I enjoyed “Huntress Moon” from beginning to end. It’s original, genre-savvy, character-driven and kept me engaged and guessing all the way through.
The premise sounds conventional enough, a Joe Friday, tightly-buttoned up FBI agent leading a manhunt to find someone he thinks caused the death of one of his agents, except that this is a womanhunt and he’s not entirely sure what she did to cause the man’s death.
The FBI guy is so old-school noir that it took me a while to realise the story was set in this decade. I thought Andrea Sokoloff did a great job in painting a picture of a man who sees himself as introspective, enlightened, skilled at reading people and dedicated to doing his job well, while still letting me see that the man has no awareness of how irrepressibly male his perceptions and assumptions are.
Twisting itself around the story of the male hunter, like ivy on a tree, is the story of a deadly, driven woman who kills men, sometimes subtly, sometimes with a great deal of blood and keeps moving. This woman, the Huntress of the title, isn’t the typical step-inside-the-mind-of-a-killer-and-be-glad-you-don’t-live-there kind of character. Even though we’re right there when she does some of the killing, she remains much harder to read and much more intriguing than that.
As the Huntress follows her own blood-strewn path and the FBI man plays catch-up, what kept me reading was a desire to know two things: why the Huntress does what she does and what Special Agent I’m-so-straight-I’d-break-rather-than-bend will do when he finds out.
I won’t go into the plot here other than to say that it’s well constructed, full of surprises and grim without ever being exploitative.
The book works as a stand-alone novel, reaching a satisfying conclusion but leaves the door open for the dance between the straight-man and the woman-who-kills to continue. So far there have been four books in the series. I’ll certainly be reading the next one.
Alexandra Sokoloff also writes supernatural novels and I’ll be giving them a try as well.
I recommend listening to the audiobook. R. C. Bray‘s performance is close to perfect and his range of voices is impressive. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.