A happy publication day for yesterday to Val – and how appropriate that “Hunter’s Revenge” should be published on St Andrew’s Day, for it is whole-heartedly and gloriously Scottish.
Firstly, let me make it clear that though this is the second in a series, you can read it as a stand-alone – though I have read “Hunter’s Chase” and appreciated the way this book developed characters and plot lines. In particular, I was very happy to see Frankie making such a good job of looking after his twins. I have noticed that young people are complex and often sympathetic characters in this series, not one-sided thugs or criminals-in-waiting. I hope Frankie’s GP does something about the acne though, because that poor lad needs a break.
The star of the book is a team – Hunter and his squad. In their interactions and conversation an almost physical setting is built up, a place where the reader is welcome and at home. Hunter himself is a loner, the calm heart of the whirlwind, while his team cheerfully and competently restore faith in the police with their intelligence and dedication. It is a pleasure to see a group of people who get on so well working together, with no sign of drug or alcohol abuse to be seen! That said, they don’t all have easy lives, but like most people they get on with stuff, (none of those angsty set pieces designed to ram home that they have problem relations or come from difficult backgrounds). This realism is one factor that drives the narrative, the other being the dialogue, which is witty and energetic.
There is a great deal of humour in the book but it doesn’t destroy the essentially serious nature of the job being done by these relatable people. Having said that, I loved the way that the preparations for a wedding inevitably led to a useful suspect sighting or similar.
Edinburgh herself is drawn beautifully. A good sign for me is if I have to pull up a map as I read so I can trace a character’s journey, and following Hunter on a walk through Dean Village convinced me that I need to visit soon!
The great move to a single force, Police Scotland, is coming up in the next book and I suspect several of my favourites will no longer be working in Hunter’s team. Several of them are considering their options, and I am curious to see who replaces them and with what effect.
To sum up – a more than competent police procedural with a likeable cast of characters, that will leave the reader wanting the next in the series immediately!
Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.
Val’s website can be found at: https://www.valpenny.com/