Length: 293 pages
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Patrick Bannister took only one small box from his mother’s house after her death. And what he found within tossed him into a sticky web of lies, deceit and secrets.
Nathan Kingsley had been kidnapped and murdered nearly thirty years ago. The loss of her son left Jean Kingsley mentally and emotionally broken. But detectives find the culprit – a repeat sex offender – with incriminating evidence in his apartment. A slam dunk trial and few years later, he dies on the electric chair.
But what Patrick found paints a different story. It puts his dead mother and her brother, a powerful senator, right in the middle of the case. It shows them to be responsible for the murder of the young boy. And Patrick knows what he needs to do.
But unearthing the truth isn’t as easy as he’d expected, especially when the supposedly buried past rears its ugly head. Someone wants the secrets to remain hidden, and he’ll do anything to make that happen. Up against an unknown enemy who is always a step ahead, Patrick realises that he’s no longer the hunter, but the hunted. And the one chasing him will not stop at any cost until he’s silenced everyone who comes close to the truth.
The Lion, the Lamb, the Hunted has all the necessary elements to be a good thriller. It’s got an interesting story, twists that you definitely won’t see coming, details that make you cringe and mystery that holds its own without being too predictable. It’s a fast page-turner and has one very interesting feature – it alternates between Patrick’s present and past. As this goes on, the man you are given at the beginning begins to take clearer form; you see him come into being. And that goes a long way in making him easy to relate to.
There’s also a good amount of gory and disturbing details that you would expect from a psychological thriller. It’ll mess with your head, if only slightly, and make you cringe occasionally. The twists come very unannounced and their unpredictability is a pleasant surprise at a time when readers have become nearly psychic.
But, the book does have one problem that diminishes its impact – it falls short almost consistently and continuingly. The story-telling falls just short of building the tension to the level required in a situation. As a result, the characters panic, but you feel almost nothing. This happens quite often and is magnified in the end – in a confrontation that is almost anticlimactic. All those parts leave you wanting a little more than you’re getting.
So, should you read The Lion, the Lamb, the Hunted? Definitely. It’s a good story with some great twists and that, in spite of its flaws, flows quite well. It certainly makes the cut to thriller but I don’t know if it will categorise as a psychological thriller. There are some disturbing scenes, vividly described, that will stay with you for a while, however short. So if you’re easily grossed out, then maybe skip this one.
Those of you who can tolerate slight macabre should definitely add The Lion, the Lamb, the Hunted to your list. Just like I’ve added Andrew E. Kaufman to mine. I’ll definitely read more of his work. And if you’re a fan of thriller, mystery and crime, you should give him a shot too.