The Hunter

Tana French

The Hunter
Penguin Books Ltd
United Kingdom
12 March 2024

The Hunter

Tana French

Crackling with tension and slow-burn suspense, The Hunter explores what we’ll do for our loved ones, what we’ll do for revenge, and what we sacrifice when the two collide, from the Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller Tana French.

It’s a blazing summer when two men arrive in the village. They’re coming for gold. What they bring is trouble.

Cal Hooper was a Chicago detective, till he moved to the West of Ireland looking for peace. He’s found it, more or less – in his relationship with local woman Lena, and the bond he’s formed with half-wild teenager Trey. So when two men turn up with a money-making scheme to find gold in the townland, Cal gets ready to do whatever it takes to protect Trey. Because one of the men is no stranger: he’s Trey’s father.

But Trey doesn’t want protecting. What she wants is revenge.


In Tana French’s 2015 novel The Searcher, retired cop Cal Hooper moves from Chicago to a remote Irish village where he becomes entangled in the case of a missing teenage boy. In her long-awaited new book The Hunter, French returns to Ardnakelty with a new mystery. The friendship between Cal and 15-year-old Trey Reddy has blossomed into a surrogate father-daughter relationship, so when Trey’s feckless father unexpectedly returns from London, Cal is on high alert. Johnny Reddy is a small-time con artist, and he’s pegged the locals of Ardnakelty as easy marks for a scheme he’s cooked up to find gold in the mountains. But Johnny hasn’t come alone, and it’s not long before Cal’s peaceful existence is turned upside-down by hidden threats, half-truths, and dangerous strangers.

You don’t need to have read The Searcher to enjoy The Hunter, but it will help you better understand a little of what’s going on under the surface: the rage simmering in Trey’s heart, Cal’s uneasy relationship with his neighbours, the difference between the locals, the outsiders, and the outcasts.

French called The Searcher her take on a Western, and indeed both The Searcher and The Hunter have the same laconic humour, slow-burning menace, colourful side-characters, and impeccably rendered landscapes of films like True Grit or The Dressmaker. French’s ability to capture a scene in broad, sparse strokes makes reading any of her books an immersive and enjoyable experience, but it’s in her extraordinary talent with the inner lives of her characters that her writing sings. Cal and Trey are well-rounded and genuine people, with follies and foibles and strict personal codes of their own. Ardnakelty’s tight-knit community – with their closely-guarded secrets, generational grudges, and roots dug deep in the rural land – are likewise vividly portrayed.

The Hunter is a pitch-perfect revenge thriller whose ambling plot and dry wit lulls you into a false sense of security before the tension begins to draw tight, ensnaring you in an all-consuming read that you’ll struggle to put down.

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