I recently found myself in need of a new book series. There had been a few I had been regularly reading that had started to consistently let me down. While I love single book stories, there is something comforting about a good series. It is like going back to a friend each time and catching up on what happened to them since the last visit.
While perusing the shelves at my local library, I found a book by someone I had never heard of. Isn’t it fun discovering a new author? Or is that just me? Back to the point, the book called itself out as “A Robert Hunter Thriller”. Now I wasn’t born yesterday. I know this means it is a series. Just what I was looking for! Many of the series I had read in the past have been more along the science fiction, light mystery, or more typical fiction genres.
This one looks to be like Criminal Minds in book form, except without Penelope. Which really is a shame. It is categorized as fiction but really is a suspense book along the lines of Stephen King. Buyer beware in this case, this is not a light hearted read or some fluff novel you read poolside. The book can get a little gory, definitely brutal, and without a doubt has a strong theme that is tough to handle.
The book jacket describes the plot as “featuring a criminal behavior psychologist turned LAPD detective who must match wits with a brutal, clever, and elusive serial killer”. Which is completely true but I would like to add a few caveats of my own. The book is as much about figuring out the killer as it is about figuring out the main character, Robert Hunter. As the history and motivations of the killer are revealed so too are those of Robert (after 360 pages I would like to think we are on a first name basis). The matching wits part of this description is completely undersold, in my opinion. This isn’t an action packed race to the end. The book is a steady retelling of the past with teasing moments of panic and flurries of activity. The tension (of which there is a lot) does come from the mental battle between Robert and the killer (who I will not name to avoid spoilers).
One of the aspects of the book that really had a tremendous impact was the way the tone and pacing of writing shifted when the flashbacks were from the point of view of the killer. The main portions of the book are written from the side of the good guys as they investigate and react. These portions are decidedly different from one another further hammering home how the mind makes the man. These shifts back and forth further emphasis just how deranged and evil this killer truly is by giving you that side by side comparison. There is a hint of seeing how to roads diverged in a yellow wood and one man became good and another evil. This killer becomes bone-chillingly evil when you stop and realize, he could very well be real.
Overall I give this book two spoons up, I am holding off on saying way up till I have a change to read another one of these books. After all, sometimes there is one gem in an otherwise terrible series.
Love and I need a nightlight,