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Mary’s Pick of the Week: The Hunter (Cal Hooper #2) by Tana French

The Hunter: A Novel: French, Tana: 9780593493434: Books




Irish writer, Tana French is best known for her excellent Dublin Murder Squad books.  Unlike that series, her books featuring retired Chicago cop, Cal Hooper, really have to be read in order.


As a follow up to The Searcher (Cal Hooper #1), teenager Trey continues to wrestle with the secrets kept in a small Irish village: are they maintained to keep the peace or protect the guilty? 

Her charming and shiftless father comes back to Ardnakelty, bringing along a wealthy Englishman interested in finding his Irish roots.  The town is abuzz with possibilities and soon many are looking to cash in on this opportunity.


Even French’s secondary characters are mainly well-drawn and nuanced.  Lena, Cal’s romantic interest, ponders what to do about young Trey’s involvement in illegal activities: “She’s got too old.  The risks she takes now are middle-aged risks, carefully gauged to gain the best results with the least damage”.  But where French truly excels in creating complicated bad guys; things are rarely black and white in her universe and that gray area is where the magic happens.  Take for instance Mart Lanvin. In both books his behavior is cagey, but every appearance he makes propels the story along or gives valuable insight into the actions of other characters.


Midway through the book, the pace does get bogged down as French gives readers insight to the complications of small-town life; weighted conversations and subtle digs occur and get a bit repetitive.  Atmospheric, gritty and emotionally weighted, French’s mysteries pack a gut-punch beyond a simple whodunit.  Her books are an investment; asking readers to care equally about the characters and the place.

Categories: Books and More

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