- Jo McCready
The Setting of The Hunted
Setting is vitally important to the story in The Hunted. The wild Scottish countryside that felt so safe to me as a child felt like the perfect place to set a murder hunt; the sunny idyllic hills and glens contrasting with the danger that lay hidden there. This was not the desolate moors of Sherlock Holmes, or the unforgiving landscapes contained in Jane Harper novels.
This was the bright and romanticised version of my childhood camping trips, day excursions, and fishing expeditions.
The village of Ferlieclachan is a fictionalised place, as is the Buchanan Estate where the killing takes place. I doubt it is possible to have an estate as big as the fictional Buchanan Estate near the town of Oban. The picturesque town was the perfect anchor for the story though, steeped in history, and surrounded by countryside, there was no other place The Hunted belonged.
I have to make it clear, many of my camping holidays and day trips were miserable and rainy. But, there is nothing that sticks with me more than Scotland on a good day, tramping over hills and exploring the beautiful countryside. At the time I was writing the book, there was an unusual and long heat wave in Scotland. Perfect for my story, to add tension and a depth to the setting. There was no way I could write about the Scottish countryside without mentioning the dreaded midge. One thing I definitely don’t miss about living in Scotland!
With setting playing such a huge role in The Hunted, it made sense for me to also have it central to the story in the next book The Festival Killer. Without saying too much, the story would have been very different if it had been set elsewhere. The setting dictates the story in a way that no other character ever could.