The Caller - Chris Carter

I am sure I am not the only one who was disappointed when The Caller (8th outing for Robert Hunter) was not published last July and we the faithful had to wait a further 6+ months before the great Detective Hunter of the LA ultra violent crimes unit was confronted once again with a seemingly unstoppable and deranged serial killer. Hunter is not like any detective I have met before, he is highly intelligent possessing an over active mind that rarely allows him time to relax. He enjoys alcohol but not in the falling down "sozzled" way, rather his tipple of choice is single malt scotch whisky which he savours and sips....."Hunter reached for his glass and brought it to his nose. The smoky and complex aroma of the golden liquid made him smile again. He picked up a water jar and poured just a little more than a few drops into the tumbler, before finally sipping his whisky. Smooth sweet vanilla, with sooty smoke coming to the fore and a long honeyed ember finish..."

 

A sadistic killer is once again targeting victims in downtown LA, and his methods of execution are both bloody and ingenious. Rather than use immediate torture he makes a video call to someone very close to the victim and asks that person 2 questions. If the friend is successful in answering then the victim lives but a wrong response results in him or her having to watch a horrific and callous murder. What sets Chris Carter's books apart from his rivals is the methods that the perpetrator uses to silence his victims. We have a face destroyed by glass fragments, a head crushed in a vice, a skull penetrated with a chisel and hammer...He brought the chisel and hammer back to Cassandra's head. This time he positioned the chisel just a little left from center, and only about an inch up from her forehead........Up went the hammer. Down it came BANG...." The fact that the author studied psychology and criminal behaviour and as a criminal psychologist  worked with many serious offenders means that he can display his knowledge through the brilliant and determined Detective Hunter. My Favourite character in The Caller is Mr J (Jenkinson) married to the lovely Cassandra, who falls victim to the "demon" (I'm not spoiling the story by sharing that with you) We discover that Mr J has a hidden occupation, one that his wife was not aware of, he is a hit man for the mob, and when Cassandra meets an untimely demise Mr J is on the case.....So with Detective Hunter chasing the demon before he strikes again and Mr J demanding revenge the scene is set for a fantastic conclusion...a perfect ending that bought a smile to my face with a beautiful closing observation......

 

Yes Chris Carter's stories may not be deep, observational and character driven but by god they are great fun to read and once started impossible to stop. The front of the UK hardback edition states "as compelling as a box-set thriller" and that is a great description. I hope I do not have to wait 18 months before joining Detective Hunter and his colleague Carlos Garcia on another thrilling outing!