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The Betrayers    by James Patrick Hunt order for
by James Patrick Hunt
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In this intricate new thriller, author James Patrick Hunt proves he is a top-notch crime novelist who is more than ready for the genre's prime time.

The Betrayers includes within its labyrinthine plot a colorful cast of characters: a volatile mixture of law enforcement officials, run-of-the-mill wise guys, cold-blooded killers, innocent and not-so-innocent victims, and one world-weary hero who seems to be very nearly in over his head.

When the nonstop action of The Betrayers begins, two country deputies are murdered in St. Louis. Veteran homicide detective George Hastings and his young sergeant Robert Cain get tagged to investigate the case.

Soon, Hastings and Cain find themselves looking into what seems to have been a complicated collision of undercover narcotics operations and crime family rivalries. In fact, the cops' early theory of the case suggests that a loser doing time in prison may have ordered the killings; that theory looks more attractive (and even more dark and dangerous) as time goes on, especially when information suggests that a highly paid hit-man may have been involved.

But when the hit-man begins targeting others who seem unconnected to the case, Hastings soon realizes that he needs to reassess everything. After all, some people you can trust (because they are so obviously trustworthy), and some people you can never trust (which is also obvious because they are so clearly deceptive and dangerous).

However, the bottom-line for Hastings is this: Who really are the bad guys? It sure would be easier if everyone wore one of two name tags (YOU CAN TRUST ME or I AM DANGEROUS). Unfortunately, none of the people Hastings meets in the case have name tags! And that's a big problem because any little mistake can be (and, in fact, is) deadly.

Well, if you haven't read James Patrick Hunt's work before, you'll wonder what you've been waiting for when you treat yourself to The Betrayers. Then you'll find out why so many people (readers and reviewers) are saying so many good things about this author. So read The Betrayers. It's exciting. It's surprising, And it's good.

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