Book Title and Author: The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger
Publication date and Publisher: April 25, 2017 by Touchstone
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Fiction
Pages: 359 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: 6/2/17 (Audiobook)
What is the difference between justice and revenge? In this buzzworthy new standalone thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark place…
Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house—one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.
For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past—and within.
Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.
Anytime I receive gift cards to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, I hoard them like a dragon hoards its treasure until a new release comes out I’ve been dying for or until there’s a book I absolutely must buy because its reviews are too tempting for me to ignore. The Red Hunter was one of those “must buy” books! And, I’m so glad I did because it was outstanding! This was the first book I’d read by Lisa Unger—why I have no idea! But, it will not be the last if all her books are this enthralling!
The Red Hunter introduces us to Claudia Bishop and Zoey Drake, two very different yet very strong women, who have both endured horribly traumatic pasts. These are incredibly complex women, and I was very impressed with how Unger perfectly wove together the storyline of each woman’s determination to find peace, each in her own way—Claudia a new life of calm and balance and Zoey one of justice and revenge. Little do either of them know that although they are total strangers that their paths are about cross in a huge and terrifying way…
*Trigger warning: There is a brief but graphic rape scene at the beginning of the book. *
Claudia is busy rebuilding her life after being raped years ago. She’s moved from New York City to the country with her teenage daughter Raven, and Claudia uses blogging as a form of therapy and healing as she not only writes about her experiences with healing from her rape but about parenting a teenage daughter and about renovating her family’s old, run-down home. A home with a terrible, dreadful past and hidden secrets that evil people are willing to do malicious deeds to discover.
The house is the only thing linking Claudia and Zoey since it was in this house many years ago that Zoey’s parents were savagely murdered in front of her while she was horribly tortured during a home break in gone wrong by people looking for 1 million dollars they believed her cop dad had stolen. As Zoey has rebuilt her life, revenge, justice, and answers are all Zoey wants as retribution for her parent’s murders and her own torment—both inner and outer. She can’t rest until she finds out the truth of that night, and the wrongdoers receive justice for their sins.
I loved both Claudia and Zoey equally. Their strength showed them to be survivors and fighters, which I thought took a tremendous amount of courage from both after what they each went through even if they did channel their strength in much different ways. All the characters in the book were strong, dynamic, and necessary to the plot, unlike some novels where there are characters that drag down the plotline or cause needless confusion. Here, Unger handles each character perfectly and interweaves them into the story in such a way that they are like pieces of a puzzle fitting seamlessly together.
What a stunning psychological thriller! I’m glad that I bought it as an audiobook to listen to instead of a physical book or e-book; otherwise, I would have probably read it in one afternoon or late at night (then I would have been checking under my bed and double-checking all my door and window locks!) instead of taking a couple of days to listen to it. The Red Hunter is not a book to rush through no matter how perfectly executed the complex plots, multiple points of views, and the order of events that goes flawlessly back and forth from past and present. If I had flown through it, I would probably have missed some threads of the story since Unger has written this with such fine detail and a slow and steady buildup of suspense until the thrilling action towards the book’s end! The conclusion was perfect, but I’m not going to reveal any spoilers!.
The Red Hunter is excellently written and is riveting, explosive, and full of surprising twists. As I continue to make my list of best books of 2017, The Red Hunter is currently in the top five! Highly recommended!