Book Title: The Red Hunter
Author: Lisa Unger
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Thriller, Psychological Suspense, Mystery, Crime Fiction
Date Read: 04/16/17
Pub Date: 04/25/17
Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house—one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.
For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past—and within.
Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.
This is a read that I wanted to devour in one sitting, but I decided to savor instead. That decision may have been partially influenced by the fact that my parents flew in for their first visit to our new place and I had to soak up every second before they left again. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I didn’t just blow through The Red Hunter; while it had all the right elements of a time stealer, there are so many fine details I would have missed if I hadn’t taken my time getting to the end. If you’re like me, then Lisa Unger is an all time favorite writer and her books are always at the top of your TBR list. My absolute favorites are the ones featured in The Hollows, because you get to delve deeper with re-occuring characters, but I’m a fan of everything the woman has written. She’s a one-click author for many readers, myself included, and after finishing her latest work I can assure you that won’t be changing anytime soon.
“When you seek revenge, dig two graves. One of them for yourself.”
I’ll admit, I was partially worried going into this one; it’s been a hot minute since I’ve read a stand alone of Unger’s and I really love my Hollow peeps. I’m attached to that crew and heavily invested in their well being; what if I don’t have enough space in my heart to accept new characters to love and cherish? I need not have feared; I won’t doubt The Unger again. She’s a pro and she carried out this novel with her signature flare that no other writer seems to hold a candle in comparison to. The complex plot, the quirky characters that appear to have breath and come alive off the page, the pacing that starts with a steady beat and grows into a full-fledged crescendo, it was all there folks. There’s something so special when you find an author who can write an intriguing, suspenseful mystery without sacrificing some quality in their characterization.
The Red Hunter was a nice sub-genre mash-up; while it had small elements of a mysterious whodunnit, that wasn’t the main focus of the plot. Do not misunderstand what I’m saying; there are plenty of twists and turns to make this a thrilling read, but the main attraction is the weaving together of, not only multiple points of view, but multiple timelines as well. There is something so appealing about a layered plot with seemingly unrelated tales that end up tangled together so tightly that I wonder how I missed it in the first place. There are pieces you’ll spot right away and others you won’t; what’s wonderful about this book is how none of that matters. It’s such a delicious character study which delves into some deep issues* that at times you almost forget you’re reading “just another thriller”.
Even though it’s still early 2017, I’m considering this as one of my favorite books for the year end wrap up on the blog. I was completely lost in the story, the writing was excellent, and finally a RED COVER! I seem to not receive many covers that are red so this is exciting stuff here. If you are the type of suspense lover who only has time to read a few books per year, make this one of them. Lisa Unger has always lived up to the hype and you won’t find a more consistent and experienced author in the industry. If you enjoy a book that gives you a variety of slow and steady suspense mixed with action packed, thrilling scenes, add The Red Hunter to your TBR list; this may be your first read by The Unger but it certainly won’t be your last.
* There is a rape scene included early on and it is discussed throughout the narrative. While the scene itself is brief, it is graphic, and may not be suitable for readers struggling with these specific triggers. The discussions throughout the book following the scene are not graphic and pertain to the victim’s feelings.
**Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing my early copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here on the blog.
Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling, award-winning author of fifteen novels, including THE RED HUNTER and INK AND BONE (2016 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist.) Her books are published in twenty-six languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies and have been named “Best of the Year” or top picks by The Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon.com, Independent Booksellers, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and The Sun Sentinel to name a few. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and Travel+Leisure Magazine. Lisa Unger lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.