Huntress Moon is the first in the ‘Huntress’ series of five books, three of which are published and two are to come. Huntress Moon has a cracking storyline and two fascinating main characters. It is the first novel I have read by this author and I thought that it was utterly brilliant. At the moment it stands as my favourite book of 2015, for various reasons, some of which I will explain below.
FBI Agent Matthew Roarke is out to solve a number of murders. One of these involves a colleague of his who has been working undercover. The crimes all have one thing in common: a woman is seen just before the event occurs, and descriptions of her coincide. Roarke and his colleagues are determined to establish whether the woman is the perpetrator of the crimes or whether her appearance is coincidental. A number of possibilities arise.
Sokoloff weaves aspects of developmental psychology and criminology into the narrative as Roarke – who has had profiling experience with the FBI – tries to establish whether the woman is a paid assassin, a serial killer or something else. She has a number of interesting characteristics which I will leave you to discover when you read the book. It is these these which makes the ‘Huntress’ books unique, in my opinion. The author also makes reference to moon cycles (hence the title) to create an intriguing, chilling serial killer in the ‘Huntress’. Her chapters are told in the present tense, while Roarke’s are narrated in the past. I thought this worked well. The present tense ones are immediate and involving.
Soon into the investigation things get tense for Roarke and he is forced to review events in his own past which he has tried to forget. This is quite a common crime trope but for two good reasons: it is true to life and it works. In Huntress Moon it raises the stakes for Roarke and increases jeopardy and conflict. I really liked his character and was rooting for him.
I found this book gripping from the first sentence and deeply unsettling. As we learn about the characters, they all emerge as complex and multi-faceted, all with their own flaws, passions and redeeming qualities. For me, the ‘Huntress’ is the stand-out of the two main characters, but perhaps this is because female characters can be so hard to get right and make ‘fresh’.
Sokoloff’s language and writing are gorgeous. Descriptions of San Francisco and the other US locations are vivid and rich, and, in places, very unusual. It is also as if you are ‘there’ in the story, watching things unfold. Character descriptions are sharp and the plotting is ingenious. When a book is part of a series, endings can be problematic. Not so here. I shall definitely be reading the next four books in the series.
My copy was obtained from NetGalley. Many thanks to author and publisher.
Vicky Newham © 2015