The Hunter

Tana French

Unveiling Secrets in the Emerald Isle: A Review of “The Hunter” by Tana French

Tana French, the acclaimed queen of Irish crime fiction, delivers another captivating mystery in “The Hunter.” This standalone novel, set in the breathtaking but often isolated landscape of rural Ireland, unravels a case of a missing teenager, delving deeper into questions of family, community, and the dark secrets that lie beneath the surface.


  • Compelling Characters: The narrative unfolds through the eyes of Cal Hooper, a retired American cop who seeks a quiet life in Ireland. His outsider perspective clashes yet complements that of the local detective, Detective Superintendent Antoinette Conway. Their contrasting personalities and approaches weave a dynamic investigation, keeping the reader engaged and guessing.
  • Atmospheric Setting: French masterfully evokes the beauty and harshness of the Irish countryside. The isolation, the tight-knit community secrets, and the simmering tensions add a layer of suspense and contribute to the mystery’s intrigue.
  • Multifaceted Story: “The Hunter” transcends the typical crime thriller. The search for the missing teenager becomes a catalyst for exploring themes of family dynamics, societal pressures, and the long-lasting consequences of past actions. The novel offers social commentary alongside the gripping mystery, enriching the reading experience.


  • Slow Burn Pacing: French’s signature style favors layered character development and intricate exploration of the community dynamics over a fast-paced plot. This might not appeal to readers who prefer a more action-driven narrative.
  • Unlikable Characters: Some characters, particularly Detective Conway, can be abrasive and morally ambiguous. While their personalities add authenticity and complexity to the story, they might not be readily embraced by all readers.

Overall: “The Hunter” is a powerful and atmospheric novel that showcases Tana French’s exceptional storytelling ability. It is a compelling mystery that delves beyond the crime itself, offering a nuanced portrait of life in rural Ireland and the complex web of human relationships.

Recommendation: Highly recommended for readers who enjoy literary crime fiction, character-driven narratives, and stories that offer a glimpse into the hidden complexities of seemingly ordinary lives. Be prepared for a slow-burning but deeply rewarding reading experience.