Looking for something a bit different to read? Anthony Gardner's new thriller Fox, tells the story of the formation of urban hunts to cull foxes in the towns, following the outbreak of 'fox flu'

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I know you should never judge a book by its cover, but I did. That’s not to say the cover isn’t lovely — it is — but this book —The Fox, by Anthony Gardnerwas not at all what I was expecting. It was better.

A gripping and funny thriller, Anthony Gardner ‘s second novel ventures from central London to China and on a mad, fast chase across England.

Set in a similar world to our own, the UK is braced for an outbreak of the fictitious “fox flu” — a nasty, virulent disease to which there is no known cure.

Urban hunts have been formed to cull the foxes in the towns and a weekly documentary on the dashing Frank, MFH of the Hyde Park Hunt, and his exploits is topping the TV ratings with around 12 million viewers.

But a possible fox flu vaccine looks set to have undesirable, Orwellian consequences.

I loved the range of characters that popped up through the fast-paced narrative, which is full of witty tit-bits and sharp observations.

From the heroic but chippy Frank, to the quietly brave Christophe and the marvellously petty (and aptly named) Jennifer Pettifer, the book is bursting with interesting people.

There’s a prison break, secret agents, a high-speed boat chase and just when you think there cannot be another twist, you meet the eccentric father and son of the Pu Dong Pudding Company — which specialises in classic British desserts.

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There is an inevitability that all the characters are racing towards the same point and I very much felt as if I was joining them on their “hunt” against evil as well as the actual hunt of the diseased fox.

If you like the sound of an action-packed, fun read with a hunting twist, this fresh take on a thriller will be hard to put down.

Fox, by Anthony Gardner, with illustrations by Nicola and Rosanna Reed
Fox

Publisher: Ardleevan Press

Price: £17.99

Visit: www.ardleevanpress.com