“Community is when you never let go of each other. Not even after you’re gone,” (Felker-Martin 256).
Beth and Fran are manhunters. Living in a post-apocalyptic world, they hunt feral men who were exposed to the T. Rex virus and harvest their organs to maintain their estrogen levels so they don’t meet the same fate. Robbie is alone, having been hurt and burned too many times before, he prefers his isolation until a horrifying attack brings the three together. More struggles await them though, including an army of TERF’s, a sociopathic bunker brat, packs of feral men, and their own pasts, but this found family may have just what it takes to survive.
Holy hell, this book is amazing! As excited as I was to read Manhunt I got a bit nervous when I found out that it was super gory. I love horror but I’ve never been into gore, so colour me surprised with how into this book I got! It was just as gory as I feared, but Felker-Martin’s writing is just so damn good that I powered through it, mesmerized by the descriptions of lacerations and bulbous growths, plus an absolutely stomach-churning vivisection. Felker-Martin is an expert writer, creating a vividly bleak and sickening landscape, planting it so firmly in your mind that you can’t turn away from it.
I was surprised however by the amount of sex in this book. I’m not against it at all, only that when I hear about a horror book and learn that it’s gory, I’m definitely not expecting sexy times, especially with how many there are in this book. I think if you’re looking for a gif that would describe this aspect of the book, it would be this:
And oh these characters, so fleshed-out, so wonderful. Well, maybe not all of them were wonderful, but they were developed. I loved the complexities of Beth, Fran, and Robbie, how varied they all were from each other and the different experiences they had that lead to them realizing they were trans. I loved the community and family they formed with one another, how distinct and individual each of their voices were. I loved Indi and reading about her struggles with her body as an obese woman and how much she cared for her friends and what she was willing to do for them. There are a lot of themes of body dysphoria, anger, pain, and yearning to be accepted were explored throughout the book and it was very interesting to see the variety of ways they were explored through each character.
It was very interesting to read from Ramona’s perspective, a higher up in the TERF army, cisgender and causing so much harm while also repressing some inner urges. Ramona is definitely not a character you could like, but I’m amazed that Felker-Martin was able to make her so complex and complicated while also making sure we acknowledge that she is not a good character. It’s just shows Felker-Martin’s great talent as a writer to be able to juggle such a complex cast of characters so expertly.
It is unavoidable with a book like this that TERF’s have found it, leaving uneducated, cruel, and disgusting reviews as they feel personally attacked by the depictions of some characters in the book. It’s a shame considering a huge part of Manhunt critiques white feminism that these review bombers so completely misunderstood Felker-Martin’s book, or more accurately never bothered giving it a chance. So to put it simply: Manhunt is not misogynistic, and it is not against women.
Equal parts horny and horrifying, Manhunt is a masterful post-apocalyptical horror that I think queer and trans reader’s will devour and cis reader’s can learn from. I’m curious to see what Felker-Martin will write next!
Publication: February 22 2022
Pages: 304 pages (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Splatterpunk, Gore, LGTBQ*, Trans, Adult
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate.
Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe.
After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics―all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.