March 2024

The Hunter

By Tana French
Tana French’s immersive, thought-provoking The Hunter revels in the quiet moments, but knows true peace is elusive.
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Careful listening and watchful waiting are essential to every investigator’s toolkit, and the characters in award-winning Dublin Murder Squad author Tana French’s suspenseful, slow-burning thriller The Hunter elevate those skills to an art form—not just former Chicago detective Cal Hooper but also his neighbors in Ardnakelty, a tiny village on Ireland’s west coast.

Since readers met Cal in 2020’s The Searcher, he and 15-year-old villager Trey Reddy have established a close rapport and started a carpentry business. Cal is also dating Lena, who’s conflicted about remaining in her hometown: Ardnakelty is lovely, but the shadow of the mountain often feels foreboding, and its residents revel in gossip and grudges. 

The village can be a bit of a pressure cooker, and is especially so this summer: It’s exceptionally hot and dry, and the locals are edgy about the prospect of crop failure and financial hardship. The farmers are getting bored, and as Cal’s amusingly insouciant yet vaguely menacing neighbor Mart tells him, “Boredom makes a man’s mind restless, and then he tries to cure the restlessness by doing foolish shite.”

That’s when Trey’s father, Johnny, reappears after four years away doing who-knows-what. He’s quite charming, wholly unreliable and has a proposition for the farmers: There’s gold in the mountain, and some has washed down to the land—perhaps their land. Would they like to invest in a plan to extract that gold, as led by Johnny and his business partner, a Londoner named Cillian Rushborough? The farmers are intrigued, while Cal, Lena and Trey are skeptical. Their trepidation intensifies as the planning process stirs up hostility among the townspeople, and rises to a fever pitch when a man is found murdered. Who among them did it? And who might be next? 

The Hunter’s finely crafted internal monologues and nerve-wracking dialogues ably convey the unique tensions of living in a remote small town, especially when one is uncertain which neighbor (or neighbors) might’ve committed a crime. It’s an immersive, thought-provoking tale that revels in the quiet moments—whether that of conversational gaps more revealing than spoken words, or a place of natural beauty that offers respite but never promises peace.

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The Hunter

The Hunter

By Tana French
ISBN 9780593493434

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