A week ago, I wrote about The Hunter. Except I called it The Hunt Club originally. Never mind how the error happened, the important thing is I sent the review to the author. John Lescroart thanked me for the favorable comments, but had to point out that I was talking about the wrong book.  In his correction he informed me that the The Hunt Club is the first book in the Wyatt Hunt series. Red face, red hands. Never mind. Here we are.

Wyatt Hunt starts out as a CPS (Child Protective Services) case worker who is maneuvered out of his job by a venal and incompetent boss. He drifts around, living off his savings, trying to figure out what to do next. A lawyer friend invites him to do a little investigative work because she wants the operation off the books. He complies, and his PI agency, The Hunt Club, is born.

Before long, his CPS antennae start waggling when he encounters a double homicide that is somehow attached to a child custody dustup. There are a number of intense conflicts between Hunt and old friends who are in legal professions, several of them characters we’ve met in other JL novels, who are involved in the case in one way or another, and who want to work with him without sacrificing their integrity or screwing up the eventual prosecution. Push-pull. Tangled webs.

As usual, we’re weaving our way around San Francisco, and having fun keeping track of the all locations. One of the many things Lescroart gets right is the SF weather. Unpleasantly damp/cold/windy or some combination thereof about half the time. It almost becomes a character in itself. Anyway, in case we get claustrophobic in the city, John takes out to the Napa Valley and the famous annual wine auction for the book’s most violent action. Aside from the double homicide, that is, but we readers aren’t in the room for that.

The ending is bittersweet, and, as in many of the JL novels, leaves a number of loose ends. These are not neat packages all the time, these books, and they are the better for it.

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