OPN The Hunter by Tana French

Tana French’s 2020 novel, The Searcher, transports the classic themes of a western to a contemporary rural town in the west of Ireland. This setting provides a rich and textured backdrop with its unique brand of justice, deep-rooted feuds, and inherent suspicion of outsiders.

French’s ninth novel, The Hunter, serves as a sequel, expanding on the intricate relationships and moral complexities that made The Searcher so compelling.

At the heart of The Hunter is Cal Hooper, a retired detective from Chicago who embodies the quintessential outsider. By the end of The Searcher, Cal finds himself negotiating a delicate balance between his professional sense of right and wrong and the nuanced moral codes.

His choices are deeply influenced by his paternal instinct to protect Trey Reddy, a troubled adolescent caught in difficult circumstances.

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In The Searcher, we are introduced to Cal as he seeks a new beginning far from his past life in Chicago. During a vacation, he discovers the small Irish village of Ardnakelty and, attracted by the affordability and the need for a fresh start, he decides to buy a fixer-upper and settle down.

The central conflict arises with the appearance of Trey, a nearly feral tween who frequently shows up at Cal’s home.

Initially perceived as a nuisance, Trey is revealed to be Teresa, known as Trey, whose family is in dire straits after her father’s abandonment and her brother’s mysterious disappearance.

The unfolding mystery of Trey’s brother’s fate drives much of the narrative. During this time, Trey becomes attached to Cal, who enjoys her company and teaches her woodworking skills. However, Cal maintains a careful distance to avoid fuelling local gossip.

An atmosphericnovel

The Hunter continues this story with a slow-burning, moody, and tense narrative that perfectly captures the atmosphere of the Irish countryside.

French masterfully builds on the foundation laid in The Searcher, delving deeper into the complexities of small-town life and the moral ambiguities that come with it.

The novel’s steady pace and rich character development make it a captivating read for those in the right frame of mind. The atmospheric tension and detailed depiction of the Irish landscape add depth to the crime novel, making it a compelling continuation of Cal Hooper’s story.

Overall, The Hunter is a testament to French’s ability to weave intricate narratives filled with deep moral questions and rich character dynamics.

It is a solid addition to her body of work, resonating particularly well with readers who appreciate a thoughtful and atmospheric crime novel.

Ahmad Nazir is a UAE based freelance writer