Publication: Thomas and Mercer on 24th October 2017
Revenge has no limits.
Special Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.
Hiding from the law, avenging angel Cara Lindstrom is on her own ruthless quest. She plans to stay as far away from Roarke as possible—until an old enemy comes after both her and the FBI, forcing her back into Roarke’s orbit. This time, the huntress has become the hunted . . .
I am a massive fan of the Huntress books. If you haven’t read them, I urge you to do so, but read them from the start, as they benefit from being read in order. The last book, Bitter Moon, which I adored, told Cara Lindstrom’s story almost from the beginning and the reader now has a much rounder feel for Cara, what drives her and why.
This is something that Special Agent Roarke now also understands only too well. Cara has taken his moral compass and turned it on its head until he is barely hanging on to it. The relationship between Roarke and Lindstrom isn’t quite symbiotic, but they are inextricably linked and where one goes, the other is bound to follow.
A female serial killer isn’t totally unheard of – Chelsea Cain’s Gretchen Lowell springs to mind, but in the Huntress series Alexandra Sokoloff has created a female serial killer whose rationale is readily understood and where the feminist perspective is very strong.
The blend of murder and mysticism is an alluring one and in Hunger Moon, the spiritualism helps to lift the actions of Cara and others to another plane. I have always enjoyed the very real sense of repressed rage in Lindstrom; the cold and steadfastly calculating way in which Sokoloff has her go after her prey – never without reason, always with a plan; yet nothing prepared me for the hissing, crackling anger that burns through this book.
It is the fusing of fact and fiction that gives this novel its bite and if you are not just as angry as me by the end, I will be astonished. Sokoloff never shies away from citing very hard facts and this book is full of terrible, hateful truths that you hope you never have to face, but know that unless you do, you will not stand up to be counted.
Hunger Moon is set in the era of Trump’s Presidency; an America which now, more than ever, is polarising not only its own people but across the world.
Sokoloff does not miss and hit the wall with her writing. This Presidency is shown to be impacting on everything that happens. Early on in the book Roarke is frustrated by his boss’s priorities. ‘If the Bureau is so concerned with cyber-terrorism, where was it during the election, when democracy was being hacked by a totalitarian power? He thought it, but didn’t say it. It was one of the ongoing questions of the new world order.’
In Hunger Moon, the focus, as you might expect, is on the impact on women. Hunger Moon references the massive and peaceful Women’s Marches following the U.S. Presidential election and the President’s own attitude to women which has allowed if not encouraged hostility to women to foster and grow.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the fear faced by Roarke’s colleague, Singh, a computer specialist who left India in part to be free of a culture that fails to condemn rape. Every day, Singh trawls the web for the trolls who post vile racist, sexist and violent abuse directed at women in an attempt to silence their voices. As Singh observes: ‘These trolls have only been emboldened by the ascension of the ultimate troll; a sexual predator now determining national policy.’ If that observation does not make you shiver, nothing will.
This Huntress book is again brilliantly paced – a real can’t-put-it-down read, made all the more compelling by having it firmly rooted in reality and drawing on observations of privilege.
As a crime story it sings out loud and proud, though there is blood and savage behaviour aplenty – these books are not for the weak hearted.
By the end of this story I wanted to stand up and shout ‘We are all Cara’, though I’m pretty positive that when it comes down to it I’m probably more Roarke.
A terrific read. Very highly recommended.
About Alexandra Sokoloff
Alex is the Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated and Thriller Award-winning author of the Thriller Award-nominated HUNTRESS MOON crime series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON, WOLF MOON), the HAUNTED supernatural thrillers (THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, and THE SPACE BETWEEN), and the non-fiction workbooks SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS, STEALING HOLLYWOOD and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog.
As a screenwriter Alex has sold original suspense and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west (the screenwriters’ union) and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America. She is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theatre and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. She now splits her time between Los Angeles and Scotland, where she lives with the Scottish noir author Craig Robertson. In her spare time (!) she performs with Heather Graham’s all-author Slush Pile Players, and is of course one of the all author Slice Girls. She is also very active on Facebook. But not an addict. No, seriously, it’s under control.