The Chosen

Arlene Hunt. Portnoy (Dufour, dist.), $21.95 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-0-9569813-0-1
Venomous varmints prowl them thar Appalachian hills in this uneven contemporary thriller from Irish author Hunt (Vicious Circle). Psychopathic serial killer Caleb Switch, abused as a child and now obsessed with stalking and slaughtering women, and amoral reporter Darla Levine, looking for the Big Story to escape a life she loathes, separately set their malignant sights on appealing Special Ed teacher Jessie Conway, who’s won unwanted fame by halting a horrifying school shooting at enormous cost to her marriage and her emotional equilibrium. Hunt draws her sympathetic characters with compassion, especially Jessie’s husband, Mike, to balance the outright evil of her villains, and she ties up the loose ends of her complicated plot with some breathless surprises. American readers will likely find several of Hunt’s people and situations overly familiar, like Mike’s black-sheep brother Ace’s resolution to Jessie’s ordeal. Overall, Hunt’s strengths don’t quite match her ambitious attempt to plumb the depths of human evil. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 12/01/2011
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-9569813-3-2
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