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Book Review – The Hunter by John Lescroart

Synopsis:  Raised by loving adoptive parents, San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt never had an interest in finding his birth family-until he gets a chilling text message from an unknown number: “How did ur mother die?”

The answer is murder, and urged on by curiosity and the mysterious texter, Hunt takes on a case he never knew existed, one that has lain unsolved for decades. His family’s dark past unfurls in dead ends. Child Protective Services, who suspected but could never prove that Hunt was being neglected, is uninformed; his birth father, twice tried but never convicted of the murder, is in hiding; Evie, his mother’s drug-addicted religious fanatic of a friend, is untraceable. And who is the texter, and how are they connected to Hunt?

Yet in the present, time is running out. The texter, who insists the killer is out there, refuses to be identified. The cat-and-mouse game leads Hunt across the country and eventually to places far more exotic-and far more dangerous. As the chase escalates, so does the threat, for the killer has a secret that can only be trusted to the grave. Thriller master John Lescroart weaves a shocking, suspenseful tale about the skeletons inside family closets . . . and the mortal danger outside the front door.

First LineThey were having the special, wings and tuna wontons, in a window booth at Lou the Greek’s, two guys in their early forties, talking over the lunchtime noise.

Random QuoteJuhle and Sarah, on folding chairs in front of Glitsky’s death, exchanged a look and Juhle, nodding, got up and walked a few steps over to the door, which he closed.  When he got back to his seat, he cleared his throat and then he came forward and spoke up in a new whisper, “Abe, what if this has got something to do with cops?”

Review:   A lot of people weren’t pleased when John Lescroart started writing a series about Wyatt Hunt, a San Francisco private investigator.  After all, his Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitzsky books are so imminently satisfying who else could we want to know about?

I like Wyatt Hunt.  I like the interconnections between the characters in both series.  I like the acknowledgement that Dismas and Abe are aging, their lives are changing and settling down, and it might be time to tell some new stories.  Since this is one of my all-time favorite series, I was happy to see that rather than letting the series wander off into insignificance and no fun, Lescroart expanded his world a bit, reached out into other characters with other stories.  This keeps all of the characters and their stories fresh and prevents Lescroart of going the way of so many series writers who run out of ideas and turn their characters into caricatures (once again, Patricia Cornwell, I’m looking at you).

The People’s Temple – San Francisco (image source)

The Hunter is the third book in the Wyatt Hunt series and Mr. Lescroart is hitting his stride with these characters.  He’s always been one of the most talented of the writers of crime fiction combined with courtroom drama and has always been one of my personal favorite writers so I tend to like everything he writes, but can also acknowledge ups and downs.  The Hunter is one of the best books he’s written lately.  Great characters, complicated and interesting plot that weaves together the protagonist’s attempt to understand what happened to his mother and some 35-40 years of other interconnected murders.  Once he throws Jonestown into the mix he’s off to the races with you right along with him.

San Francisco (image source)

I recently read A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres.  Ms. Scheeres got access to all of the newly released documents on Jonestown and wrote a book that fundamentally changed my thinking about not just Jonestown, but about other similar gatherings of people of different kinds of faith.  She elevated her subjects from the dregs of gullible ignorance to real breathing people with fundamental values and beliefs and hopes to make a better world.  It was pretty breathtaking.  It also gave me a look into how much The People’s Temple was woven into the world of San Francisco and its politics during the brief part of the seventies before the trips to Guyana became permanent and the end became a forgone conclusion.  Lescroart’s inclusion of this bit of San Francisco history interlaced with the more expected crime fiction makes this book.  As always Lescroart’s San Francisco is real, palpable, and set within its rich historic context.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly to fans of crime fiction.  Read this.  You won’t be disappointed.

Publishing InformationDutton Adult – January 3, 2012

Format:  Kindle book

FTC Disclosure:  E-galley received from publisher for review


Reading Challenges:  Eclectic Reading Challenge 2012, Mount TBR Challenge, Mystery and Suspense Challenge

Published inBooks

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