Hello, everyone. Today I am reviewing The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn for TLC Book Tours. As always, I am provided with a copy of the book in return for my honest review.
After seven years, Ian Hunt’s daughter has been declared dead. She was abducted from her parents’ home seven years ago. Hunt works as a police dispatcher in a small town in East Texas. One day, while working at the dispatch desk, he receives an emergency call from a pay phone. It’s his daughter, who has managed to escape her captors. Hunt has just enough time during that phone call to establish that it is indeed his daughter before she is once again taken away by the man who abducted her.
That’s the opening sequence of this riveting thriller by Ryan David Jahn. The tension never stops in this story, which ultimately involves a gripping cross-country chase in pursuit of the man and woman who have Hunt’s daughter. I couldn’t put it down. Let me warn you; it can be bloody, violent and graphic but none of it is gratuitous. Ian Hunt is a fascinating character; a flawed human being whose marriage has ended, who is estranged from his other child, is full of regrets, and who will stop at nothing to get his daughter back. She was seven when she was abducted. She is now fourteen.
Maggie, the daughter, hears her father’s voice come through the pay phone receiver and gains a renewed determination to finally escape her captors. She never loses the absolute faith that he will rescue her.
Jahn is an enormously talented writer. The characters who populate this gripping mystery are fully realized. They are real people, with flaws, fears and weaknesses. We are allowed to follow the thought processes of Ian, Maggie and the man who abducted Maggie. Even the bad guy is written so fully and completely that we understand what has shaped him and what has brought him to this point in time.
Ian, who battles his own demons and has never fully recovered from the loss of Maggie, finds a new level of courage and strength as he relentlessly pursues the abductor. He will do whatever it takes to rescue her.
As someone who works in the theater and was an actress for years, I know that every character has to have an intention that fuels the action of the scene. Any actor worth his salt will analyze a scene and answer the question, “What do I want?” In this high-stakes thriller, those intentions couldn’t be more clear. Ian must find and rescue Maggie. Maggie must do everything she can to escape her abductor and find her father. The abductor must do everything he can to stop Ian and keep Maggie. And that is what propels this story.
I won’t give away anything else about this compelling novel. It’s a white-knuckled read. Jahn creates a vivid picture of the East Texas small town of Bulls Mouth and its inhabitants. What a gifted writer! I look forward to reading more of his work.
Let me add that I think this would make a great movie. It’s truly cinematic in its scope. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that it has been optioned by a movie producer.
If you like thrillers and can handle a sometimes graphic look at violence, you will truly enjoy this book. One of you will be lucky enough to win a copy of The Dispatcher, but you have to leave a comment on this post to be considered. I will draw the winner’s name on Saturday evening.
About the author: Ryan David Jahn won the Crime Writers Association debut novel prize for Good Neighbors (Penguin, 2011). He left school at sixteen to work in a record store and subsequently joined the army. Since 2004 he has worked in television and film. He grew up in Arizona, Texas and California and recently moved from Los Angeles to Louisville, Kentucky, where he plans to set his next novel.