Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Hunter by John Lescroart

The Hunter. John Lescroart. Penguin Group (USA). January 2012. 400 pages. ISBN #: 9780525952565.

Wyatt Hunt is a private investigator who suddenly receives an enigmatic text: "How did your mother die?" Up to now, Wyatt knows he was adopted but has no idea who his parents were, let alone that his mother died by some mysterious event. So begins a journey of discovery, anxiety and trauma beyond one's wildest imaginations, with connections to the infamous Jim Jones, the cultist leader responsible for the deaths of thousands back in the late 20th century.

Wyatt has a bunch of great people working for him, all of whom want to be part of figuring out how Wyatt's mother died, a hunt that will turn even more desperate after one of their own group is murdered while investigating what at first seems a very vague clue. In the process, Wyatt will be seeking who is the unrevealed texter and wanting to know why someone higher up in the Police Department has ordered him to stop fishing around in police business, even though this case has been cold for forty years.

What's Wyatt to do about a letter supposedly written by his real father, a message which declares his own innocence in the demise of his wife? Little by little, the people Wyatt and his staff are interviewing remember a little more and a little more, just enough each time to make the story even more complex and more traumatic for Wyatt. One of the hallmarks of this novel is the authenticity by which Wyatt, normally a very together, orderly guy, suffers increasing mental, emotional, and physical distress and illness. However, a relationship with a significant other improves, even through the test of dire stress to which Wyatt succumbs at one point in the story. A lifetime of coping with the unknown surfaces with horrific effects that it seems may or may not be healed with a solution to the multiple questions reached at many near dead-end points.

The Hunter is a taut, thrilling, complex and fascinating mystery about origins, cold case crime, and relationships gone awry because of hidden motives and secrets! Well done, John Lescroart!

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