Your life is on the line...
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Book Links: Goodreads
So, I've been MIA for a couple months, thanks to a combination of busyness and laziness and falling out with reading. But I'm back (for how long, who knows, I'm a flighty buggar), and while I might not have been the most voracious reader in recent weeks, I did keep up with some of the series I'm in the middle of.
Enter The Caller, entry number eight to Carter's Robert Hunter series.
Released in February, I knew that when I jumped back on the reading and blogging bandwagons, a sadistic, clever, and terrifying thriller definitely had to be what I went for.
And went for I did.
Why I derive such enjoyment from this type of fiction while being an overly emotional coward I'll never know, but easing myself back in with The Caller has worked wonders. Carter never fails to create unique plots with psychological insanity and mind-bending detective work. Brutal and unforgiving, this instalment to the series further cements the author's sheer talent for criminal fiction.
After a tough week, Tanya Kaitlin is looking forward to a relaxing night in, but as she steps out of her shower, she hears her phone ring. The video call request comes from her best friend, Karen Ward. Tanya takes the call and the nightmare begins.
Karen is gagged and bound to a chair in her own living room. If Tanya disconnects from the call, if she looks away from the camera, he will come for her next, the deep, raspy, demonic voice at the other end of the line promises her.
As Hunter and Garcia investigate the threats, they are thrown into a rollercoaster of evil, chasing a predator who scouts the streets and social media networks for victims, taunting them with secret messages and feeding on their fear.
Plot - 5/5 Stars
Vicious; bloodthirsty; distinctive.
Three traits any good crime novel should have, and The Caller has them in spades. From the first cutting chapter, Chris Carter utilises his experience in psychology to create a chillingly real vision of depravity that entices with sickening seduction. Helpless against the pull to understand and dissect, the reader will face phenomenal plotting, mesmerising mystery, and the darkest of delights.
What keeps The Caller moving is its unflinching detective work and intricate situations. There are no dull moments. Each scene and sentence has a gravity that sucks you in.
From the killer's origins and reasoning to the clues the reader desperately tries to connect, Carter is adept at prodding your curiosity.
But just when you think this great crime novel is, well, great, a jaw-dropping, absolutely tremendous conclusion blindsides you. The author is a genius, no doubt about it, and the resolving revelations showcase undeniable intelligence.
I couldn't breathe for the last few chapters.
Woven throughout all this, and especially apparent at the end, are some themes that, while we see them all the time, for some reason an awful lot of people ignore them. Social media, like gravity, has its own ferocious pull, and advancements in technology have changed the way people communicate. Life is easier, but also more dangerous.
Be wary about where and when you use your wonderful technology; be mindful of not only your own privacy and safety, but other people's too.
Pace - 5/5 Stars
The Caller is an incredibly smooth experience, thanks in large part to the plot. We start big and move forward fairly quickly.
Throughout, for me, there are no lulls.
Characters - 4/5 Stars
Robert Hunter is a phenomenal protagonist. It's really that simple. A unique detective with a genius intellect and a passion for justice. But, wait, what's that I hear you say? Isn't that all crime protagonists? There sure are a lot of them, but not a lot reach the badassery that Hunter does. He can handle himself, but his talents lie in his mind, where he processes evidence and connects dots like no one ever. He can dissect you psychologically in no time at all and leave your secrets lying on the floor as you gape in awe.
Am I getting my love across, or what?
A consequence of this is that he outshines every other cast member pretty severely. Aside from a character introduced later in the novel, and the killer, everyone else is drowned by Robert's shadow (not that I minded much, but some might).
But, like I said, as the plot threads start to converge and The Caller's world broadens, a couple characters quickly climb the interesting ladder with some riveting psychological and emotional complexities.
Writing - 4/5 Stars
Overall, The Caller is simple, visually vivid, and smartly told.
Dialogue can sometimes feel a little too scripted, and if I have to read a character say 'As I said' one more time...
Overall - 4.5/5 Stars
The Caller is a psychological thriller that builds like a speeding bullet, and just as you prepare yourself for the impact, it explodes with nuclear proportions.
I'm really glad I started back with this book.
Hope you guys enjoy it too if you pick it up.
Hope this review doesn't suck because I'm rusty...
Previous Instalment: I Am Death
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