Chris Carter returns with another dark psychological thriller that pits Robert Hunter against some of the most departed individuals that readers will likely have encountered. Calling this tenth novel in the series a sequel, Carter asks the reader to refer back to a previous novel in order to get the full impact of the story. In the early chapters, the reader learns that serial killer, Lucien Folter, was able to escape from the confines of the prison that held him, leaving blood and bodies strewn all around. While this is a federal matter, LAPD Detective Robert Hunter is made aware, as this is one killer with whom he has a vested interest. Hunter cannot believe this sadistic man was treated so passively while imprisoned, allowing him to escape by luring guards out of their sense of apprehension. With Lucien on the loose, it is anyone’s guess where he might have gone or what he has in mind for his next act. When Hunter is contacted by his old nemesis, there is a connection from the early stages, one that will turn a simple game of cat and mouse into something deadly and sadistic in quick succession. Hunter is fully invested in the case, determined to bring this killer to his knees and off the streets once and for all. Using a series of covert riddles, Lucien lures Hunter to follow the clues in order to save scores of people from an indifferent killer’s antics, though nothing is guaranteed. Working alongside many of the ‘alphabet groups’ of federal organizations, Hunter can only hope that Lucien will offer too much in order to reveal his location. As the bodies pile up and the threats heighten, Hunter cannot help but wish he were anywhere else, though he is bound and determined to stop Lucien once again. A chilling tale that will have readers glued to the page until the very end, as psychological thriller meets serial killer, with the end result being a highly addictive novel. Highly recommended for those who love the Robert Hunter series or the reader who enjoys being highly disturbed as they devour a dark novel.
I stumbled upon Chris Carter’s series years ago, pulled in by the dark and sadistic nature of the story and multi-layered characters. Carter’s past work in television fits nicely into this fast-paced series that leaves little time to process. Robert Hunter remains a strong protagonist, though his weaker and more human side continues to shine through in this piece. With a killer that Hunter has known for decades, the reader can see a decent struggle within the protagonist, helping to peel back the hard exterior throughout this piece. Hunter is driven to solve crimes, though his isolation from much of society leaves the reader wanting to understand a little more. Carter injects some emotional aspects to Hunter’s character and shows him as highly vulnerable. As with many of Carter’s novels, the antagonist is as gripping as any character presented. Dark and sadistic, Lucien Folter is the epitome of the serial killer who plays ‘puppet master’ with ease. His paced acts and riddles keep the story moving forward while offering shocking results when he turns to killing. Having been incarcerated and isolated, Lucien seeks revenge against those who stole his freedom, including a man he has known since they met in college. The Hunter-Folter clash is a theme throughout the novel, though it is by no means balanced from start to finish. Other characters offer interesting perspectives for the reader to discover, though the stars steal the show throughout this wonderful novel. Themes throughout the book seek to chill the reader and provide an entertaining progression. Perhaps some of the darkest writing I have read within the genre, Carter entertains and educates throughout, while keeping the reader feeling squeamish throughout the process. I can never get enough of Carter’s work, which allows Robert Hunter to grow and develop, seen by series fans over the past decade or so. Highly addictive and stunning in its delivery, this is a series not to be missed.
Kudos, Mr. Carter, for another wonderful novel in this series. I can see how you’d want readers to have read the original encounter between Hunter and Folter, though I am always a fan of reading a series in order throughout.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons