Hunter by Jack Heath
Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760527082.
(Age: Adult/Senior secondary) Highly recommended. Themes: Death, Cannibalism, Humour, Detective story, Texas, Riddles. Waiting for the next body, Timothy needs a quiet moment in the bush before the delivery but stumbles over a body hidden in the undergrowth. A torch beam shows someone is searching, so he hoists the body over his shoulder and stows it in his car, turning back home before keeping his appointment. He has taken a bite from this body's arm so must hide it before it is seen and he is undone. He has kept his peculiar perversion secret until now and working for crime boss, Charlie Warner means that he can disappear her bodies while satisfying his particular urge.
The tension between his urge and the fear of being discovered underpins the story and told with such delicious humour, readers cannot help but laugh loudly edged with a modicum of guilt.
The second in this highly readable crime series reveals Jack Heath's mastery of the macabre, as he delves into Blake's mind, ashamed and confronted by what he does, yet unable to control himself.
Heath says that in writing children's books he kept aside the really disturbing things he thought about for Hangman, the first outing for Timothy Blake.
The moral dilemma makes this series tower over other crime stories: Blake is a fascinating character, always on the edge of being caught, worrying about his own mortality doing what he does, concerned about what other people would think if they knew.
And in working with Thistle comes another dilemma: sex brings out his craving, and to eat the person to whom he is making love is not what he wants. He loves this woman and there are only so many excuses he can offer for the relationship not proceeding.
In his role as consultant he is again asked to partner Thistle in uncovering what has happened to a local professor, but while investigating his disappearance, another report comes in.
The missing presumed dead list grows, and Blake is aware that he has a vital piece of evidence in his freezer, the body of one of the missing.
How it all pans out makes exciting, scary, confronting reading, but totally entertaining, and with Thistle's disappearance, the possibility of a third story seems something to anticipate with relish.