Ian Hunt works as a 911-dispatcher for the police of Bulls Mouth (Texas), trying to save lives while he lets his own slowly disintegrate. But one day, towards the end of his shift, hunt receives a distress call from his daughter Maggie, who had been abducted 7 years earlier and never heard from since. Hunt’s only goal now is to bring Maggie back home.

This is a nerve-wracking, suspenseful story that makes us reflect about who we are during our daily lives in comparison to who we could become when we are down to our last hope, our last purpose. Some of us would stay within the limits established by law and follow the line, but others would go to extremes, crossing the line and ready to do anything at all. Ian Hunt is of the latter group, although he’s never tested his limits before. His daughter’s kidnapper, henry dean, is also of that group, but he knows how it feels to kill; he’s done it many times already.

On one side, Hunt is pushed towards violence out of love for his daughter, while on the other side, Dean has already been pushed there out of love for his wife, and he will continue in that direction because “She had stood by him for twenty-eight years, through drunken arrests and holes punched in the walls, through fist fights with her brother, through slaps and punches that were the cause of the fist fights with her brother (…)”.

The only problem I had with the story is a scene where Hunt meets one of Dean's brothers; I understood its pivotal importance --and also its violence-- inside the storyline but I felt it was a bit overdone. Even in a violent story, some restraint with the details might have been more convincing, either by only showing the aftermath or simply with a shorter scene. Up to that moment, I had been fully immersed in the story, but I was pulled back there.

It didn't take long before I was back in though, and aside from that scene, The Dispatcher works on many levels, especially where characters's motivations and focus are concerned. Jahn also brilliantly builds the crescendo of the suspense right from the start with the 911 distress call, all the way through a wild chase from Texas to California, up until the last bullet is fired. During the last chapter, as Hunt's breathing becomes laborious, the pace of the story quickens; every movement he makes tests his threshold of pain and makes himself another obstacle in his goal of saving his daughter. I even found myself gritting my teeth and grimacing a few times with him.

I've now added Ryan David Jahn to my list of must-read writers, and I think you might be doing the same very soon.

You can follow Ryan David Jahn on Twitter @ryandavidjahn and also visit his website 

March 2012

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that one scene didn't ruin your enjoyment of the book as a whole. Thanks for being on the tour!