Daily Mirror, 15th July 2008
'Justice for All is a debut of the highest order, marking the stunning arrival of Zac Hunter, an ex-cop who takes no prisoners. However, on the trail of a child killer who walked on a technicality, Zac find someone's already beaten him to his prey - and this assassin doesn't care who gets in his way. Uncompromising from start to finish'.
www.lovereading.co.uk - August 2008
This is a pretty hard hitting crime novel with some decidedly nasty characters and a former cop, Zac Hunter, who is out for justice. A new voice in crime thrillers makes an explosive debut and Zac Hunter is a character we hope to see more of in books to come. Gritty and edgy it should keep you on the edge of your seat.
www.list.co.uk - August 2008
If you loved Dexter, you'll go a bundle on this...as policeman Zac Hunter goes about his business on both sides of the law.
Eastern Daily Press, 10th September 2008
'A pacy, page-turning read that's hard to put down...a vintage piece of hardboiled crime fiction'
www.sonsofspade.tk - October 2008
Steven Hague proves he uses his inspirations with great skill. With this first offering he manages to marry successfully the twists and turns of Harlan Coben with the feeling of authenticity and mood of Michael Connelly.
Ex-cop Zac Hunter beat the crap out of a suspect child killer/molester. While out of the job he still won’t let the case of this killer rest however. Helping him out along the way is an aging detective (my favourite character in the book). There’s also a Russian vigilante killer who dishes out violent justice to various unsavoury characters and a female lawyer who seems to be more than meets the eye. All these characters cross paths in this exciting tale of vengeance.
During the course of the novel we begin to see that Zac may be an unrelenting champion of justice but is by no means a ruthless vigilante. Pitting him against a killer that is one is a great choice for a first novel in this series. It makes sure you don’t mistake Zac for a Punisher (Marvel Comics) or Executioner (Don Pendleton’s novels) kind of character. These are thrillers/crime novels, not mindless, action-packed men’s adventures. So the movie version would star Mark Wahlberg, not Steven Seagal.
Zac Hunter is THE loner, the epitome of the character Dashiel Hammett invented with the Continental Op. He has no private life to speak of but a thirst for justice and the truth that makes him the ultimate detective.
I really enjoyed this one. Not only was I satisfied with the writing style, direct but not written as a documentary, characters that might become larger than life but still ended up as feeling very real, a satisfying amount of action and lots of surprises and plot twists. Also, as a Dutch writer who has decided to set his series in the same city (L.A.) as British writer Steven I must compliment him on his excellent research. I know how tough it can be sometimes.
www.CrimeSquad.com - February 2009
Steven Hague’s first thriller is a powerful, racing machine. With the power of a Lamborghini engine this book revs up in the first chapter and roars through the remaining pages. There is certainly no let up with the plot and the reader is as breathless as Hunter must be with all the racing around he does in this book. The pace is fast and furious and the story weaves between Hunter’s deadly ‘pas de deux’ with the killer and a vicious case at the law courts. By the end of the book, the two story lines interweave and produce an explosive ending.
There are a couple of small niggles I feel I need to point out. Some of the characters feel like caricatures and sound as if they have come straight out of an American cop show. The other is Hague’s over use of detail. It is great to see an author do their homework, but another to put it all into the book. Some judicious editing required perhaps? I found myself skimming over the numerous details of the guns that were being fired during the course of this story. However, I am sure that with practice these small points will be ironed out and relevant details will be used without the reader feeling slightly blinded by science. As a debut, Justice for All certainly works and is an excellent start to laying the foundations for what must surely be a marvellous writing career. I, for one will be looking forward to Zac Hunter’s next adventure.
www.EuroCrime.co.uk - April 2009
This is Steven's first book, and although the author lives in Norwich, interestingly, the book is set in Los Angeles, but despite this, it has a convincing feel to it. The main protagonist is an ex-cop called Zac Hunter. He's only recently been ejected from the Los Angeles Police Department after beating up a suspect, Montero, in a case involving kidnapping, pornography and murder of minors. His justification for doing this was to find the latest victim, a young girl that had only just disappeared and might still be alive. In court though, a young defence lawyer, Rebecca Finch, manages to get Montero off with a not-guilty verdict, and Zac decides to take the law into his own hands and despatch Montero himself. However, when he breaks into Montero's house, he finds he's too late. Montero, together with the prostitute he was in bed with, have already been shot by a professional killer, only a few minutes beforehand.
Zac teams up with an ageing cop called Carson, to find Montero's killer. Carson has linked Montero's murder with three previous murders. In each case, the murderer has left behind his calling card, the Jacks, Queens and Kings of each suit in a pack of playing cards. Carlton says that he wants Zac to take a fresh look at the case. Perhaps he will see something Carson is missing. Meanwhile, we are shown glimpses of the assassin, a Russian, who receives his orders about who to kill next from an unknown boss, as well as the story of Rebecca and her next case: defending a drunk driver from a very wealthy family who hit and killed a young Mexican boy.
Can Zac determine the identity of the serial killer? Who is the 'boss'? Why is Carson letting Zac in on the case, when he is no longer on the force? And why does Rebecca determinedly defend clients who are so obviously guilty?For a first book, the plot is well written, and the plot twists, though sometimes obvious, are often hidden well. This is a pretty gritty book, with an aggressive feel to it. Zac is a solitary character, solidly bent on finding the killer who took away his chance to settle the score with Montero. His blinkered vision means that he misses some of the more obvious clues as to how he is being manipulated. The book builds up to a tense ending, in which Zac just manages to escape with his life. In the closing words Zac says he thinks he will be more effective if he stays 'freelance'… "Watch out world, here I come". This is a promising book from a new author, and I look forward to Zac's next outing.