The Manhattan Hunt Club

( 60 )

Overview

Falsely convicted of a brutal crime, college student Jeff Converse sees his future vanishing before his eyes. But someone has other plans for Jeff, in a far deadlier place than any penitentiary. Jeff finds himself beneath the teeming streets of Manhattan, in a hidden landscape of twisting tunnels and forgotten subterranean chambers. Here, an invisible population of the homeless, the desperate, and the mad has carved out its own shadow society. But they are not alone. For someone has made this forsaken ...
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The Manhattan Hunt Club

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Overview

Falsely convicted of a brutal crime, college student Jeff Converse sees his future vanishing before his eyes. But someone has other plans for Jeff, in a far deadlier place than any penitentiary. Jeff finds himself beneath the teeming streets of Manhattan, in a hidden landscape of twisting tunnels and forgotten subterranean chambers. Here, an invisible population of the homeless, the desperate, and the mad has carved out its own shadow society. But they are not alone. For someone has made this forsaken civilization a private killing ground. Now, with no weapon but his wits, and an unimaginable threat lurking around every dark corner, Jeff must somehow move heaven and earth to escape from a living hell. . . .
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“HEART-OF-DARKNESS STORYTELLER SAUL WEAVES A CREEPY TALE OF MURDER, CORRUPTION, AND EVIL . . . It’s a hot tome for summer in the city.”
People

“Long after you’ve finished this suspenseful cliffhanger of a book, the underground world that Saul creates will linger in the mind. . . . Saul takes us deep into that dark night of the soul and the subways in his frighteningly realistic and scarifying tale.”
The Providence Sunday Journal

Library Journal
When Jeff Converse is convicted and sentenced to prison for an assault he didn't commit, he believes matters couldn't get any worse. Of course, he's wrong. While being transported to prison, he's kidnapped and thrown into the tunnels below the New York subway system, where he's the latest participant in a game in which humans are hunted for sport by a group of the city's business and civic leaders. The only way Jeff can win is to make it to the surface alive, which, not surprisingly, proves more difficult than it sounds. Complicating matters further is that the only people on the surface who believe Jeff is still alive are his father and his ex-girlfriend. The prose is often clunky and the characters lack real dimension, but nonstop action keeps the book moving at a brisk pace. Rather typical thriller fare, but since Saul's 22 suspense novels (including The Right Hand of Evil) have won him a huge fan base, this one will be popular in public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/01.]Craig L. Shufelt, Lane P.L., Fairfield, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Saul's new suspense brainchild rips off Richard Connell's much admired 1924 short story, "The Most Dangerous Game," a work so boredom-proof that this takeoff is no dangerous gambit. Even so, Saul (Nightshade, 2000, etc.) is hard put to match Connell's tightly twisted suspense. Manhattan's subway system replaces the original's Amazon jungle. But where Connell's hero was a skilled hunter of jaguars who himself became the prey of a maniacal manhunter, Saul's hero has no such skills, though his father turns out to know his way around a rifle. Jeff Converse, a 21-year-old architecture student, is arrested and charged with brutally attacking a woman in an empty subway stop. Two transit cops catch him still huddled over the victim, her head bashed in, and since he is the man she saw immediately after the attack, she misidentifies him as her assailant. When the conviction comes down to one person's word against another's, the judge sentences Jeff to one year, including time served. But on his way to Rikers Island, the prison van is sideswiped, Jeff is pulled free before it goes up in a fireball, and another body is substituted for his own. A man leads him down into a subway stop and then into an underground community where he's seemingly safe. Little does he know that this is the Manhattan Hunt Club, a group of judges, lawyers, Wall Streeters, and other disaffected souls who regularly get prisoners free only to make them prey for Hunt Club shoots down in the subway. This barely believable premise won't sustain a whole novel, so Saul builds supportive subplots, including the efforts of Jeff's father Keith to trace his son, aided by Jeff's fiancee Heather. Readers unfamiliar with earlier versionsmay well be carried away, mainly by the immense research Saul has put into his tunnels and underground societies, less so by the strained melodrama.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449006528
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/30/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 326,911
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

House of Reckoning is John Saul’s thirty-sixth novel. His first novel, Suffer the Children, published in 1977, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. His other bestselling suspense novels include In the Dark of the Night, Perfect Nightmare, Black Creek Crossing, Midnight Voices, The Manhattan Hunt Club, The Right Hand of Evil, Guardian, and Faces of Fear. Saul divides his time between Seattle, Washington, and Hawaii.
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Read an Excerpt

Time had finally lost its meaning.

Weeks could have passed. Or months.

Not days, though, for the memories of what his life had once been were fading into the fog that filled his mind.
Not years, either, for the memories still had shape and texture and color and smell.

A tree.

Not just any tree, but the walnut tree behind the house in which he grew up. When he was little, the tree was huge, its lowest limbs branching off so far up the trunk that his daddy had to hold him up to touch them. When he got big enough,
he climbed up the rough-barked trunk into its spreading canopy—even built a tree house once, where he could hide on a lazy summer afternoon. The sun filtered through the dome of leaves, and the whole world seemed to glow with the faintest tinge of pale green.

In the cypress hedge that surrounded the yard, hundreds of sparrows roosted at sunset, their rustling almost inaudible until his dog—a little black mutt named Cinder—went racing up and down, shattering the quiet with her high-pitched yap. The birds would explode from the hedge in a rush that sounded like wind and looked like a swirl of autumn leaves.
The sparrows would wheel in the sky, etched against its darkening blue, and slowly settle back to the hedge, only to be flushed again a moment later.

Those were the memories that were still brightest in his mind, for they were the oldest, and though he himself wasn’t old, his mind was already playing the tricks of the aged. Why could he clearly remember that tree from nearly twenty years ago, but barely recall the last room he’d lived in?

Was it because he didn’t want to remember that room?

As he paused in the gloom that surrounded him now, vague outlines recreated themselves in his mind. A tiny space almost filled by a single sagging bed, a metal table with a chipped enameled surface. The stairs leading to it reeked of piss, partially masked by the stink of stale cigarette smoke. Not that he’d worried much about it—he had lived in rooms like that before.
Then one day he left the room and never went back. He didn’t care—he couldn’t pay the rent anyway, and the bastard landlord who lived in the crummy apartment in the basement probably would have changed the locks in a couple of days.

Not much to remember after that.

He’d wandered around the streets for a while, and that hadn’t been too bad. At least he didn’t have to waste any money on rent. But then it started getting cold, and once or twice he’d gone to one of the shelters. Not the one out on the island—what the fuck was the name of it? Like some department store from a long time ago.

Wards. That was it—Wards Island.

He hadn’t been about to go out there. Not that he figured it would be any worse than the places he’d seen since he followed
Big Ted down into Grand Central.

They’d been hanging around the food joints on the lower level when a couple of transit cops started looking at them funny. “Come on,” Big Ted muttered, and he’d followed him to the platform down by Track 42.

On the other side of the track there was a weird jumble of walls and pipes and ladders. Half the walls seemed to be falling down, and most of the ladders didn’t look like they led anywhere. Big Ted jumped off the platform, crossed the track, and scaled a ladder on the opposite side. He hesitated,
then heard someone yelling, and didn’t wait to find out what they wanted. He quickly followed Ted across the track and up the ladder and was just able to keep up as the other man ducked through a door.

Ted led him through a couple of rooms, then climbed up on some pipes and started working his way into the darkness. He still heard shouting behind them, and it drove him on, following
Big Ted.

At first it was kind of fun—sort of like an adventure. He figured he’d hang with Big Ted for a couple of days, then maybe go somewhere else. Maybe even get out of the city.
But a couple of days later it started snowing, and at least it was warm down in the tunnels.

Well, at least it wasn’t freezing cold down there.

If you were careful, you could use the men’s room around the corner from the Oyster Bar, if you didn’t stay too long and the transit cops weren’t feeling too mean. But after he barely got away when they busted Big Ted, he spent more time in the tunnels than upstairs.

He got used to it. It wasn’t nearly as dark as it seemed at first. There were more lights than he’d thought, and after a while he even grew accustomed to the noise. “Like the gentle rolling of ocean surf,” Annie Thompson had called it in her gentle drawl that two years on the streets of New York hadn’t hardened. “Puts you to sleep just like you were on the beach at Hilton Head.” He didn’t believe she’d ever lived in Hilton
Head, but then, she probably wouldn’t have believed he’d grown up in California. It didn’t matter.

All that mattered was that they were both still alive.

Or what passed for alive. Most of the time there wasn’t much difference between night and day, unless you were under one of the grates that opened up into a park or something,
and for the last couple of days—maybe even a week—
he’d been staying away from the grates.

The grates, and the subway stations, and the train stations,
and the culverts, and the mouths of the tunnels. None of it was safe anymore.

None of it.

Not any friends anymore, either.

A few days ago, maybe a week, he’d had friends. Annie
Thompson, and Ike, and that girl—the one whose name he couldn’t remember. Didn’t matter no more anyway, once they started coming after him.

“They.”

The thing was, he didn’t know who “they” were. Up until the craziness started, he’d thought “they” were his friends.
But then one day when he left the tunnels, he snatched a purse. It was real easy—he’d watched Big Ted do it lots of times. The woman he’d snatched it from hadn’t even tried to hang on to it.

She didn’t even yell for help.

A couple of hours later, still on the outside, he ran into
Annie Thompson. She’d been right there in the subway station where he made the snatch, and saw it all. But instead of asking him how much money he’d gotten or to split it with her, which he might even have done, she told him off. “You crazy? What did you want to do that for?” She kept on talking, but he didn’t listen—he was too busy looking at a girl who’d just come out of the big church on Amsterdam Avenue,
and wondering what it would be like to talk to her. Not touch her or anything like that. Just talk to her. So he’d pretty much ignored Annie until he ran into her later—he couldn’t remember exactly when—and she’d warned him. “Better get out,” she said. “You really think you could get away with that? Now they’re comin’ after you.”

He hadn’t believed her until the next time he tried to get to the surface through one of the subway stations and some of
Ike’s friends had shown him their knives.

He could tell by the look in their eyes they weren’t kidding.
He’d been on the run ever since.

And he’d been going deeper and deeper, climbing down ladders whenever he found them, crawling through drain-pipes he could barely fit into, creeping on his belly through slimy passages so tight that if they hadn’t been slick with scum, he wouldn’t have been able to make it at all.

Now he lay on a ledge above a passageway that was so dark, if he shut off his flashlight he couldn’t see his hand in front of his eyes. The batteries were dying, and even if they hadn’t been, he couldn’t risk the dimming glow of the flashlight giving him away.

He heard something moving in the dark, then felt whatever it was skitter across his hand.

In the distance, a train rumbling.

In the darkness, a flash of red.

The rumbling of the train grew louder.

He shrank back against the wall behind him, instinctively holding his breath. The whole passage trembled as somewhere above him the train roared over. As the rumbling tremor faded away, the passage grew still.

He let himself relax.

He took a breath, and the fetid odor of decay filled his nostrils.

Again a glimmer of red, this time from the other direction.

Now he could see two spots of red, creeping along the floor like glowing insects. They came together and seemed confused for a moment. Then both glowing red spots began moving toward him.

He tried to squirm back deeper on the shelf, but the cold,
dank hardness of solid concrete stopped him.

He lost sight of the glowing dots for a moment, then looked down.

They were both on his chest, close together.

He never heard the shots. Long before the reports of the exploding shells reached his ears, one of the bullets tore into his heart, while the other smashed his spine.

Even in that last split second before he died, he still didn’t know why it had to happen.

He only knew there was no way to stop it.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(39)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2003

    Powerful, suspence, hard to put down.

    This book is very good, ignore the losers comments above. Albeit, the looser did make some interesting points, even if misleading. If one truly reads for enjoyment, and you like a suspense thriller, this is a must read. The plot is very interesting and refreshing given the traditional plots that exist. I especially like the style, the way John teases his readers by segmenting the book into easily definable scenes. You actually know when the shift occurs thanks to the ALL CAPS FIRST LINE. And just when a scene reaches it climax, and you are left saying and¿AUGGG ¿ he switches scenes. This is what makes the book absolutely impossible to put down. You are always left¿ just have to know what happening next in each of the scenes. At times there are 4-5 all going at once, it¿s like having nested books in a book. The fact that this story tells about an environment so true, people often don¿t think about it. The book also touches on an element of humanity and really gives you something to think of. What if suddenly you lost everything and the people you looked down in society were actually the ones you counted on and depended on to get your next meal, get you out danger, or saves your life. ¿ bottom line never take anything for granted. Read the book and judge for yourself. If you are offended at homosexuality, gross anatomy, strong language and twisted disturbed people in general, or have a weak stomach easily ¿ read with caution, some parts are very graphic. But that¿s and even bigger compliment to the author, for writing such a clear picture, regardless of the subject at hand.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Love it

    Nail biting thriller. Not usually a John Saul fan but couldn't put this down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Awesome Novel

    Own every book that John Saul has written...this is my favorite! Have read it twice and couldn't put it down either time. Patiently waiting for for the next novel. Keep them coming John!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Wow

    I'm not usually a John Saul reader, but this one is a real nail-biter!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Haunting

    Read this years ago & still remember it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Keeps you on the edge of your seat

    Could not put this down

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    great book

    Especially living in NYC and taking the subway to Grand Central..this is an amazing view of the society living beneath the streets

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    One of my favorites!

    This is a fantastic book that will keep you at the edge of your seat and turning pages rapidly.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another great book by an underrated author

    John Saul doesn't get enough praise, in my opinion. He always delivers thrills and chills and this is no exception. The idea of the homeless, and how they form thier own society underground, was refreshing and fun as can be to read. It's a great book to read on a rainy day. Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2008

    A reviewer

    I am never disappointed in anything I read by John Saul, and this one is another page turner. Wrongly convicted of a subway attack, Jeff is sentenced to a year at Riker's. But the transport vehicle taking him to the prison ends up getting in an accident, and Jeff, presumed dead, is secreted away to the underground tunnels of the city where a large homeless population lives mostly unnoticed or ignored by society. Here, he and another prisoner, become unwilling participants in a game of survival, where hunters with hi-powered rifles hunt down their prey. It they make it out of the tunnel system they get to live--but the creators of the game are not going to let that happen. Meanwhile Jeff's father, Keith, and Jeff's society girlfriend Heather are the only ones convinced that Jeff is still alive, and what's more they are going in to find him. If I have any criticisms of Saul's work, it is that his characters are rarely very multi-dimensional. They are either exceptionally saint-like 'Jeff, Heather' or overwhelmingly evil. 'Although Saul usually throws in a character that leads you astray.' Saul also seems to carry a bit of baggage when it comes to Catholics 'in this novel's case, Keith's wife, Mary' as obsessive and rigid. But I digress. He more than makes up for any character weaknesses with strong and inventive plot lines that move the story quickly and keep the reader in suspense to the very end. I'd recommend this book for a fast, entertaining read. One teeny problem--why on earth would Heather and Jeff name their child after her horrific father???

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2007

    Suspense Mastery in its Truest Form

    In this work, John Saul helped recreate the meaning of 'gripping' and 'cannot tear my eyes away'. It's one of those books that you dream about once you FINALLY decide to put down from your nightly reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    bone chillingly amazing.

    This book is my favorite read. In this book a man is convicted of a murder that he didnt commit. He is in a transport on his way to prison when the van is in a car accident. But this accident wasnt accidental he is abducted and is now prey to the mysterious hunters of the manhattan hunt club.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    Outstanding

    This book will draw you in if you give a chance to read this masterpiece. Outstanding characters, plot is set perfectly and the suspence is in every corner. It will keep you on your heels till the last page is read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2005

    hard to put down

    i loved it I thought it was a good book, a lot of it could be true, it kept me thinking,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2004

    It Never Left My Hands!!

    I'm a John Saul fanatic, and I've read just about every book he's ever written. When I recieved this one, I expected another of his thrillers with those superb twists, and I got just what I wanted. I LOVED it! I'm ecstatic he went out on a limb to write this book. I was very impressed. It was new material, nothing like his other novels. Great book. I'd recommend to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2004

    Different from his other books

    I found this book much different than a lot of his other books. Its much more realistic. I think thats what makes it so different. I don't know its hard to explain but, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. Definitely check it out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2003

    Must Read

    At first I was confused as to where Saul was leading me. Then all of a sudden I was hooked. I couldn't put the book down. If I ever go down into the subway I will be looking around at everyone wondering could this really happen. Would make a great movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2003

    Great Read

    This was an excellent story. Really makes you wonder and appreciate the luxuries we have in life. I thought this was one of John Saul's best books. I was captivated thoughout the entire story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2003

    Manhattan...

    A very easy-to-follow novel, Manhattan Hunt Club is the best book I've ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2003

    Very Good Read

    The story is enjoyable, the characters are vivid...and NO there is nothing wrong with this five-star rating system as some might want you to think.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews

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