Only The Hunted Run: A Sully Carter Novel by Neely TuckerOnly The Hunted Run: A Sully Carter Novel by Neely Tucker

Only The Hunted Run: A Sully Carter Novel

byNeely Tucker

Hardcover | August 30, 2016

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A Kirkus Reviews Best Thriller of 2016

“The test of a crime series is its main character, and Sully is someone we'll want to read about again and again.” —Lisa Scottoline, The Washington Post

“Fast-moving and suspenseful with an explosively violent conclusion.” Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press

“Tucker’s Sully Carter novels have quickly sneaked up on me as one of my favorite new series.” —Sarah Weinman, “The Crime Lady”

The riveting third novel in the Sully Carter series finds the gutsy reporter investigating a shooting at the Capitol and the violent world of the nation’s most corrupt mental institution

In the doldrums of a broiling Washington summer, a madman goes on a shooting rampage in the Capitol building. Sully Carter is at the scene and witnesses the carnage firsthand and files the first and most detailed account of the massacre. The shooter, Terry Waters, is still on the loose and becomes obsessed with Sully, luring the reporter into the streets of D.C. during the manhunt. Not much is known about Waters when he is finally caught, except that he hails from the Indian reservations of Oklahoma. His rants in the courtroom quickly earn him a stay at Saint Elizabeth’s mental hospital, and the paper sends Sully out west to find out what has led a man to such a horrific act of violence.

As Sully hits the road to see what he can dig up on Waters back in Oklahoma, he leaves his friend Alexis to watch over his nephew, Josh, who is visiting DC for the summer. Traversing central Oklahoma, Sully discovers that a shadow lurks behind the Waters family history and that the ghosts of the past have pursued the shooter for far longer than Sully could have known. When a local sheriff reveals the Waterses’ deep connection with Saint Elizabeth’s, Sully realizes he must find a way to gain access to the asylum, no matter the consequences.
Neely Tucker is the author of two previous Sully Carter novels, The Ways of the Dead and Murder, D.C., as well as the memoir Love in the Driest Season, which was named one of the 25 Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly. Currently a staff writer at The Washington Post Sunday magazine, Tucker lives with his family in Maryland.
Title:Only The Hunted Run: A Sully Carter NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.31 × 6.38 × 1.04 inPublished:August 30, 2016Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0525429425

ISBN - 13:9780525429425


Rated 5 out of 5 by from The third Sully Carter book Only the Hunted Run is the newest book in Neely Tucker's Sully Carter series. I've read the first two books and really enjoyed them, so I happily picked up this newly released third entry. Sully is a newspaper reporter in Washington, DC. I'm going to borrow from one of my previous descriptions of Sully: "The best protagonists for crime books are the walking wounded, the ones who buck authority, the ones who just can't let things be or let justice go unserved. Sully Carter fills the bill on every count. He's battling PTSD, alcohol and anger issues, his bosses and manages to step on toes everywhere he goes. He's also a confidant of the one of DC's crime lords. Flawed but driven." Sully is in the Capitol building on an assignment when a shooter goes on a rampage. Sully, instead of running, moves further into the building, chasing the story. He gets close, manages to hide, and is a first hand witness to the carnage. The shooter himself makes the 911 call, but manages to walk out without being apprehended. After reading Sully's story, he calls him, insisting they have similarities in their lives. And that they should talk..... I always love keeping an eye out for the title cue as I read. In this case, it comes from Terry Waters, the shooter: "Sully, okay. You've got to understand this. It's key. Only the hunted run. I, me, I'm not the hunted. I'm not running. I hunt. I am the hunter." But Sully too is hunting - hunting for who Terry Waters is and the whys and wherefores of his killing spree. The journey for those answers makes for addictive reading. It was only when I finished the book that I discovered that Neely had (again) woven in fact with fiction. It was hard to believe that these horrific historical details were sickeningly real. What makes this such a great series? Well, I love the main character, flaws and all. Sully is making progress on the anger, drinking and PTSD, but it's two steps forward, one step back. Tucker has given Sully an expanded personal life with Alexis that I hope lasts - I quite like her. There seems to be an exit for one supporting character that I will be sad to see leave. But I am looking forward to seeing what his replacement will bring to the series. The writing is fantastic - great pacing, dialogue, setting and plotting. And no wonder - Tucker himself is a writer at The Washington Post. He's also been a war correspondent in over sixty countries. Tucker brings that experience and knowledge to his writing. And to Sully as well - I do wonder how much of Tucker himself is woven into the character? Only the Hunted Run was another great read for me. I look forward to number four.
Date published: 2016-09-06

Read from the Book

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***Copyright © 2016 Neely TuckerOneHe couldn’t count the shots for the screaming. It was coming from everywhere. Jesus, the noise. Bouncing down the marble steps, over the stone floors, around the columns, echoing down the long corridors. Women. It was mostly women screaming, but there were men yelling, too, all bass and fury, bellowing that they’d been hit.The woman across from him in the Crypt of the Capitol building was bleeding out. Shot through the chest. She had been screaming but now she was just whimpering. The blood oozing over the stone floor beneath her was darker now, a maroon tidal pool, moving steadily outward.The shots had been pop pop popping, an automatic at work. But now they were sporadic and far away and seemed more to be echoes than original sound and he had no idea how many gunmen were in the building or where they were.Sully Carter, tucked between two of the double columns that formed the outer ring of the Crypt’s sandstone beams, looked toward the center of the circular room, then to the outer walls. Ten, maybe a dozen others, cowering between columns or under display cases. Some wounded, some taking cover. Nobody said anything. They were all breathing heavily. Looking, the lot of them, like passengers on a plane with no pilot.Well, fuck this.He blew out his breath and scrambled on all fours until he got to the shot woman. She was flat on her back. He took her hand and knelt beside her, breathing hard with the effort, the adrenaline. She had two hits, the upper chest and the abdomen. The blood pumping out of her was a river. She opened her eyes when he squeezed her hand, but the light in them was faint and far away.“Can you hear me?” he whispered. “Hey? Squeeze if yes. We’ll get out the door.” He jerked his head to the right, toward the exit. Which, when he looked at it now, with the prospect of carrying her, looked a mile and a half away.She had curly brown hair, green eyes, little blue stud earrings, and too much makeup. Her mascara was running. Early thirties. A lanyard around her neck with a badge. She was wearing a navy skirt and a white blouse, untucked and gone mostly red, with a smart navy jacket over it. One of her shoes, black pumps, had come off. Heavyset. If he got one arm under her knees and another behind her back . . . no. Never. She’d be limp as a dishrag, and forty pounds too heavy. He’d have to heave her over a shoulder.“You squeeze me? Like this?” He gave her a series of rapid-fire squeezes. She blinked and her mouth parted. A gossamer-thin bubble of saliva, tinged red, came up from her lips, ballooned, and—as Sully watched, transfixed—burst.She did not squeeze.“Goddammit,” he said.The blood pumping through her blouse settled into a desultory flow. She stared at him, and there was the stillness, the letting go, the hand coming off the trapeze bar, and she was floating, floating, the ground a forgotten thing, just floating into the void. He felt dizzy for a second. He did not want to let go.There was scrambling behind him and he whipped around. The rest of the survivors were coming out of hiding, abandoning their safe spots, running like hell for the exit or back down the hallway to the Senate side, away from the gunfire.Somewhere, someone pulled the fire alarm.Sully looked at his watch. A little after five. He had been in the building maybe an hour, filling in for Clarice. It was August in Washington, the worst time of year, the absolute worst. Everybody who was anybody was on vacation. Sully, who was not quite anybody, was working, like the stragglers in the Capitol building: stuck in the city, the heat a hammer that hit you in the face.He’d been assigned a bullshit story about environmental regulations governing oil drilling in the Gulf. The desk handed it to him because the Gulf was back home and they thought he’d know something about it. And because he was a warm body dumb enough not to be in the Outer Banks or the Caribbean this time of year. Then, in the sagging hours of this afternoon assignment, there had come the burst of automatic weapons fire, the bleeding and screaming, everything going out of focus and off kilter, the modern American nightmare. The national anxiety during the Cold War had been a Russian nuclear strike, millions of god-fearing Americans vaporized in an instant. By the turn of the century, the national anxiety had devolved into a crazy man with a gun, god-fearing Americans picked off half a dozen at a time. Slow motion suicide instead of instant annihilation.The woman on the floor beside him had, no kidding, stopped breathing.The hand in his was still warm but it wouldn’t be for long. He gave it a final squeeze and then pushed himself up, shaking a little now. Looked down the hallway to the exit. Sunshine and safety. Part of him, at this point in his life, his career, longed for it. But he was at work, and you did your job because nobody ever made anything better by running from it.Sitting up, he slid his hard-soled shoes from his feet and left them beside the dead woman. The last thing he needed, going to find the man with the gun, was his shoes telling the bastard where to shoot.Quickstepping in his socks, he gimp-legged it into the heart of the building, finding a circular marble staircase. He brought his eyes up, brought his eyes up hard, and his feet followed, hewing close to the rail, back hunched over to lower his profile, hitching his bad leg along as best he could, up the steps, now six, now eight, the screaming getting closer— Sully Carter alone in the core of the building that symbolized America’s allegedly invincible power, and his isolation telling him with every step that something had gone terribly wrong.TwoCrisscrossing his steps, watching the shooting angles, he made his way up the marble staircase, lowering his hips, bending his knees. Two more pop pops stopped him. The acoustics of the building, the stone and marble, the arched ceilings, turned it into an echo chamber. You couldn’t tell what was coming from where.He felt some nameless thing creeping up his spine and spreading out through his nervous system, little Day-Glo electrical dots flying down the bundles of the nerve fibers buried under his flesh, conducting not a knuckle-whitening sense of fight or flight, but of . . . calm.That was it. The sensation flowing through his body, right down to the tips of his fingers and the far reaches of his toes, was that of antifreeze in a running engine, a coolant, like what bourbon so often had done for his kicked-around and possibly damaged brain. His heart rate slowed and his breathing deepened. Day-to-day stress drove him up the wall.Chaos suited him.He came out of the crouch at the top of the steps and, gaining the edge of the Rotunda, his eyes scanned the upper reaches of the atrium. Sounds, colors, stillness. Also: A bloodied mess. Five, six, seven bodies lay in the open, tiled expanse. Two were in uniform. The grand statues looked on, mute. Light streamed in from above.One body, that of a man in a brown suit, lay in almost the center of the floor. Another, in seersucker, was across the way, the blast to the face taking out the back half of the man’s skull, the body face down. Wet speckles and clumps of gore, gray and red and brown, were everywhere, like grotesque confetti that had showered and settled. The two officers lay on their backs a few feet apart. They were both just inside the House entrance to the room, not forty feet in front of him, slightly to his left. They had come running from the Senate corridor, Sully thought, shot from the front. It indicated the shooter or shooters were in the House wing, to his right.The screaming burst out again. It had sounded like a woman when he was coming up the steps but now that he was here, he could see that it was a young man. Slumped against the far wall, half hidden behind a tall marble statue, the kid kept his left hand on his right shoulder, trying to slow the spewing. Blood came up through his fingers and over his suit. He had to be a page, an intern. His wingtip-clad feet were clawing at the floor, trying to push himself further into the wall.The shriek lasted until he ran out of breath. Then, chest heaving, still looking at the bloody pulp of his shoulder, he started up again. A long, high-pitched wail, seeming to start at the base of his lungs and, shuddering once in the open air, to bounce off the walls, until he coughed, and coughed again. Vomit bubbled out of his mouth, onto his suit. He spat. Then he started another wail, half an octave higher than the one before.Sully got his eyes up again, scouting for an arm, a rifle, a gun held over one of the balconies above. Nothing. Then he came out of his crouch at a full clip, running, sidestepping one body, ignoring the others, his eyes fixed on the bleeding kid by the Grant statue until he was right up on him, dropping into a half slide, like he was coming into second base, slamming into the wall with a grunt.The kid’s lips were slightly apart, dried out, the tongue pulled back in the mouth. Sweat drenched his forehead, dampened his hair, dropped from his chin. He had pissed himself, given the aroma, but Sully accorded him the dignity of not looking. “Hey, hey now,” Sully whispered, forcing his voice to be heard over the alarm. “You good? You hear me okay?”This was greeted with a blink and the bobbing of the kid’s Adam’s apple.“Where,” he said, a little louder, “where did they go?”The kid looked at him, his blink-blink brown eyes looking like a puppy’s on the front porch. Sully put his age at twenty or twenty-one. The kid licked his sweating upper lip and looked at Sully like he was an escaped zoo exhibit. At least he had stopped screaming.“You hear? The words coming out of my mouth, you hear that?”The kid blinked and licked his lips again and nodded.“Okay. Kinda crazy weird, hey, you know?” Sully smiled and ran a hand through his hair, letting the kid know it was a long day, okay to be tired, okay to be a little freaked. The kid was so deeply in shock that if Sully bounced a basketball off his head, all he would do is nod.“Can you tell me your name? Try it out.”The kid shook his head, no. Now he was staring at the scars on Sully’s face, fixated.“That’s cool. That’s cool. For real. But hey, you’re going home now, you know that? You’ll be home before dark. Okay? Okay? Home before dark. We’re going to get you on your feet and outside.”The kid was nodding, exhaling a little, his body still clenched tight. Enough flashed through Sully’s mind. Soldiers were younger than this. Guys with guns who would shoot you at a hundred and fifty meters and then come over and pop another in your brain, they were younger than this.“But, seriously, how many, man? I got to know, you see that? How many men with guns we talking about today?”The kid held up one finger.“One. What he look like, this guy?”“He had a gun.” The voice, tremulous, halting, but it was there. “Right. Tall, short, white, black, wearing what?”“The gun.”“Okay. Okay. That’s good. We can deal with one gun, right? Now. What I want you to do, you’re going to head down this hall right behind us, okay? You’ll see some stairs? You go down them, you see a long hallway, you get outside. Tell the police that the first floor is, like, clear, and what we’re probably talking about is the second floor, House wing.”The kid nodded and did not move.“Guy, gun, House, wing,” Sully said.The boy had on a purple tie. It was still knotted. He was hit high on the right shoulder. It probably burned like hell but the rest of everything around it should be going numb. It wasn’t serious. Still, without a foot up his ass, the kid might sit there until the next term was over, still saying “gun.”Sully leaned over and took off the kid’s shoes, one by one, slip-ons with little tassels—the fuck was that even about. The kid looked at him and Sully said, “So you don’t make any noise running, okay?”Then Sully stood in front of him and bent into a crouch and lifted him from under the armpits until he, too, was standing.“Time to go home,” he said. “Go for the stairways. Back there. Quick like a bunny rabbit. Now.” Sully pushed him, gently, and then harder. The kid stood there, immobile.“Run, goddammit,” he said, finally, shoving, and the kid staggered away, stiff-legged and straight upright, knees barely bending, one palm clapped on the bullet wound. But he was moving, out of the Rotunda and down the steps, silent as a cat on the kitchen counter, leaving Sully behind.

Editorial Reviews

“Fast-paced . . . Enthralling . . . Mesmerizingly sinister . . . Dazzling.”—The Washington Post“Unsurprisingly, Tucker’s depiction of how a crack investigative reporter works is spot-on, and the story he tells is fast-moving and suspenseful with an explosively violent conclusion. But the best thing about this novel is Tucker’s pitch-perfect dialogue and vivid prose that immerses the reader inside the action.”—Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press“Tucker’s Sully Carter novels have quickly sneaked up on me as one of my favorite new series. . . . Strong, tight writing, a good sense of story and a main character who fights the good fight in journalism and in life. . . . Here Carter’s on the case of a deadly shooting at Capitol Hill -- the kind of occurrence that seems all too possible now -- that transforms into a larger look at mental institutions in a way that is both authentic to the plot and to its greater theme.”—Sarah Weinman, “The Crime Lady”“Sully Carter -- tough, sardonic, and yet compassionate -- is a marvelous creation, and Neely Tucker is a superb writer.”—Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness for Readers“[An] astoundingly well-written thriller. . . . As a lead character in the series that includes the critically acclaimed The Ways of the Dead and Murder, D.C., Sully is everything you want in a journalist and crime investigator. . . . Scenes that echo the creepiest moments of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island.”—New York Journal of Books“Tucker raises the stakes and ramps up the darkness in this series and makes you wonder, and even worry a little about, what’s coming next.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“We can hear Faulkner . . .  in stretches of Tucker’s rhythmic, acoustic prose and in the underlying message within this powerful thriller: ignore the pleas of the powerless, and awful things happen.”—Booklist“Provocative. . . . Tucker realistically depicts the newspaper industry in this terrifying thriller.” —Publishers Weekly“A book yearning to be a movie, with plenty of clever jabbering, smart wisecracks and newsroom jargon between action scenes. . . . A worthy end-of-summer distraction from the heat and summer storms.”—Wicked Local Gloucester“Long live Sully Carter, reporter, detective and all around shrewd guy. Another of Neely Tucker's brilliant tight thrillers, Only the Hunted Run finds Sully, having survived a capitol building massacre, looking into the shooter's history and motivations. The trail goes into the past and the future and Sully's the only one who can stope further carnage. Great fun!” —New York Times bestselling author Stephen HunterPraise for the Sully Carter series “The test of a crime series is its main character, and Sully is someone we’ll want to read about again and again.” —Lisa Scottoline, The Washington Post   “Tucker at his best recalls the work of Richard Price. . . . Terrific summer reading. With his second success, Tucker has proven that his series is one to follow.” —The Miami Herald   “[An] invigorating series . . . The traits that will make this (one hopes) a long and strong series are evident in both books: the realistic dialogue, the vivid characters, and the portrayal of our nation’s capital as a city with many facets other than the one tourists see.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer   Praise for Murder, D.C. “[Tucker] puts forth a darkly comedic vision of race and justice (or lack thereof) over generations of American history. There’s no more satisfying sight than a writer who knows exactly what he’s doing—and only gets better at what he does.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)