Hunter: A Thriller by Robert Bidinotto
Conor Hall has a “settle in and be auditorily entertained” ambiance to his reading. His suite of male voices is impressive and wonderful to hear. In this story, he does tend to use the same voice for the bad guys as he uses for some of the good ones. His female voices become recognizable primarily in the way he softens his voice, and they are fairly consistent from one lady to the next. His best performances are of the heroine and hero. He remains true to their voices throughout the story. The one he uses for Hunter possesses a coarse sensuality that makes this audio worth listening to and that should make this narrator hotly pursued by the authors of romance novels. Conor’s narrating pace is excellent.
Book Review: Hunter: A Thriller
Two aspects should be considered in determining if you’ll enjoy this fiction.
One: The story revolves around a subject of grave importance to the author. Both sides of this issue are presented to bring readers face to face with it, and by its very nature, it compels them to choose a side. They will find themselves mentally and emotionally confronted with the internal and external debates.
Arguments offered by certain characters are refuted and rejected by the male protagonist, Dylan Hunter. It is the skilled, calculated manner in which he rejects these arguments that contributes to making this fiction a high-tension thriller: one that introduces a new hero(?) in the battle of good versus evil–though which of these two opposites is which often appears disturbingly murky.
If you don’t care to hear the author’s unrestrained views on this central issue, then this book is not for you.
Two: As stated in the description, Hunter: A Thriller combines three genres: spy-mystery, crime-thriller, and passionate-romance. Spy- mystery and crime-thriller are often an acceptable duo. However, the degree to which this book is a romance might be a deciding factor for some listeners. The advertisement that it is one isn’t simply a deception to garner a wider reading-audience.
The passionate romance is there. The chemistry between the lovers is tangible and exists outside the bedroom; the few sex scenes are sensual and intense without being explicit, and as the story progresses, so does this romance. At the same time, this relationship, though presented as more than a casual inclusion, is integrated well into the story and doesn’t diminish the novel’s chilling and controversial crime-thriller dimensions.
This book provided insight concerning a process of which I had only a cursory awareness. It seems that for the sake of the story, the slants on this central issue are decidedly black-and-white. Yet, those extreme colors are thought-provoking and encourage listeners to contemplate or perhaps investigate for themselves just how gray the spectrum is in terms of right prevailing over wrong, in the real world.
I listened to this book primarily to see how the romance genre was handled. I would like to have seen Annie shine more in her profession, but as a woman falling in love, I empathized with her concerns and accepted them as genuine. I didn’t care for some of her actions. However, the scales are eventually balanced.
Like Bond in Casino Royale, Dylan Hunter is a romantic hero, despite his “hunting.” Along with the voice Conor gives him, he is endowed with the charm, graciousness, angst, and vulnerability that are trademarks in the knights of the genre. Still, he has a behavioral trait that needs to be explained. I’d be willing to read about Dylan and Annie in a second book, in order to see them grow as companions and as characters.
Tension is never really absent in this story. The defense of the central issue, the hero’s opposition to it, and the romance—never a conflict-free undertaking—provide a progressive escalation right to the very end. Add to this, following certain revelations and facts, listeners may find themselves anxious with the uncertainty of where their loyalty lies.
There are some instances in which I felt the light-bulb moments for the principal characters clicked on too slowly. However, I liked much about the story and didn’t worry over those occurrences.
I applaud how little profanity is used, especially given the dens listeners are taken into. Profanity serves to get the point across, especially when bare toes collide with furniture or when small heavy objects fall on them. Yet, I prefer exchanges where the profanity is an attitude or an action rather than spoken. In addition, there is little in the way of severe depiction of graphic violence. Scenes that might have been illustrated this way are descriptive, but without excess. I like this fact very much.
The final chapters blend the thriller and romance themes together so expertly that I went back and listened to them, several times.