The Hunter
March 13, 2024

Book Review

The Hunter

reviewed by Carolyn Scott


Retired Chicago detective, Cal Hooper has left the hustle and bustle of big city life and a broken marriage behind him and made a new life for himself in a quiet rural village of Ardnakelty in Ireland.

He loves the peace, the rugged beauty of the mountains and countryside and the people; reserved but loyal once they get to know you. A good carpenter, Cal has set about restoring his dilapidated cottage, establishing a vegetable garden and making and fixing furniture for the community. He’s also been seeing Lena, a local widow, who lives near him and has made a friend in his neighbor, Mart, who always has his hand on the village pulse.

When Cal first met Theresa Reddy, (aka Trey), two years ago she asked him for his help to find her missing brother Brendan. At the time, with her father absent and mother busy with a clutch of younger children, Trey was somewhat wild and fearful of strangers and skittish as a wild animal, but as she got to know Cal and come to trust them, they developed a strong bond and he has since been teaching her how to restore and make new furniture.

Now, at fifteen Trey is much sought after by the community for her skill and is developing into a typical teenager. That is until her father, feckless Johnny Reddy returns after four years in London, bringing an Englishman and his get rich quick schemes along with him. He attempts to charm everyone with his friendly and easy-going ways but Cal is suspicious. He can’t help getting hooked into finding out what Johnny is really up to if he is to protect Trey, while she is bent on planning revenge for those involved in her brother’s disappearance, even her actions may end up hurting those she loves the most. 

As with French’s previous book, ‘The Searcher’ which introduced us to these wonderful characters, don’t expect a fast-paced thriller, but rather a slow build full of interesting characters and relationship dynamics. The writing is gorgeous, richly evocative of the Irish landscape and perfectly capturing the authentic local characters, with their innate charm and humour. The summer is an unusually hot one with everyone and everything is baking; there’s no iconic Irish mist and gentle rain to be seen here. As the heat and suspense ramps up, the atmosphere becomes dark and charged, building up until it erupts. Compelling and totally riveting, this could be read as a stand-alone, but you’d be missing out on a lot of the character and story development in the first novel, the ‘The Searcher’ (as well as missing out on another captivating read).

With many thanks to Penguin via Netgalley for a copy to read.


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