The Dispatcher

Ryan David Jahn, Author
Ryan David Jahn. Penguin, $15 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-14-312070-4
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 12/27/2011
At the start of Jahn’s relentlessly grim vigilante novel, Ian Hunt, a police dispatcher in Bulls Mouth, Tex., receives a phone call from his presumed dead daughter, Maggie, who was kidnapped seven years earlier at age seven by Henry Dean, a twisted and sadistic neighbor who left no clues. The girl has just a little time to speak before she’s cut off. Hunt goes on a determined and merciless quest to find Maggie, starting in Bulls Mouth, a truly benighted hamlet replete with faltering businesses and emotionally damaged citizens. The body count is high, but the suspense is minimal, since Jahn (Good Neighbors) keeps the reader privy to Dean’s actions and plans. The inept, negligent police are usually drunk, and Hunt’s stubborn and inexplicable insistence on not asking for aid in his single-minded pursuit of his daughter and her captor defies logic. Those with an appetite for unrelieved violence and gore will be most satisfied. (Jan.)