“He watches. He waits. He kills”

 

Chis Carter’s third ‘Hunter’ instalment is a peach! Detective Robert Hunter is pulled
off of another case to concentrate on the latest murder for Los Angeles Robbery
Homicide Division. The cause of death is not apparent until the autopsy takes place,
which unleashes the full horror of the killer.

It’s not long before a second body is discovered and Hunter realises that there is a
very dangerous serial killer at large. Thing is, there are barely any clues to the killer’s
identity. He leaves his victims whilst they’re still alive, but they all die horrific deaths.
How many more will he kill before Hunter can catch him?

The Night Stalker has been my introduction to Chris Carter’s writing and, although
there are two other books in the ‘Hunter’ series, this can be read as a stand-alone
book.

It’s been a while since I’ve been gripped from the very first page, but The Night
Stalker certainly catches your attention from page one. It’s extremely fast paced, with
short, punchy chapters (115 of them to be precise) and a seemingly unending supply
of gruesome horrors. Although the deaths are quite disturbing, Chris Carter doesn’t go
overboard with his descriptions – he appears to stop short of making you hurl. Think
Martina Cole’s The Ladykiller, and just a splash of Silence of the Lambs, and you’ll
not be far off.

Hunter’s background in psychology – which is referenced, leading you to want to
read the other two books – is perfect for this case. The intrigue into how disturbed
minds work is cleverly explained from his point of view. The few clues that are left
come from the mind behind the deaths, not in DNA or material items. (Carter also has
a background in psychology, having studied the subject. He specialised in criminal
behaviour and worked as a criminal psychologist.)

The characters are believable, although Carter refrains from giving too much detail
away. I suspect the groundwork for them has already been laid in the first two books.
However, you get sense enough of them for you to sympathise. The killer’s character
is just stunning. His back story, which comes towards the end, is brilliantly written
and quite credible in context.

How Carter intensifies the read is beyond me. You think you’re at the pinnacle, but
then the unthinkable happens and the intrigue and anticipation build once again. I
wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to anyone interested in crime fiction. It’s
going down as one of my favourite reads in the past 10 years. Move over Michael
Connelly, there’s a new kid on the block.

The Night Stalker was a Sunday Times Bestseller, published in 2011. The first two
books, The Crucifix Killer and The Executioner, were published in 2009 and 2010
respectively.