, hunting guide for outfitter Divinely Wild, as well as Pastor Lafayette Rice, Robert Miller of Large Animal Veterinary Services, and Texas rancher Cletus Rice. Emery County Sheriff Vernon Rice and Detective Al Waggoner gather evidence relating to the death of Shannon but are reluctant to cooperate with authorities. Information from Howard’s daughter Sandi adds disturbing evidence to Nick’s case, as does Green River Star publisher Orson Davies. Driven by justice, the team puts their own lives in danger.

There is a special place in hell for people who do not respect wild animals, and author Kerry K. Cox does a superb job of highlighting the fact that illegal hunting still continues. Canned Hunt is a thought-provoking story that shares heart-breaking information about the ruthless, uncaring brutes who continue their cruel sport. The novel is well researched and well written with many facts and supporting evidence. The characters are well described with people from all walks of life, good and evil, my personal favorite being Ray Charles. The scenes and locations include stark canyons, the swift-flowing Green River rapids, and soaring rock walls as well as the gritty back streets of Las Vegas. All-round, a great novel highly recommended to all adults.