I have never been much of a thriller reader, and I was not one to buy self-published books.
Until the last couple of years I was admittedly hostile to the idea of self-published e-books or print books. They didn’t seem ‘real’ to me. But the emergence of better and better ways to package and present indie titles has made me realize these authors can give a reader a great story with professional typesetting, covers, and formatting.
When I read Robert Bidinotto’s debut thriller, HUNTER, I did not have to worry about the issues of the earlier days of self-published e-books (and issues that likely continue with some indie titles). The covers (recently redesigned) were attractive and professional and the internal formatting was perfectly readable on my Kindle, allowing me to focus on the story, which is a great crime thriller.
HUNTER follows two main characters, the enigmatic news writer Dylan Hunter and CIA agent Annie Woods. Hunter exposes leniency in the criminal justice system, which causes him to cross paths with Woods. Woods is investigating a possible mole in the CIA while helping her friend cope with the death of her husband at the hands of criminals. The same criminals as well as others are targeted by a vigilante, bringing Dylan Hunter under scrutiny from police for his reporting. The story escalates from there.
I enjoyed the book. The pacing was very tight, something I noticed from the beginning; there was almost no downtime in the novel. The characters, both Hunter and Woods, were well written and their relationship was the best part of the book for me. One of my few issues with the story was the relatively limited amount of character development with Hunter and Woods as a couple (they develop a romantic relationship) but given that the novel is first and foremost a thriller, it made sense given all of the other plot points in the book. The action scenes were excellent and the CIA covert operations were very realistically presented.
HUNTER is one of the best recent novels I have read in a very long time. The craft and substance of the story were just as good as any New York published novel, and it is a much better book than many traditionally published novels I have read. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in thrillers or vigilante heroes. I plan on reading the follow-up, BAD DEEDS, in the near future.