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Book Review – The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn

Synopsis:  The phone rings. It’s your daughter. She’s been dead for four months.

So begins East Texas police dispatcher Ian Hunt’s fight to get his daughter back. The call is cut off by the man who snatched her from her bedroom seven years ago, and a basic description of the kidnapper is all Ian has to go on. What follows is a bullet-strewn cross-country chase from Texas to California along Interstate 10- a wild ride in a 1965 Mustang that passes through the outlaw territory of No Country for Old Men and is shot through with moments of macabre violence that call to mind the novels of Thomas Harris.

First LineIan Hunt is less than an hour from the end of his shift when he gets the call from his dead daughter.

Random QuoteAnd Ian hasn’t been real police in over a decade, not since he took a bullet in the knee and Debbie talked him into moving them to Bulls Mouth, her hometown, where things would be quieter and calmer than in Los Angeles, where Maggie would be safe and they could live a peaceful life, where he would not have to worry about getting shot a second time.


There will almost certainly be nothing for Ian to do when he gets there.

But that doesn’t seem to matter.

Review:  I wanted to read The Dispatcher because the story sounded like it would be good and because I panned the author’s first book, Good Neighbors (yes, I know it won an award).  Most of my issues with Good Neighbors had to do with some authorial and metafictional choices, but were mostly rooted in the fact that he was writing about the Kitty Genovese murder and I think Harlan Ellison wrote the definitive fictional work on that in his short story, The Whimper of Whipped Dogs.  What I did know was that Mr. Jahn could write and I watched out for what he might write next.

Second books are hard – lots of people flub them badly.  Mr. Jahn, however, wrote a great second book.  He kept the cast of characters tight, the various stories and subplots woven together tightly, chose a great landscape with miles and miles of deserted highway, and he paced things just right.  In fact, he paced them as if you and he were riding together in the main character’s 1965 Mustang down those highways after the people who kidnapped your girl.

1965 Convertible Mustang (image source)

Mr. Jahn has a way with words and has proven that he can write a great story.  I had a really hard time putting this book down – I devoured it in a day (a work day, even).  I wasn’t very sociable with my co-workers on break and at lunch because I was too enraptured to stop reading this book.  It was a sort of a teenaged joyride of a book, complete with those bad moments that happen when you realize the car is stolen, you’re probably too drunk to be in it, and you’re definitely driving way too fast, but somehow you just can’t stop.  Excellent book – highly recommended for those who like a great thriller.

FTC Disclosure:   Copy received from publisher for the author’s virtual book tour

Publishing Information:  Penguin – December 27, 2011

Format:  Paperback


Reading Challenges:   Mount TBR Challenge, Mystery and Suspense Challenge

I am very happy to be a part of Mr. Jahn’s book tour through TLC Book Tours.

About Ryan David Jahn

Ryan David Jahn – photo credit: Noel Bass

Ryan David Jahn won the Crime Writers Association debut novel prize for Good Neighbors (Penguin,
2011). He left school at sixteen to work in a record store and
subsequently joined the army. Since 2004 he has worked in television and
film. He grew up in Arizona, Texas, and California and recently moved
from Los Angeles to Louisville, Kentucky, where he plans to set his next
For more info about Ryan and his work, please visit his website,

Ryan David Jahns TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, February 13th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Tuesday, February 14th:  Ted Lehmanns Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms
Thursday, February 16th:  A Bookworms World
Monday, February 20th:  Life in Review
Wednesday, February 22nd:  Reading on a Rainy Day
Wednesday, February 29th:  Dans Journal
Thursday, March 1st:  Wordsmithonia
Monday, March 5th:  Book Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Tuesday, March 6th:  Man of La Book
Wednesday, March 7th:  Unabridged Chick
Thursday, March 8th:  Crime Fiction Lover
Monday, March 12th:  Book Addict Katie
Tuesday, March 13th:  The House of Crime and Mystery
Wednesday, March 14th:  A Library of My Own
Thursday, March 15th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, March 19th:  Raging Bibliomania
Wednesday, March 21st:  Fiction Addict

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