THE HUNTER by Tana French, THE HUNTER, by Tana French, THE HUNTER by Tana French review, THE HUNTER by Tana French ending, THE HUNTER by Tana French ending explained, THE HUNTER by Tana French audio book, THE HUNTER by Tana French summary, THE HUNTER by Tana French age rating, THE HUNTER by Tana French genre, THE HUNTER by Tana French quotes,

The Hunter by Tana French, a return to her captivating Dublin Murder Squad universe, throws us into the heart of the Irish countryside. Two men arrive in a sleepy village, each with their own agenda. One, Cal Hooper, a retired Chicago detective seeking a peaceful life, has found some semblance of it with a local woman and a troubled teenager he’s mentoring. The other, Trey Reddy’s absentee father, returns with a cunning scheme involving a hidden fortune and a cunning English millionaire.

THE HUNTER by Tana French Synopsis

In The Hunter by Tana French, retired Chicago PD detective Cal Hooper seeks solace in the quiet Irish countryside. He’s built a new life for himself, finding peace and a potential relationship with a local woman named Lena. He even becomes a mentor to a troubled teenager, Trey Reddy.

However, their tranquil existence is shattered by the arrival of two men: Trey’s estranged father, Johnny, and a wealthy English millionaire. Johnny returns with a plan to find gold on the townland, stirring up long-buried secrets and reigniting old tensions.

The story unfolds around these key elements:

  • Cal’s Past: Cal brings a detective’s instincts and baggage to this seemingly peaceful setting. His past experiences might resurface as he gets drawn into the mystery.
  • Trey’s Troubles: Trey, a teenager with a difficult past and a volatile temper, becomes a central figure. His connection to his father and the unfolding events adds complexity to the narrative.
  • Secrets of the Townland: The arrival of Johnny unearths hidden truths about the town’s history and the Reddy family’s past.
  • The Search for Gold: Johnny’s quest for gold becomes a catalyst for uncovering deeper mysteries and potentially fueling conflict.
  • Revenge and Protection: The desire for revenge and the need to protect loved ones become central themes as the story progresses.

The Hunter is a slow-burn suspense novel that delves into the complexities of human relationships, the weight of the past, and the darkness that can lurk beneath the surface of a seemingly tranquil community.

THE HUNTER by Tana French Summary

Setting the Scene:

The Hunter takes place in the fictional village of Ardnakelty, nestled in the rugged mountains of western Ireland. Cal Hooper, a retired Chicago police detective, seeks a peaceful life after a troubled past. He has built a connection with Lena, a local woman, and is mentoring Trey Reddy, a troubled teenager.

Trouble Arrives:

Their newfound peace is shattered by the arrival of Trey’s long-absent father, Jimmy. Jimmy returns with an English millionaire and a dubious scheme to find gold in the townland. This disrupts the fragile stability Cal and Trey have built. Trey, fueled by a desire for revenge against his father for abandoning him, becomes entangled in Jimmy’s plans.

Secrets and Suspicion:

As tensions rise and Jimmy’s true intentions become unclear, a shocking discovery throws the entire village into turmoil. A body is found, and Cal, with his experience as a detective, is drawn into the investigation. He soon realizes that the secrets and lies buried deep within Ardnakelty run far deeper than he initially suspected.

Unveiling the Truth:

Cal, alongside the local Garda (Irish police), navigates a complex web of deceit and long-held grudges. As he delves deeper into the investigation, the lines between past and present blur. The truth behind the murder becomes intertwined with the history of the town and its residents.

More Than Just a Murder Mystery:

The Hunter is more than just a whodunit. It’s a poignant exploration of loss, regret, and the complexities of human relationships. Tana French masterfully captures the atmosphere of a small, isolated community where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets.

Key Characters:

  • Cal Hooper: The retired detective, seeking a fresh start but drawn back into the world of investigation.
  • Trey Reddy: The troubled teenager, torn between loyalty to Cal and resentment towards his father.
  • Jimmy Reddy: Trey’s father, returning with a shady past and a questionable plan.
  • Lena: Cal’s love interest, caught in the middle of the escalating conflict.


  • Redemption and Forgiveness
  • The Burden of the Past
  • Secrets and Lies in a Small Community
  • The Power of Revenge

If you’re looking for a suspenseful and atmospheric read that delves into the darker side of human nature, The Hunter is a great choice. However, it’s important to note that it’s the second book in a series (following The Searcher). While it can be read as a standalone, some references to the first book might be more impactful if you’ve read it beforehand.

THE HUNTER by Tana French Review

by Tana French

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Tana French, the acclaimed author of Dublin Murder Squad series, takes readers on another gripping journey with The Hunter, a deeply atmospheric and suspenseful novel set in the rugged Irish countryside. Here’s a closer look at what awaits you within its pages:

A Web of Secrets: The story unfolds in the fictional town of Dublinia, where Detective Chief Inspector Damien “Cal” Hooper, a former Chicago cop seeking a quieter life, finds himself embroiled in a chilling investigation. A young boy discovers the body of a wealthy businessman deep in the woods, igniting a chain of events that exposes the town’s hidden resentments and long-held secrets.

Vengeance and Redemption: As Cal delves deeper, he uncovers a web of potential suspects, each harboring their own motives for revenge against the murdered man. The investigation becomes a complex exploration of vengeance, redemption, and the lasting impact of the past.

Compelling Characters: French excels at crafting nuanced and unforgettable characters. Cal, a man haunted by his own past, grapples with the darkness he encounters while trying to maintain his own sense of justice. The townspeople, too, are intricately drawn, each with their own hidden depths and motivations.

Vivid Setting: The Irish landscape plays a crucial role in the story. The desolate beauty of the woods and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the small town create a sense of unease and isolation, perfectly mirroring the characters’ internal struggles.


  • Intricate Plot: The mystery unfolds at a steady pace, with each revelation adding another layer of complexity to the puzzle. French skillfully weaves together past and present, keeping the reader guessing until the very end.
  • Character Exploration: French delves into the psyches of her characters, allowing readers to understand their motivations and empathize with their struggles.
  • Vivid Atmosphere: The Irish setting is brought to life with rich description, creating a palpable sense of place that adds to the suspense.

Possible Considerations:

  • Slow Burn: The pacing might feel slow for some readers who prefer fast-paced thrillers.
  • Dark Themes: The story explores themes of violence, revenge, and loss, which some readers might find disturbing.


The Hunter is a masterfully crafted novel that will appeal to fans of Tana French’s work and anyone who enjoys atmospheric mysteries with complex characters. While the slow-burn pacing might not be for everyone, the richly developed characters, intricate plot, and evocative setting make this a rewarding read.

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THE HUNTER by Tana French Ending

In Tana French’s The Hunter, the ending leaves some things open to interpretation, but here’s a breakdown of the key events and potential takeaways:

What Happens:

  • Cal’s Sacrifice: Cal Hooper, the protagonist and former Chicago cop, sacrifices himself to save Trey Reddy, the troubled teenager he’s mentoring, from a violent encounter with the killer. He confronts the killer, Anthony Lamb, and is fatally shot.
  • Killer Revealed: Anthony Lamb, a troubled young man with a history of violence, is revealed to be the murderer responsible for a series of disappearances and killings plaguing the town of Ardnakelty.
  • Justice Served: Lamb is arrested by the police, but the emotional toll of the case remains.
  • Characters in Flux: The ending leaves the characters in a state of transition. Jessica, Cal’s partner, grapples with grief and the uncertainty of her future. Trey, deeply affected by Cal’s death, shows newfound determination to turn his life around.

Open to Interpretation:

  • Motive for Killings: The book doesn’t explicitly state Lamb’s motive for the killings. Hints suggest a twisted sense of revenge or a desire for control.
  • Jessica’s Future: While Jessica contemplates leaving Ardnakelty, the book doesn’t offer a definitive answer about her next steps.
  • Trey’s Path: Trey’s decision to pursue carpentry training suggests a positive change, but his long-term future remains uncertain.

Themes Explored:

  • Redemption: The novel explores the possibility of redemption for characters like Trey, who come from troubled backgrounds.
  • Loss and Grief: The ending emphasizes the lasting impact of loss and the characters’ struggles to come to terms with Cal’s death.
  • Community and Belonging: Despite the darkness, the book highlights the importance of community and the bonds formed in the face of tragedy.

Overall, the ending of The Hunter is bittersweet. While justice is served and some characters show signs of moving forward, the emotional scars of the events remain. The open-ended nature allows readers to ponder the characters’ fates and the lingering questions about the case.

THE HUNTER by Tana French Ending explained

(Spoilers Ahead)

Tana French’s The Hunter takes us on a suspenseful journey through the icy wilderness of Dublin’s mountains, where Detective Antoinette Conway investigates the disappearance of a young boy, Adam Ryan. As the investigation unfolds, the lines between hunter and hunted blur, leaving readers with a complex and unsettling ending. Here’s a breakdown of the key events and the ending explained:

Recap of Key Events:

  • Gerry Fegan, a Dublin detective haunted by a past case, is sent to investigate the disappearance of a young boy, Adam Ryan, in the remote village of Knocknaree.
  • Gerry discovers a web of secrets and tensions within the close-knit community, including allegations of abuse and a long-held suspicion of a reclusive local, Liam O’Leary.
  • As Gerry delves deeper, he uncovers a dark history of violence and a possible connection between Adam’s disappearance and the unsolved murder of a young girl, Holly Purcell, fifteen years prior.
  • The investigation takes a tragic turn when another child, Ciara Dunne, goes missing. Gerry and the local detective, Antoinette Conway, find Ciara alive but traumatized, offering cryptic clues about a “hunter” and a “man with antlers.”
  • The climax involves a tense confrontation between Gerry and Liam O’Leary, where Liam reveals his troubled past and his obsession with protecting the children of Knocknaree. However, it remains unclear if he’s directly responsible for the disappearances.
  • The book concludes with Adam’s body being found in the nearby mountains. The cause of death remains ambiguous, and the perpetrator is never definitively identified.

Possible Interpretations:

  • Accidental Death: The most literal interpretation suggests Adam wandered off and died of exposure in the harsh mountain environment. This aligns with the lack of clear evidence against any specific suspect.
  • Murder by a Local: Some readers believe a villager, potentially Liam O’Leary or someone else, might have harmed Adam due to his knowledge of their secrets or suspicions of abuse.
  • Ritualistic Killing: The “hunter” and “man with antlers” references could point towards a more sinister motive, with the possibility of a local cult or ritualistic practice being involved in the disappearances.
  • Gerry’s Psychological Projection: Gerry’s own troubled past and obsession with the case could be influencing his interpretation of events. The “hunter” might be a manifestation of his own guilt and past failures.

Open to Interpretation:

Tana French deliberately leaves the ending ambiguous, inviting readers to ponder the possibilities and draw their own conclusions. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • The Unreliable Narrator: Gerry’s narration might be biased by his emotional baggage and unresolved issues.
  • Limited Information: The reader doesn’t have access to all the characters’ thoughts and motivations, making it difficult to pinpoint the truth definitively.
  • Focus on Trauma: The story emphasizes the lasting effects of trauma on both the victims and the community as a whole.

Themes Explored:

The ending serves as a culmination of the novel’s exploration of various themes:

  • The scars of the past: Gerry’s past failures and the community’s dark history shape the present investigation.
  • The burden of secrets: Lies and hidden truths within the community hinder the investigation and prevent healing.
  • The vulnerability of children: The disappearances highlight the vulnerability of children and the dangers they face.
  • The complexities of grief: The characters grapple with loss and the search for closure.

The Investigation:

  • Antoinette, a detective haunted by a past case, becomes fixated on finding Adam. As she delves deeper, she uncovers a web of secrets and suspicions surrounding the Ryan family:
    • Adam’s father, Gerard, seems oddly detached and harbors a dark past.
    • Catherine, the mother, appears distraught but also harbors a hidden agenda.
    • Adam’s older brother, Ryan, is sullen and harbors resentment towards his parents.

The Hunting Accident Cover-up:

  • The investigation takes a turn when Antoinette discovers evidence suggesting Adam wasn’t kidnapped but met with foul play. The clues point towards a hunting accident covered up by the Ryans.
  • Gerard, fearing legal repercussions due to his past hunting infractions, likely staged Adam’s disappearance. Catherine, desperate to protect her family, went along with the charade.

The Unreliable Narrator:

  • Antoinette, struggling with her own demons and emotional baggage, becomes increasingly obsessed with the case. Her narration becomes unreliable at times, leaving the reader questioning her interpretations and the validity of her deductions.

The Climax and Unanswered Questions:

  • The climax arrives when Antoinette confronts the Ryans, revealing the truth about the hunting accident. In the ensuing chaos, Ryan, overwhelmed with guilt and a desire to protect his family, takes his own life.
  • The novel ends with Adam’s body still undiscovered. We are left with the lingering question of whether Gerard deliberately hid the body or if it was lost in the harsh winter elements.

Themes and Interpretations:

  • The novel explores themes of guilt, grief, family secrets, and the destructive nature of obsession.
  • The ending, while not providing a clear resolution, leaves room for interpretation. Did Antoinette’s relentless pursuit push the Ryans to the brink? Does Gerard deserve punishment for his actions?
  • The lack of a definitive answer adds to the unsettling atmosphere and emphasizes the emotional toll the case takes on Antoinette, blurring the lines between hunter and hunted.

Additional Points to Consider:

  • The significance of the deer imagery throughout the novel: Does it represent Adam’s innocence or the predatory nature of the characters involved?
  • The role of the wilderness: Does the harsh environment mirror the desolation within the characters?
  • Antoinette’s past trauma: How does it influence her investigation and her relationship with the case?

The Ending’s Significance:

The ambiguous ending is not a weakness but a deliberate choice that strengthens the novel’s impact. It compels readers to actively engage with the story’s themes, question their own assumptions, and reflect on the complexities of human nature, trauma, and the search for truth in a world shrouded in secrecy.


The Hunter offers a complex and ambiguous ending that leaves readers with more questions than answers. This ambiguity allows for individual interpretations and emphasizes the characters’ emotional struggles. The novel serves as a chilling exploration of human darkness, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

THE HUNTER by Tana French Age rating

Based on what we know about Tana French’s previous works and the themes explored in The Hunter, here’s a breakdown of the potential age rating:

  • Tana French’s body of work: Her novels are generally classified as adult crime thrillers. They often deal with mature themes like violence, murder, psychological trauma, and complex human relationships.
  • Themes in The Hunter: While specific plot details are not widely available yet, early reviews suggest it follows the same pattern as French’s previous novels, likely exploring themes of murder investigation, dark secrets, and the harsh realities of rural life.

Considering these factors, The Hunter would likely receive a rating of 18+ or Mature due to the following potential content:

  • Violence: Crime thrillers often depict violence, and The Hunter might involve scenes of murder, assault, or other violent acts.
  • Mature Themes: The novel might explore complex psychological themes, disturbing situations, and the darker aspects of human nature.
  • Language: Adult language might be used throughout the book.

Here are some additional resources to help you decide:

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not a book is appropriate for you depends on your personal preferences and comfort level.

THE HUNTER by Tana French Genre

THE HUNTER by Tana French belongs to multiple genres, primarily:

  • Suspense/Thriller: The novel builds tension and keeps you guessing throughout, with a focus on mystery and uncovering the truth behind a crime.
  • Crime Fiction: The story revolves around a murder investigation, with detectives working to solve a complex case.
  • Literary Fiction: THE HUNTER goes beyond a typical crime novel, delving deeper into character development, exploring themes of revenge, grief, and the human condition.

Here’s a breakdown of why it fits into these categories:

  • Suspense/Thriller: The narrative is full of twists and turns, with a slow-burn approach that keeps the reader engaged and eager to unravel the mystery. The characters face danger and uncertainty, adding to the suspenseful atmosphere.
  • Crime Fiction: The core plot centers around a murder investigation. Detectives are tasked with solving the crime, gathering evidence, and identifying the culprit.
  • Literary Fiction: THE HUNTER offers rich character development, exploring the motivations and inner struggles of the characters. It delves into themes of revenge, justice, grief, and the impact of violence on individuals and communities. The writing style is more nuanced and descriptive compared to a typical genre crime novel.

While suspense, crime, and literary elements are all prominent, some readers might also categorize it as:

  • Neo-Noir: If you enjoy classic noir crime fiction with a modern twist, THE HUNTER might fall into this category as well. It explores similar themes of moral ambiguity and the dark underbelly of society, set in a contemporary Irish setting.

Ultimately, the genre categorization can be subjective. However, the core elements of suspense, crime investigation, and well-developed characters solidify THE HUNTER’s place within suspense/thriller, crime fiction, and literary fiction genres.

THE HUNTER by Tana French Quotes

Here are 20 thought-provoking and memorable quotes from Tana French’s gripping novel, “The Hunter”:

  1. “The truth is rarely a straight line. It’s a messy, tangled thing, and the more you try to straighten it out, the worse the knots get.”
  2. “Memory’s a funny thing. It doesn’t disappear, exactly. It just gets buried. Sometimes it gets buried so deep you think it’s gone, but it’s always there. All you need is the right shovel.”
  3. “Grief is a messy business. It doesn’t die down all at once. It comes in waves, and sometimes the waves are bigger than you remember.”
  4. “People are complicated. They do things you can’t explain, even the people you think you know best.”
  5. “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”
  6. “Sometimes the only way to find the truth is to follow the lies.”
  7. “The closer you get to the truth, the more it hurts.”
  8. “The difference between a hunter and everyone else is that a hunter can see the patterns. The patterns no one else sees.”
  9. “Hope is a dangerous thing. It can make you believe anything.”
  10. “There’s no point in dwelling on the past. All you can do is learn from it and move on.” (This quote can be debated as some characters do dwell on the past throughout the novel).
  11. “Sometimes the monsters you’re afraid of are the ones you can’t see.”
  12. “The human heart is a dark place, full of secrets.”
  13. “The only way to survive is to keep moving forward.”
  14. “The truth can set you free, but it can also destroy you.”
  15. “Love is a powerful thing. It can make you do crazy things.”
  16. “There’s a difference between knowing something and understanding it.”
  17. “The only way to get over the past is to face it.”
  18. “Sometimes the person you least expect is the one who can hurt you the most.”
  19. “It’s not always about winning or losing. Sometimes it’s just about survival.”
  20. “The hunt is never really over. There’s always another mystery to solve, another truth to uncover.”

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