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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Hunter


Narrator: Rebecca Lowman

ISBN: 9780593540213

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Putnam,

Publication Date: 01/10/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 3 Stars (ARC)


A riveting atmospheric suspense debut that explores the dark side of a small town and asks: How can we uncover the truth when we keep lying to ourselves?


“Herrera has a gift for drawing vivid characters and rich settings. A voicey and compelling debut that is not to be missed.”--Karin Slaughter


After reckless behavior costs NYPD detective Leigh O’Donnell her job and marriage, she returns with her four-year-old daughter to her beautiful hometown of Copper Falls, Ohio. Leigh had stayed away for more than a decade—even though her brother and a trio of loving uncles still call it home—because, while the town may seem idyllic, something rotten lies at its core. Three men in town have drowned in what Leigh suspects to be a triple homicide. She hopes that by finding out who killed them, she might get her life back on course.


Headstrong and intuitive, Leigh isn’t afraid to face a killer, but she has to do more than that to discover the truth about what happened to those men. She must unravel a web of secrets going back generations and, in doing so, plumb the darkness within herself.


Perfect for fans of Mare of Easttown, this taut debut is a haunting look at how the search for truth often leads back to the most unlikely places.







My Review


Jennifer Herrera's debut THE HUNTER is dark, gritty, disturbing, and ghostly/horror filled —a suspended New York police detective returns with her four-year-old daughter, to solve the murders in her hometown full of secrets.


Detective Leigh O'Donnell has been indefinitely suspended from her job as a New York City police detective after she aimed her Glock at her police partner, enabling a criminal to escape.


She returns to her hometown of Copper Falls, Ohio, regarding the homicide of three young men who have drowned. Three unemployed 25-year-old men drowned together in the town's waterfalls.


She hopes to restore her reputation at the same time.


She uncovers a mystery surrounding these three deaths and three similar deaths seven years earlier. The deaths echo a tragedy from the past; three high school seniors died by suicide there the night before their graduation. Leigh suspects a connection.


Leigh had stayed away from her hometown for more than a decade—even though her brother and loving uncles still call it home—because, while the town may seem idyllic, something rotten lies at its core.


Could they be related?

A serial killer at work?

A copycat?

OR did they drown accidentally?


Were these drownings at the waterfall truly an odd coincidence...or was there something lurking in the dark and mysterious caves below?


There are three different parts:

Leigh's backstory and the incident that ended her career with the NYPD

Her strained relationship with her former husband, Eric

The crime mystery past and present.


There are also some triggers with animals to avoid. Other topics: toxic family drama, gory murder scenes, divorce, cheating, skinning animals, and suicide.


Mixed with bizarre tactics of Leigh, the creepy town and why she pointed her gun at her partner drive the plot.


I was not blown away by the book, nor its characters as some other reviewers. I am not a fan of horror, mystical, ghostly, magical, or supernatural components. If you are like me, I would stay clear.


There were some chapters that either wasn't necessary or it seemed like filler. I was not wild about the Detective nor the other characters, and overall rather depressing. If I had known this was in the horror genre, I would not have agreed to read an early reading copy. I tend to stay away from those.


I am sure it will have its audience and these are my own opinions.


Thank you to #Penguin #GPPutnam #NetGalley for a gifted e-ARC.



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Jan 10, 2023

My Rating: 3 stars




Praise


“[A] complex plot, which is matched by thoroughly realized characters whose actions are anything but predictable. Herrera is a writer to watch.”

--Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"A thriller with depth."

--Booklist


“Herrera has a gift for drawing vivid characters and rich settings. A voicey and compelling debut that is not to be missed.

--Karin Slaughter


"The Hunter announces Jennifer Herrera as a remarkable new voice in suspense. Her debut is expertly paced and plotted, richly atmospheric, and filled with nuanced, beautifully developed characters with whom readers are sure to connect. I loved this book, and can't wait to read whatever Herrera writes next."

--Cristina Alger, New York Times bestselling author of Girls Like Us


"This book is a bonfire on a dark night. Searing hot and enthralling. I want to live in Herrera's language, where the ordinary becomes magical and strange. Fans of Tana French and Marisha Pessl, take note."

--Melissa Larsen, author of Shutter


"Smart, taut, and atmospheric. The Hunter had me reading into the night as I followed Leigh from New York back to her hometown. She must find and confront a killer as well as make peace with her past. I finished the book in one sitting and can’t wait to read the next page-turner in the series!"

--Janet Skeslien Charles, author of The Paris Library








About the Author



Jennifer Herrera is a former philosophy grad student turned literary agent, who is fascinated by the stories we tell ourselves to live and the lies we cling to that sabotage our chances at a good life. She has lived in six states and five countries (so far) and now resides in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and cat.


Photo ©Aliza Schlabach 2022.

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