Former homicide detective Harlan Donnally has offered to help Judge Ray McMullin by looking into a killing that took place twenty years ago. McMullin presided over the case and sentenced Israel Dominguez to death. But now, as the execution day draws near, the judge is questioning the sentence. And as Donnally gets deeper into the Norteno and Sureno gang wars, he starts to question whether Dominguez even committed the crime at all.
Night Is the Hunter by Steven Gore is part of a series of thrillers that feature Donnally, but it stands alone (I haven't read any of the other books in the series and didn't feel I missed anything). It's an intriguing mixture of criminal investigation, legal interpretation and personal struggles, as Donnally worries about his father who is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's. Gore, who has a background as a private investigator, clearly knows his stuff about law and crime, and incorporates authentic details throughout the story.
As far as the characters go, Donnally is a genuine guy who is determined to find the truth ~ to ease McMullin's mind and to help ensure justice really has been served in the sentencing of Dominguez. The inner workings of the two gangs, their histories, and the impact the gangs have on the men and families involved with them seemed quite realistic and led me to feel for some of the characters who are technically bad guys.
The pace of the story was quick, although some of the legal details do take some time to digest. Donnally's father was a bit of an odd character, and I expect perhaps there is more to his story in previous novels in this series. His portion of the storyline provided a bit of a break from the criminal investigation, but wasn't my favorite part.
Overall, this was an engaging thriller that made me think and care about the characters. If you enjoy crime fiction and legal thrillers, I definitely recommend Night is the Hunter.
My rating: 4/5
Visit Steven Gore on his website and on Facebook.
This review was written based on a copy of Night is the Hunter that I received from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Visit more stops on this book tour.