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on 17 July 2011
What makes a great thriller? For me it's a fast paced story draws which me in. Something with twists and turns which I hope will finally be resolved. Add a hero who is single-mindedly trying to do what is right. Ratchet up the tension and add a love element and you have "Hunter".

The action moves along very briskly. Each chapter is meticulously plotted and provides just the right amount of background detail. In fact, the action is so well plotted this could make a very good film -think 'The Bourne Identity' crossed with 'Dexter'.

The characters are all completely believable, even the minor parts. From start to finish the dialog is smart, snappy, convincing and funny. There were times when I was laughing out loud while reading. The main character (Dylan Hunter) has a few surprises in his past and revealing these makes him even more interesting.

For a first novel it's amazingly good and I'm very pleased there will be more.
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on 11 October 2011
I must say from the outset that I liked this debut novel. It is well-written with a well-developed plot and a good mystery element. Without giving the plot away, the story revolves around a mystery vigilante and a relationship between two unlikely parties.

Bidinotto is a vocal supporter of Victims of Crimes groups and argues that political expediency and the do-gooder community ensure that many prisoners are released prematurely only to re-offend. Implicitly, he seems to be comfortable with vigilante action. I'm not sure all readers will share that comfort level.

At the literary level, the book is held together by a number of coincidences and there is quite a bit which is over-the-top. I am not a big fan of either feature.

Overall, the novel kept my interest up throughout but, as I say, there are a couple of issues for readers to deal with.
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on 10 December 2012
A corrupt judge is startled awake in the early hours by a blinding light and the swish and thud of helicopter blades outside the bedroom of his palatial home. He goes to the window -and sees a Press helicopter with its searchlight trained on a corpse hanging from his flagpole. He recognises it as the body of a young criminal he wrongly released--to carry on his crime rampage.

In the corpse's mouth is a clipping from a newspaper article by a crusading journalist who campaigns against the early release of dangerous criminals by uncaring officials.

That is the thrust of this stand-out crime thriller.

The American justice system is seriously flawed. In order to avoid tedious trials which clog the courts and to speed things up, prosecutors and judges eagerly accept and encourage plea bargains. This means that a young man who rapes a girl and should get a long jail term is charged instead, for example, with indecent assault and gets an 18 months sentence. Because of the many ways in which crowded prisons manage to get rid of inmates, that rapist could serve only six months. He is out--to rape again.

There is institutionalised acceptance of what is known as the Father Flanagan myth--there is no such thing as a bad boy. In most states the legal system minimizes a child's crimes. They are usually not charged with the actual offence they committed.

But suddenly there is a dramatic escalation of events. These vicious criminals who have manipulated the system so that they gain early release, are executed and their corpses are given highly theatrical exposure to draw maximum public attention.

It is immediately clear to the police that a righteous vigilante is at work--an avenging killer who exterminates the murdering psychopaths and rapists who American society has shamefully let slip through its fingers.

The story explores police procedure as well as the murky waters of the CIA and it is very clear that the author knows what he is talking about. So we have a strong plot, fired by a sense of righteous indignation which motivates the vigilante. Even the police have a reluctant admiration for the vigilante's abhorrence of injustice, although they cannot approve of his methods.

There are many gripping thrillers. But HUNTER is elevated to a level of distinction by several virtues. One is the writing, which is multi-layered. Running parallel to the vigilante theme is a romance which blooms between the crusading journalist and a female CIA investigator.

This is not the normal contemporary literary liaison--some hurried rumpypumpy and a few monosyllabic exchanges. This is a real romance: their conversation is educated, informed, sensitive. They live in the grown-up world. They have real values. There is even (what a surprise!) a tenderness which evolves within their relationship and is affectingly described.

But there is another quite extraordinary aspect of this novel which gives it weight and documentary authority. This is the first fiction tale from Robert Bidinotto but he has already distinguished himself with his work as a judicial investigative journalist for the Readers' Digest and as the author of several books highlighting the flaws in the American legal system and what he describes as the "excuse industry" -which sympathises greatly with criminals but doesn't give a hoot for their victims.

Now, let us hear it from the mouth of the author himself: "If you think the presentation in HUNTER of criminals, outrages in the legal system and horrors inflicted on victims is in any way exaggerated, I will only say I wish. I hope that HUNTER helps to bring public attention to this enduring, despicable state of affairs and to bring to crime victims a measure of the justice owed to them by America's legal system."

Bidinotto says that the criminal histories in HUNTER are composites of many real individuals.

For six years the author was an investigative journalist for the Readers' Digest, specialising in "true Crime" stories.

He says: "Its major impact on me was to raise my awareness about the plight of crime victims and how they were routinely abused, ignored and further victimised by the criminal justice system."

If you believe in the concept of justice, you will love this book.--Prospero.

Rating: Five distinguished stars.
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on 14 December 2014
I skim sycophantic reviews of films, plays and books - then this: Hunter is a genre-bending novel - initially caused problems. But then there are no immutable rules in fiction.

I read this book in two sittings of a few hours each - yes, it's a decent length novel. Compelling. Couldn't put it down. So why four stars and not five?

In the first third of the book, sometimes it was difficult to establish point of view. I read one chapter three times and couldn't get it, so moved on. Several times, numerous paragraphs were taken up with vivid descriptions of buildings, contents, mode and style of dress etc., which contributed little to the story. Such descriptions were telling the reader, rather than subtle hints leaving the rest to the reader's imagination. Love interests weren't over-done, and were beautifully written. This was the initial difficulty before it clicked that this was really two genres in one.

Overall, as a debut novel, this was enthralling, gripping, fast-moving, punchy in style, and highly satisfactory. Characters were roundly developed. Will certainly buy the next.

Recommended.
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on 10 May 2016
An outstanding read - so much so that as soon as I finish writing this review I'm going online to purchase the next book in the series. Great characters, great storyline all put into perspective when you read Mr.Bidinotto's background and his reasons for writing this book. I sincerely hope that, somewhere out there, there is someone just like Dylan Hunter acting on behalf of those that have no say in the future of those that have caused them so much heartbreak, grief and sadness. Thank you for opening my eyes Robert Bidinotto.
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on 11 August 2013
A great debut novel from Robert Bidinotto, which introduces Dylan Hunter to the world. Well-written and enjoyable. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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on 28 August 2014
A fast paced crime thriller. Very enjoyable read and great plot. Robert Bidinotto writes extremely clearly and tells a great tale. Highly recommended.
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on 5 August 2013
I would highly recommend reading this book. Once I started it I found that I couldn't put I'd down looking forward to his next book!,
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on 3 October 2014
Literacy brilliance. Love Dylan and Annie
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on 14 October 2015
Not my taste
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