John Lescroart is officially credited with writing two series (actually four) of legal and crime fiction. Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky. But in the world of the reader, what he has really done is write crime and legal novels that tell wonderful stories featuring San Francisco as a setting and have many of the same characters. Sometimes those characters are just background characters and sometimes they are the main protagonist or a minor protagonist from one book to the next. It’s like a chronicle of a group of acquaintances and friends over a lifetime.
If you are a fan of series fiction, this is indeed a treat as it manages to keep the stories fresh while still continuing the tails of the characters you know and love. If you aren’t a series fiction fan, then you only get great stories and marvelous books. That’s not such a bad thing.
The Hunter opens with Wyatt trying to recruit his best friend, San Francisco detective Devin Juhle for Hunt's “Hunt Club,” a thriving detective agency. Juhle works for the chief of homicide, Abe Glitsky. Hunt has just broken up with Gina Roake, a San Francisco defense attorney, who first (and last) appeared in 2007s The Suspect as the main protagonist.
Juhle turns him down. Later, at a meeting with a client, a wealthy group of women whom Hunt has been hired to vet applicants for admission to their exclusive ladies club, Hunt receives an anonymous text message.The message says, “How did your mother die?” Hunt was adopted at a young age, and really can’t answer that question. He tries to call the texter back, but get’s no voice mail, no answer, and comes to the conclusion that the texter used a disposable phone.
But this question leads Hunt to wonder just how, and for that matter who his real parents were. After further provocative text messages from the same person, Hunt, with the aid of his agency and Juhle, sets out to answer this question. It leads him to Catholic Charities who was the adoption agency where he eventually finds out that his mother was murdered and his father was suspected, tried twice, and twice acquitted by a hung jury.
He also comes to possess a letter from his father, who had given him up for adoption, stating that he did not kill his mother, and had to give him up so he’d have a chance at a better life. Hunt sets out to investigate the decades old murder. and to find his father. The twists and turns, dead ends, and strands of hope lead from San Francisco’s hippie havens, to the tombs of the Catholic church and along the way, Hunt and his employees, again with the help of Juhle, follow clues that lead from Indiana to Jim Jones' religious killing ground of Jonestown, to the mountains of Mexico. Eventually, new murders are uncovered, or occur. One to a Hunt Club investigator.