Review: Hunting Evil

Chris Carter – Hunting Evil

Published by Simon & Schuster, paperback £8.99. My review is of the hardback edition, which I bought second-hand.

I’ve read most of Chris Carter’s Robert Hunter series, following the Los Angeles detective and his partner, Carlos Garcia, and this tenth instalment follows in much the same vein as the earlier books – with the notable difference being that Hunting Evil returns to deal with a killer from an earlier book (An Evil Mind), rather than being an entirely fresh case for the pair.

Hunter and the FBI put Lucien Folter – the most dangerous and most prolific serial killer they’d ever encountered – behind bars almost four years ago. But now he has escaped – and is coming after Hunter for revenge…

If you’ve read An Evil Mind you’ll already know the details of that investigation and the (many, elaborate, stomach-churningly detailed) horrors uncovered. And you’ll also know the story of how Hunter and Lucien first met, and their relationship. However, there is enough background laid out in Hunting Evil to get a newcomer caught up as, at luck would have it, Garcia was on vacation when Hunter was pressganged into the manhunt and needs to be brought up to speed.

I won’t give you a plot precis as I usually would, as either the brief hint above or previous knowledge of Carter’s books will make you want to read this or will turn you off immediately – he is something of a “Marmite” writer. What I will say is that the plot, as with Carter’s novels generally, is distinctly preposterous and often unpleasantly detailed – yet at the same time I couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what happens next. (While I doubt Hunter will ever get a happy ending – or even a full night’s sleep with his chronic insomnia finally, er, put to bed – he deserves a little respite after the events of Hunting Evil. Or at least a new bottle of whisky for his collection…)

Are Carter’s books filled with the most beautifully elegant prose ever found in a crime novel? No. Are they quietly chilling, letting your mind fill in all the gaps while keeping violence off the pages? Hell, no. But are they filled with compelling plots and quirky characters? Yes. And are they blood-chillingly inventive page-turners? Hell, yes.

Sometimes you want fancy fine dining, a delicate balance of subtle flavours and fresh, healthy ingredients exciting the palate. And sometimes you want a giant cheeseburger with extra pickles and grease. It’s all about what fits your craving in that moment, so I hope Carter doesn’t object to my description – there are times when I bloody love a huge cheeseburger, just as there are times when I need a few hours in the company of Hunter and Garcia. Variety is the spice of life, and all that.

You can find the author’s webpage here: http://chriscarterbooks.com/home.htm

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