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The Hunter
Cover of The Hunter
The Hunter
Wyatt Hunt Series, Book 3
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Raised by loving adoptive parents, San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt never had an interest in finding his birth family—until he gets a chilling text message:

“How did your mother die?”

The answer is murder, and Hunt takes on a case he never knew existed, unsolved for decades. His family’s dark past unfurls in dead ends. Child Protection Services, who suspected Hunt was being neglected, is uninformed; his birth father, twice-tried but never convicted of the murder, is in hiding; Evie, his mother’s drug-addicted religious fanatic of a friend, is untraceable. And who is the texter, and how is this person connected to Hunt? Time is running out. Insisting the murderer is out there, the texter refuses to be identified. But as the case escalates, so does the threat—for the killer has a secret that will go to the grave…


Raised by loving adoptive parents, San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt never had an interest in finding his birth family—until he gets a chilling text message:

“How did your mother die?”

The answer is murder, and Hunt takes on a case he never knew existed, unsolved for decades. His family’s dark past unfurls in dead ends. Child Protection Services, who suspected Hunt was being neglected, is uninformed; his birth father, twice-tried but never convicted of the murder, is in hiding; Evie, his mother’s drug-addicted religious fanatic of a friend, is untraceable. And who is the texter, and how is this person connected to Hunt? Time is running out. Insisting the murderer is out there, the texter refuses to be identified. But as the case escalates, so does the threat—for the killer has a secret that will go to the grave…


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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 21, 2011
    “How did your mother die?” For San Francisco PI Wyatt Hunt, that enigmatic text message triggers his biggest, and most personal, case—and it’s a great start to bestseller Lescroart’s outstanding fourth Hunt novel (after 2010’s The Treasure Club). Hunt, an orphan with few details of his birth parents, soon learns that his birth name was Wyatt Carson; that his mother, Margaret, was murdered; and that his father, Kevin, was charged with the crime but never convicted. He also receives, from the priest who married his parents, a letter from Kevin asserting his innocence. Lescroart deftly handles a large supporting cast and makes fine use of the city of San Francisco while cleverly incorporating a piece of real history into the narrative, the infamous Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1978 (the “People’s Temple” leader Jim Jones had been active in San Francisco). This book succeeds on every level—as a mystery, as a thriller, and as an exploration of its appealing hero. Agent: Barney Karpfinger.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2011
    Time for San Francisco private eye Wyatt Hunt to confront the obligatory demons from his past as he searches for the killer of his birth mother. "How did your mother die?" asks an anonymous text message. The founder and principal of The Hunt Club, who's never known who his birth parents were, soon learns at least part of the answer: She was killed 40 years ago, only three years after her marriage to the man who was tried twice for her murder and set free twice by hung juries. Father Don Bernard, the priest who married Margaret and Kevin Carson, has more news for Hunt: an ancient letter from his father swearing his innocence and saying that he's leaving the Bay Area for a job in Texas. The ice-cold trail, lit at first only by the flares of further text messages, turns red-hot when Ivan Orloff, Hunt's newest investigator, gets killed after making what seemed like some pretty routine inquiries. The trail leads from Evie Secrist, Margaret's best friend, back to the Jonestown mass suicide a generation ago, and forward to Evie's ex-husband Lionel Spencer. But it ends again, frustratingly, with Spencer's own death, which Hunt's old SFPD frenemy, homicide inspector Devin Juhle, is all too eager to write off as suicide. Will Hunt and Tamara Dade, his veteran assistant and new lover, be able to pick up the scent the cops missed? Most readers will see ahead of Hunt where this is all headed. Nor will many of them consider the substitution of the hero's back story for Lescroart's customary sociological probe of San Francisco corruption (Treasure Hunt, 2010, etc.) an improvement. The scene in which Hunt finally comes face to face with his anonymous informant, however, is transfixing.

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 15, 2011
    The third Wyatt Hunt mystery is also, by far, the best. Whereas The Hunt Club (2006) and Treasure Hunt (2010) were rather long on story and short on character development, this new novel supplies Hunt, the San Francisco private investigator, with a rich and complex past, turning him from a relatively standard-issue mystery protagonist into a fully realized human being. The story begins with Hunt receiving a text message from an anonymous sender: How did your mother die? This is a question steeped in mystery: Hunt is adopted, with no idea who his birth parents are. Determined to find out what the message means and who sent it, Wyatt soon learns the shocking truth about his own life. This is one of the more interesting mystery-novel themesa hero uncovering the secrets of his own pastand Lescroart gets everything he can out of it. The story is suspenseful and surprising, full of twists and turns, but, even better, Hunt finally becomes a protagonist worthy of comparison with Lescroart's other series characters, Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky. Readers who enjoyed the first two Hunt novels will definitely want to read this one, and Lescroart fans who found those books a bit on the thin side will change their tune this time. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lescroart is a consistent crime-fiction A-lister, and the growth of the Hunt series will further solidfy his status.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

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Wyatt Hunt Series, Book 3
John Lescroart
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