The Silent Places
Review: In a politically motivated move to "punish" him for taking a stand against the deputy chief, St. Louis homicide detective George Hastings is assigned to a protection detail for a local senator — one that may involve protecting him from a man from his past out to kill him — in The Silent Places, the fourth mystery in this series by James Patrick Hunt.
Hastings hates the assignment at first. But he becomes more intrigued when the senator, Alan Preston, who initially requested protection, suddenly decides he doesn't need it — even after Hastings pursues a man with a sniper rifle, clearly targeting the senator, getting hit himself in the process. Preston is a potential candidate for President but was once a district attorney, who prosecuted former CIA agent John Reese as a traitor, a man who has just escaped from prison with revenge on his mind. Hastings believes Reese is the sniper but Preston disagrees, saying Reese isn't a threat, and ultimately demanding the detective be removed from his protection detail. Hastings doesn't give up easily, and takes the initiative to track down Reese himself.
The Silent Places is an exceptionally well-crafted suspense novel, one with deftly developed characters that span a wide range of emotions. The narrative basically alternates between the two hunters, Hastings hunting Reese and Reese hunting Preston. But there are others in the mix, including a well-financed private security group that may have ties to both Reese and Preston. A mutual respect ultimately develops between Hastings and Reese, one that adds depth to the story; when they finally meet face to face, the moment is rather bittersweet. Though the reader is cognizant to all the proceedings, the cat-and-mouse aspect is nicely played out, the author maintaining a high level of tension throughout. An unnecessary prologue (depicting Hastings as a hunter) and some moralizing towards the end are at most minor quibbles for this fine thriller.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Silent Places for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), June 2009
ISBN-13: 9780312545789; ISBN-10: 0312545789
Location(s) referenced in The Silent Places: St. Louis, Missouri
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The Silent Places by James Patrick Hunt — A George Hastings Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 2010
List Price: $25.99