I have inadvertently come and gone from this series featuring Detective Robert Hunter from LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. (And yes, each time I have a giggle at the ‘ultra’ and try to remember to add the ‘n’ in violent.)
I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read (here’s my review of the 2018 release ) and am pretty consistent now but – as it would happen – this is actually a sequel to an earlier book in the series and even the author Chris Carter recommends we read its precursor.
However… #spoileralert: I hadn’t read it and survived.
by Chris Carter
Series: Robert Hunter #10
Published by Simon & Schuster UK
on June 1st 2019
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 1471179524, 9781471179532
As roommates, they met for the first time in college. Two of the brightest minds ever to graduate from Stamford Psychology University.
As adversaries, they met again in Quantico, Virginia. Robert Hunter had become the head of the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. Lucien Folter had become the most prolific and dangerous serial killer the FBI had ever encountered.
Now, after spending three and a half years locked in solitary confinement, Lucien has finally managed to break free. And he’s angry.
For the past three and a half years, Lucien has thought of nothing else but vengeance.
The person responsible for locking him away has to pay, he has to suffer.
That person ... is Robert Hunter.
And now it is finally time to execute the plan.
It might have helped to read the earlier book in the series to get more context on Hunter’s relationship with Lucien but I really didn’t struggle at all. I took it on good faith that Lucien had – for many years – been a good friend to the younger Hunter and that it’d been quite shocking for the unshockable detective when his old Uni roommate had become a psychopathic serial killer.
Though, we’re kinda told there’s less of the psychopathic element involved as what Lucien WAS doing (before he was caught) and what he continues to do now he’s escaped. It’s research, he explains. I’d joke that you can’t blame a bloke for his curiosity but sadly Lucien’s a surprisingly unsympathetic killer, particularly when he seemingly kills outside of the parameters of his experiment.
I would have actually respected him more (as a criminal that is) if he’d let some of his car-jacking victims go here. They were kinda inconsequential to him and it would have sat better with his genius-ness if he’d made sure he was safe and then released them. But he doesn’t. Early on Hunter tells us it’s just to show us what his nemesis is capable of. And I guess that’s probably it. Well, that and expediency.
Having said that though, we’re privy to Lucien’s thoughts and feelings after he kills a significant number of people in a more-distant method than usual and he comments on it feeling too detached to give him any satisfaction.
Anyhoo… Hunter and his partner Garcia (who very much appealed in the last book of this series, Gallery of the Dead) are forced into the mix with the FBI and US Marshalls on the hunt for Lucien. But for Lucien it’s all about Hunter and mind games.
In the last novel we got a sense that romance might be in the air for Hunter and things start off well here, but Lucien certainly interrupts his old roommate’s chance of happiness.
As an aside, to give some context to Hunter attending University at a young age Carter provides a fairly lengthy backstory I hadn’t been aware of in relation to his upbringing, and I very much enjoyed that insight as my (initial) chequered history with this series meant I wasn’t entirely aware of the why / how of Hunter’s intellectual prowess.
I enjoyed this latest book from Carter and am continuing to enjoy this under-appreciated series. At some point I swear I will go back and read those I’ve missed.
Hunting Evil by Chris Carter will be published by Simon & Schuster Australia and available from 1 June 2019.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.