Review: The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn

Title: The Dispatcher

Author: Ryan David Jahn

Published: Penguin, December 2011

Synopsis: The phone rings. It’s your daughter. She’s been dead for four months. So begins East Texas police dispatcher Ian Hunt’s fight to get his daughter back. The call is cut off by the man who snatched her from her bedroom seven years ago, and a basic description of the kidnapper is all Ian has to go on. What follows is a bullet-strewn cross-country chase from Texas to California along Interstate 10- a wild ride in a 1965 Mustang that passes through the outlaw territory of No Country for Old Men and is shot through with moments of macabre violence that call to mind the novels of Thomas Harris.

Status: Read on January 20, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Penguin/NetGalley}

My Thoughts:

I saw a review of The Dispatcher in my RSS feed at Jenn’s Book Shelves but since it was past the publication date I thought it would no longer be available. To my surprise it was still listed so I decided to request it anyway and to my surprise I was approved a few days later. It was both the premise and Jenn’s review that I found intriguing. A small town emergency dispatcher receives a call from a phone box, his daughter, who has been missing for seven years, is begging for his help. With single minded determination, Ian Hunt renews his search for his daughter, willing to do anything to bring her home.

From the first few pages, after Hunt receives the call, I was eager to know what had happened seven years ago and by then introducing Maggie’s point of view, the author had me hooked. There is a palpable sense of urgency as Hunt mobilises the police and Maggie is dragged screaming from the phone box, leaving the receiver dangling. Jahn then lets us into the mind of Henry, Maggie’s abductor – his fury at her escape, his fear at being caught and his twisted justification for kidnapping Maggie. The story unfolds between the three points of view of Ian, Maggie and Henry, overlapping at times to reveal the differing perspectives of the three, allowing us to follow their individual journeys.
Jahn reveals Hunt’s grief in the aftermath of his daughters disappearance – the break down of his marriage, his anger at his son who was babysitting her, the end of his career and the solace he found in a bottle. Hunt is incredibly sympathetic even as he crosses the line into vigilantism. He has been driven past the point of the rational, his focus narrowed to saving his daughter and making her captor pay.
Maggie is fourteen now, she has spent seven years in a dank basement with only an imaginary friend for company, grimly holding tight to the knowledge of who she is. Her aborted escape doesn’t dampen her spirit and while her strength is unlikely given the circumstances it is admirable and with every fibre of my being I was hoping she would escape.
With Henry’s perspective we learn about his own desperation to make his wife happy, the only redeeming feature the man has. It’s a fascinating look at motives that makes this man a monster, but still a human being.

The tension is unrelenting as Ian and the police try to determine the identity of Maggie’s captor, as Maggie looks for another opportunity to escape and Henry grows increasingly anxious about being caught. An explosion of violence starts the chase across the country, Henry leaving a trail of bodies in his wake while Hunt races to catch them with a bullet wound in his chest. The violence in this novel is not graphic exactly but is real and not for the faint of heart. Ian and Henry are both desperate men, Henry determined to escape, Ian to rescue his daughter at any cost, even his own life.

The Dispatcher is a gritty, dark thriller with a frantic, intense pace.  It is not a complex story but is nevertheless completely compelling and I couldn’t put it down.

Available to Purchase

@ Amazon I @ BookDepository

Thriller Genre

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenn's Bookshelves
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 06:04:01

    So glad you liked it!



  2. roro @roro is reading[rogier]
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 08:46:03

    sounds ‘fun’ lol
    tnx 4 reviewing



  3. Patty
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 09:49:54

    OOOH…it sounds scary good…



  4. Nikki-ann
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 07:55:23

    Sounds brilliant! Another one to add to my list! 🙂



  5. Angie S.
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 01:53:56

    oooohhh, sounds good! I’m adding it to my reserves now!



  6. DrDalim (@DrDalim)
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 21:11:40

    I do like a good Thriller so I will keep an eye out for this one. Thanks Shelley.



  7. Trackback: Thoughts on: The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn | Man of la Book

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