One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt

One Fatal Mistake

Tom Hunt

After Joshua tells his mother about taking a man's life in a horrible accident, she is forced to make a choice, one that draws them both into a web of deceit that will change their lives forever–if they make it out alive….

Access the hottest new Penguin Random House books months before they hit the shelves.

Sign In or Join Today


Sign me up to receive news about Tom Hunt.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

The author of Killer Choice, a thriller "full of shocks and twists you won't see coming" (Lee Child), delivers a nail-biting novel about a hit and run, and a lie that goes horribly wrong...

Her son accidentally kills a man.
They cover it up.
Then everything goes wrong.
When eighteen-year-old Joshua Mayo takes a man's life in a horrible accident, he leaves the scene without reporting the crime to the police. He hopes to put the awful night behind him and move on with his life. But, of course, he ends up telling his mother, Karen, what happened.
Karen has raised Joshua on her own in Cedar Rapids, Iowa--and she'd thought they'd finally made it. He was doing well in school and was only months from starting college. After hearing his dark confession, she is forced to make a choice no parent should have to make, one that draws them both into a web of deceit that will change their lives forever--if they make it out alive.... 

Advance Galley Reviews

I was very intrigued by the synopsis of this book and even more intrigued when I found out some of it involves Nebraska! (Which is where I live!) This book was so enrapturing with all the action going on! It was a pretty quick read also. This was a really good story but I must admit I was a little let down at the end. It seemed so action packed and then the end was kind of blah. I would still recommend it though!

There are so many offerings in this genre at present, and it would be nice to be able to write a review that calls this one superlative in some way. Characters are adequately developed, plot is decent, the writing is fine. But nothing stood out. About the best thing to be said—it’s average. Unfortunately, that’s also the worst thing to be said. I enjoyed reading it at the time, but I suspect it will be hard to remember anything about it in 2 weeks!

This novel is a forensic file like tale. A rather quick read, which will have the crime/thriller reader turning pages to reveal all the twist turns and intersections. The lack of deep detail creates an atmosphere more of a suspenseful TV show or quick read than a novel, while still giving some thoughtful background into the key characters. (After reading many novels where I have to sit through a 5-page manifesto on why someone likes peanut butter and jelly on white bread, this is a welcome change of pace, but I digress) While the book may not be for everybody. It doesn't make a grand statement, and perhaps the story is a bit underdeveloped in places, it doesn't really have to do any of those things, it just has to be fun to read and it is. It's a solid read that I found myself enjoying and wanting to finish from the moment I started. 3.75 / 5 Overall this a great quick read. I believe very few would call this a bad novel, however, those who don't prefer thrillers or crime dramas may just find it to be okay. The plot might not knock your socks off, you may be even able to predict parts of it, it may not be all believable to you (who wants that in a story anyway), but what is here is really good. Although not an all-time great, a very solid novel. Reviewed as part of Penguin's First-to-Read program. (E-ARC)

This book was not what I was expecting, and I mean that in a good way. I feared that it was going to be one of those hand-wringers in which the parents are filled with angst over their child's problem, leading to fraught family relationships. However, this book turned out to be a fast moving thriller, with unexpected twists, that I finished in a day. The book begins with 18 year old Joshua Mayo trying to dispose of bloody evidence linking him to a hit and run fatality. It appears that he was not alone at the scene of the crime, because he keeps getting texts from an unnamed accomplice. Joshua's mother Karen is an intensive care nurse who has no idea that her son was involved in an accident. Her nursing training becomes relevant later on. In chapter two we are introduced to a trio of inexperienced, undisciplined and pill-popping bank robbers. Once these two groups of people come into contact, mayhem ensues. There's no way I was going to stop reading until I found out what happened. The pacing was crisp, the characters were relatable and the plot, including the ending, was plausible. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Though this story revolves around a teenager and his parents decision to hide a crime/self-defense decision, the real story for me is about the accidental meeting with a Bonnie and Clyde-type couple and an even more malicious older brother. This is a fast read mostly because it was underdeveloped but the basic premise was there.

Tom Hunt has authored a mystifying thriller where the paths of two different crimes intersect. It is mystifying to me because I cannot believe these people would behave so stupidly. The first crime involves Joshua, a teenager who makes a stupid mistake under the guidance of his father. The second crime occurs when a young couple makes numerous mistakes after participating in a bank robbery. The action in this novel in nonstop, making a constantly suspenseful story. The characters are perfectly etched as moronic people. For those who are squeamish, this novel contains a lot of violence.

I really enjoyed this book. It's amazing how one action can just snowball into such a mess. The narrative was fast-paced and kept my eyes glued. Tom Hunt did a superb job of storytelling.

One Fatal Mistake is a fast-paced action-packed crime thriller. In typical crime fiction fashion, one bad deed deserves another and before you know it the characters are all headed down that highway of no return. What could go wrong with a little bank robbery? What could go wrong with a little jaunt through the wilderness? Coverups and backstabbers and hostagetakers. Read this one for kicks.

I received an early copy of this through Penguin First To Read. This was a fast read. One fatal mistake made by a young man, lands his family in a very dangerous situation. How far will his mother go to protect him? This was a good book but was a bit predictable.

All in all it was fine. A couple of random plot twists. The dialogue was weak, thin, and underdeveloped. Conversation weren’t genuine and character development thin. An ok quick read.

I received an e-ARC from Penguin's First-to-Read giveaway program in exchange for an honest review. The book is an easy and quick read. You won’t want to put it down. You won’t want to put it down because you are sure that the next twist is going to bring THE unanticipated, amazing twist you have been waiting for. I’m still waiting. It completely lacks a surprise element. It also asks you to go along with some character actions that are just over the line. That said, it does have some good twists and turns and is entertaining. And you’ll keep reading because surely what you are looking for is here.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It was not a bad read, but it was not as thrilling or suspenseful as it was made out to be. There's not much I can say that others haven't like about the error, or zip ties, or the ending feeling flat. So I'd give it 2.5/5

Thanks for Penguin First to Read for the ARC! This was a fast-paced book with many twists and turns that left you guessing how it was all going to end. There is more to the story than just a cover-up of an accident including bank robberies and hostage situations. This is more of an action book than thriller. I enjoyed it and would recommend to others.

One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt The crux of this story is how decisions change the trajectory of people's lives. Sometimes decisions are made hastily; people do their best. In other instances, there is time to weigh options. However, once a decision is made, there are consequences, as the reader discovers in this book. Something terrible happens and in the heat of the moment, a decision is made that seems like a good idea to protect 18-year-old Joshua and his future. Elsewhere, Amber and Ross make their own decision to save themselves and their future. These unrelated choices will eventually collide with Joshua and his parents. This plot and subplot, keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and takes them on a wild ride - so hang on. The characters are well developed. I despised some and sympathized with others. I was totally invested in the characters, their decisions, and the consequences. This book has it all; family drama, crime, shootouts, medical drama, kidnapping, car chases, and a love story, and it all works for a five-star read. The only negative I could uncover is that if you plan to read this book, set aside some free time because you will not want to stop. Denice S. DeAntonio

Covering up an accident has unthinkable consequences in Tom Hunt's One Fatal Mistake.  Eighteen year old Joshua has been working hard to get into Clemson with the encouragement and help of his hardworking mother Karen. When driving home one night, Joshua accidentally kills a man on a secluded portion of road and is convinced to keep it secret from everyone, including his mother. Noticing Joshua's behavior has suddenly changed, Karen wonders what's worrying her son - anxiety about college or perhaps his recent break-up. When her concern drives her to track his phone she catches him at the scene of the unreported crime trying to locate a piece of evidence that would incriminate him, both their lives take an unexpected turn as they become the hostages of two bank robbers attempting to evade capture.  A quickly-paced story, the events unfold rapidly through a series of poor decisions from all parties compounding into the resulting messy situation. Though it was realistic to depict each of the characters with their prominent flaws, the level of suspension of disbelief required to keep this narrative believable was difficult to maintain. The writing mostly kept me engaged, but primarily to see how events would unfold and not because I was invested in any of the characters, who could have benefited from further development to make them more complex and relatable.  Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

I was immediate enraptured in this book and read this from beginning to end in less than a day. I could really relate to what the characters through the book were feeling and liked that there were separate storylines that coincide to form the entire event that occurs, Each character has to make choices that will affect all of the other characters and will draw the plot forward. I will definitely be recommending this book to others and want to look into other books by this author.

A brilliantly exciting thriller of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation that necessitates making tough choices that will affect their lives forever. I really enjoyed it from cover to cover and warmly recommend it to fans of e.g. Harlan Coben and Joseph Finder.

This a quick read about one big mistake that snowballs into a dangerous disaster that results in the family being held hostage. I loved that the characters were human with a variety of flaws and that even though they had good qualities, it wasn't always easy to do what might be perceived as the right thing. I also like how the villains were humanized too. There were a few moments though were I questioned the believability of things. Like the plentiful zip ties. But it didn't ruin the story for me. There was one mistake at the very end of the story ***spoiler***when they say that Amber died in Karen's bed, which didn't happen. I received an e-ARC from Penguin's First-to-Read giveaway program in exchange for an honest review.

A pretty easy, fast might describe it as a 'beach read of the thriller/action genre'? The story revolves around a family that, through some bad decisions, gets caught in a hostage situation in central IA. I didn't think the characters were very deeply drawn, but the story/action moved right along at a quick pace with some kind of surprising twists/ that keeps the reader in it. It kept me entertained without too much investment! (I did wonder what kitchen has that many, or any, zip ties?!) I read in the author bio that he is originally from IA....thus his apt description of the layout of the Cedar Rapids IA area. I'd read from this author again! I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read giveaway program, in return for reading it & offering my own fair & honest review.

I made it about a third of the way through and gave up. I was bored and not interested in these characters.

Thank you First to Read for the opportunity to preview One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt. I read Hunt's first book, Killer Choice and enjoyed it. His second novel is better and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride. A young man finds himself in a predicament - he accidentally killed someone and he is worried about getting caught. He is distraught - he texts "someone" who also knows about the killing and was there too (but the reader doesn't know who that is initially). He burns his clothes and realizes that he has lost a glove. He decides to go back to the scene of the crime and find his glove in the middle of the night. His mom, who has noticed he is distracted but doesn't know what is going on, discovers he has left the house. She uses her Iphone to find out where he is and discovers he is in a wildlife conservatory. What is he doing there she thinks, but decides to find out because she is worried. She finds her son there and he tells her about the accident - what do they do. Then they see a flashlight, two figures, and all hell breaks loose! Fast paced and engaging. Some mistakes in the writing, and a bit of a let down with the ending. I like books that put an "everyday person" in a out of body experience so to speak and see what he/she will do. This is one of them - not up to Coben or Barclay - but a good attempt and worth reading. Recommend.

2/5 stars: I've been meaning to get more into thrillers, mystery books, crime stories, spooky reads, etc; and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. I was wrong. This book was simply not for me but I'm not sure if it was the book's fault or mine. I went into this book thinking it would be a mystery thriller and it turned out to be an action-packed book about a hostage situation. I would have been fine with that, maybe, if I had known from the beginning but I didn't and if that's what you're searching for (which, let me just say, the synopsis is a little misleading) I'd advice you to pick another book. As it was, the story in itself wasn't that compelling to me. The characters felt so flat even though the story had potential for them to feel complex, especially Karen, who I would say is the main character of this book. The characters have to make tough decisions and they are constantly faced with turmoil but their actions feel over-simplified and simply ludicrous. Karen is supposed to be struggling and she's going through some morally-gray times but I just didn't feel any kind of connection to her whatsoever, and same thing happened with Amber. I will say, though, that the pace of the story was good and just fast enough to never get boring, and it made me want to keep reading just to see what the end for every character would be. But again, the end felt dissatisfying to me. Maybe this is just not a type of book I can like and that's not one's fault but overall I can't say I enjoyed this read very much.

Fast read, where you are weighing the actions and consequences of the main characters, Joshua, his mom, Karen and dad Teddy after being involved in a fatal accident and their decisions domino into more peril. Fast-paced and action- filled. Enjoyed and puts you on the spot; how far would you go for a loved one. Recommend.

Loved this story. It grabbed me from page one and didn't let up until the end. Easy to read and fascinating story. Made me think "What would I do" if this happened to my family. This thriller doesn't let up in the twists and turns that happen and definitely keeps your attention all the way to the end. Only problem is on the last page where it states someone died in the bedroom but that person did not die so hopefully that will be corrected in final edit of book before it is published. Otherwise, great story.

Wow, couldn’t put it down. Hunt’s novel is a fast-moving, plausible tale of the downward spiral of lies and violence. The story weaves together the lives of drug-fueled bank robbers and innocent, upstanding people intent upon protecting their own. The twists and turns neatly outline the disintegrating chaos of desperate souls caught in a web of deceit and fear. Each character seems quite believable, and draws you in so that you can’t wait to see how things turn out for them. An added treat for me was that it was set mainly in my hometown, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the sites were recognizable. I applaud Hunt for crafting an incredible ride through painful decisions and split-second thinking, and I look forward to more from him.

WOW! As a parent, I kept asking myself, “What would I do?” over and over. Would I make the same decisions as theses parents? Would I be willing to live with the consequences of those decisions? This fast paced thriller hooked me from beginning to end. The character were relatable. I actually didn’t want it to really wanted to follow them for just a little bit longer!

This was a good book. The flow of it was good and made it hard to put down. It's incredible what a parent will do for their child. The end was anti climatic and a discrepancy was on the last page. I won't put it here to give it away, but it said someone died that pages back hadn't. Overall a good read. The ending just could have been better. Thanks First to Read for my advance copy!


More to Explore

  • Killer Choice

Copy the following link