Written by Arlene Hunt — Having written several books set in Ireland, this is the first time Arlene Hunt has located a story in the US, and here she takes on the serial killer sub-genre with some aplomb.
Jessie Conway, a high school teacher, is thrust into the nightmare of a high school shooting. Proclaimed a hero for facing down the shooters, Jessie soon begins to shun the media spotlight, overwhelmed by guilt over her actions that day. Locking herself away at home, she insulates herself from the world outside.
Watching on with interest is Caleb Switch, a serial killer with a twist. He enjoys the hunt, so kidnaps women, before setting them loose in the woods for him to hunt down and kill. Looking for a new challenge, Switch sees Jessie Conway as the perfect prey.
The Chosen has a spectacular opening few chapters, and whilst it is nigh on impossible to maintain such pace, Hunt does deftly create an interesting take on the serial killer angle. The setting is described excellently, with the author’s quite obvious love of the area apparent throughout.
The book does suffer from a lull in the middle. With such a strong opening, it can be the case with this type of novel. Towards the end it does become a page-turner once again, and is immensely readable. However, whilst the first rule of reading fiction is ‘suspend your disbelief’, there are few instances of coincidences that seem too contrived in the last third of the book, detracting from what is otherwise fine writing.
Overall, it’s a solid story, with some skilful plotting, and excellent set-pieces. A good read, I’d recommend you grab a copy!
CFL Rating: 4 Stars