The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn

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The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robin Leggett
Reviewed by Robin Leggett
Summary: When a 911 dispatcher takes a call from his 14-year-old daughter who was kidnapped seven years ago and is presumed dead, this sets off a desperate chase to find and rescue the girl. Dark, violent and thrilling.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Macmillan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0230755963

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Ian Hunt works as a dispatcher taking 911 calls in rural Texas. One day he takes a call from his 14 year old daughter. That would be enough to ruin your day in itself, but the daughter in question was kidnapped seven years ago, presumed dead. They have even held a funeral for her. That's really going to mess with your mind. What ensues is a desperate chase to find her once more before the kidnapper can escape or worse.

Ryan David Jahn's first two books were innovative and genre-stretching, but 'The Dispatcher' is more conventional crime fare. Initially I was a little disappointed at the lack of innovation compared with the previous two books, but the author's world remains gloriously dark and he retains an almost cinematic ear for dialogue. The pace builds throughout and, unlike much crime fiction, there is a strong sense of character development as well.

The story alternates between focus on Hunt, his daughter, the kidnapper and his wife and Hunt's cop friend, Diego.

There's plenty of graphic violence and it's certainly not a book for the squeamish. One scene in particular has a Tarantino-esque “Reservoir Dogs” moment. There's also some plenty of great descriptions: one character is described as 'shot-gunning curses like he bought a batch on sale at Wal-Mart'. There's also a recipe the most revolting sounding hangover remedy that I've ever heard (light beer, tomato juice, hot sauce, a dash of clam juice and one raw egg). I think I'll stick to the Nurofen if it's all the same, thanks.

Critically, Jahn allows the reader to have some understanding and even sympathy for the kidnappers' motives, while still siding with Hunt and his daughter Maggie. The tension builds leading to a gripping chase finale.

It might not be as audacious as his first two books but it's certainly a well plotted crime story.

If you haven't read Acts of Violence, then that's probably something that all fans of crime fiction should remedy.

Buy The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn at

Buy The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn at


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