Hunter: a book that comes with a trigger warning

Hunter by Jack Heath book review

 

What is this about?: Timothy Blake, FBI consultant and body disposal expert for a local crime lord, is back. He finds himself in the middle of a serial killer case, a case involving a predatory TA and navigating something new in his relationship with Thistle.

What else is this about?: Timothy finding himself responding to Reese, and then having everything blowing up in his face.

Blurb

Timothy Blake, ex-consultant for the FBI, now works in body-disposal for a local crime lord. One night he stumbles across a body he wasn’t supposed to find and is forced to hide it. When the FBI calls Blake in to investigate a missing university professor, Blake recognises him as the dead man in his freezer.

Then another man goes missing. And another.

There’s a serial killer in Houston, Texas, and Blake is running out of time to solve the case. His investigation takes him to a sex doll factory, a sprawling landfill in Louisiana and a secret cabin in the woods.

As they hunt the killer together, FBI agent Reese Thistle starts to warm to Blake – but she also gets closer and closer to discovering his terrible secret.

Can Blake uncover the killer, without being exposed himself?

A confounding, intriguing and wildly suspenseful thriller from the bestselling and acclaimed author of Hangman.

I was surprised to say the least to find a warning for suicide and sexual violence in the About the author page in Hunter — it’s the first time I’ve noticed this in a book, and I couldn’t remember if the first one had one as well when I reviewed it. (Note spoilers at that link)

Timothy Blake, body disposal expert 

Timothy is the go-to guy for Warner, a local crime boss who makes good use of his particular skill for disposing of bodies. However, she doesn’t take too kindly to Timothy helping Thistle — AKA the FBI — again.

Timothy isn’t much liking it either because he’s called in to consult on a case of a missing math professor — whose body he has in his freezer after stumbling over it while waiting for Warner’s minions to deliver another body to him.

Things get very complicated very fast for Timothy in this instalment.

Soon enough, he and Thistle are investigating the professor’s life, and he begins to realise he’s going to have to speed up this case, while avoiding getting caught because Warner doesn’t much like that he’s helping Thistle. 

However, he investigating the professor’s life brings him into contact with a predatory and disturbed TA who finds a campus ideal for his own needs, and a serial killer when more bodies turn up.

The warnings on this book are to be heeded.

I’m not entirely sure how to review this, I must admit. The case has all the elements of a suspenseful and compelling story, and it truly is, but I can’t forget — and the book doesn’t let me — Timothy is a cannibal. He has body parts in his freezer, and when he’s hungry, that hunger isn’t anything you would relate to.

However, he’s also an astute investigator and observer of human nature, helping the professor’s daughter in different and unexpected ways too. His relationship with Thistle grows, even as he knows that it is something that can go nowhere. He has the capacity to relate to her, to respond to her — and yet he is still a cannibal. I am curious to see what happens in the next one given the ending between him and Reese here.

Hunter is utterly compelling and yet I am confused about how to feel towards Timothy. I don’t know guys — has any book ever made you so torn like this? 

5 Comments

  • Huh. A main character who’s a cannibal. That’s unexpected. I’m surprised that wasn’t included in the trigger warning! It certainly does sound like it makes a compelling character though, one who prob makes most people unsure how to feel. I’ve felt torn about characters before too because they were compelling but also did questionable things.

    • Verushka says:

      It’s the second in the series, so that’s probably why. But I can’t remember if they did so in the first one. Timothy really did make me feel torn over him, but I guess that’s why it’s such a compelling read: it’s as uncomfortable as it is a good read.

  • Lily says:

    okay wow that is….different… not sure how I feel about the main investigator being a cannibal.

  • Jack Heath says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! (I too have a love/hate relationship with Timothy)

    The warning in HANGMAN just said it wasn’t for children – I wanted to put that in since it was my first book for adults. I wanted to put a stronger warning in HUNTER since one line in particular could be interpreted as recommending a particular suicide method. I really wanted to keep the line, but I thought readers had a right to be warned.

    I also have friends who’ve survived sexual violence, and I try to treat the subject thoughtfully. (I don’t believe in writing fiction carefully, but thoughfully is good.)

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