cover image Hour of the Hunter

Hour of the Hunter

J. A. Jance. William Morrow & Company, $20 (370pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09630-4

The author of the J. P. Beaumont series moves into new territory with this mystery that draws on Native American life and lore. Six years in Arizona State Prison have turned convicted rapist/murderer Andrew Carlisle into a killing machine. Along with his student Gary Ladd, former professor Carlisle was accused of killing a Papago Indian girl, and Ladd committed suicide rather than face the charges. Shortly thereafter, when crucial evidence in the case disappeared, Ladd's widow, Diana, and Rita Antone, the murdered girl's grandmother, pressed for Carlisle's conviction. Planning revenge on those who put him behind bars, the newly released sociopath goes on a murder spree as he tracks down Diana. Warned by the clairvoyant Antone of Carlisle's impending assault, Diana marshals her defense forces--including a blind Papago medicine man and a detective with a score to settle with the killer. Leaving a trail of corpses in his wake, cross-dresser Carlisle eludes the police and prepares to victimize his own family. Jance's novel delivers suspense through richly textured layers of flashbacks and gritty characterization, and, although the relationship between the mystical Papago folklore and the rest of the plot is not as clearly developed as readers might wish, it is an intriguing thematic focus for Jance and her fans. (Nov.)