With her new stand-alone novel, The Red Hunter, Lisa Unger ventures beyond her beloved locale of The Hollows, to present a novel which succinctly and effectively details the long legacy wrought by violence in the lives of two complex women.
Claudia Bishop moves with her teen daughter, Raven, to a recently vacated rustic house long owned by her family. She is struggling to start afresh after a harrowing history and has begun a blog detailing her restoration plans for this new home in an effort to re-center herself and make a new life for her daughter.
Zoey Drake has a history with that house. Her parents were murdered there years ago during what seemed like a random home invasion. But years of reconnaissance and training have prepared her to take revenge on those that destroyed her life.
Through an inevitable convergence of events, the men responsible for the death of Zoey’s parents are headed back to the scene of the crime. Unbeknownst to Claudia, in trying to protect her child, she may have only increased the risk – unless Zoey’s plan for justice unspools before disaster strikes this homestead once again.
Needless to say, Lisa Unger has written a page-turner. These two women, shaped by the traumas in their lives, lead readers down a twisted trail, as though they are sirens asking strangers to share their journey and their pain. This is a writer who excels at creating characters who will elicit sympathy from readers. In particular, the relationship between, Claudia and her daughter feels realistic and suitably fraught with obstacles – both real and imagined.
With a novel in which so much of the impetus for action resides in the past, Lisa Unger does an admirable job of juggling the time-shifts. By employing multiple points of view, she is able to control how and when information is revealed to the reader.
The Red Hunter is a tough read. Not in the sense that it is difficult to follow or to understand, but rather on a visceral level. The psychological portraits Lisa Unger has crafted feel so authentic that spending time in that head space can be exhausting. Often, it is the emotional scars that run the deepest, and this is a writer who is not afraid to put her readers through the paces right along with her characters. The rewards are vast, if the reader is up to the excavation.
Disclaimer: A e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.