Hour of the Hunter (Brandon Walker and Diana Ladd Series #1)

Hour of the Hunter (Brandon Walker and Diana Ladd Series #1)

2.9 27
by J. A. Jance

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Diana Ladd's life changed forever on the day her husband committed suicide after being accused of murdering a young Native American girl. Now his former partner is out of prison, and he's his wake. "A breakneck pace propels this novel to its finale".--Publishers Weekly.  See more details below


Diana Ladd's life changed forever on the day her husband committed suicide after being accused of murdering a young Native American girl. Now his former partner is out of prison, and he's his wake. "A breakneck pace propels this novel to its finale".--Publishers Weekly.

Editorial Reviews

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“A gripping thriller.”
San Francisco Examiner
“Reminiscent of Tony Hillerman’s mysteries, Kiss of the Bees’ strongest point is deftly defined characters.”
Bellingham Herald
“Jance triumphs.”
Mostly Murder
“Riveting suspense...Each of Mrs. Jance’s characters is complete and realistic, even the ones who make your skin crawl.”
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Searing psychological suspense.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A graphic, horrifying journey into terror and torture.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of the J. P. Beaumont series moves into new territory with this mystery that draws on Native American life and lore. Six years in Arizona State Prison have turned convicted rapist/murderer Andrew Carlisle into a killing machine. Along with his student Gary Ladd, former professor Carlisle was accused of killing a Papago Indian girl, and Ladd committed suicide rather than face the charges. Shortly thereafter, when crucial evidence in the case disappeared, Ladd's widow, Diana, and Rita Antone, the murdered girl's grandmother, pressed for Carlisle's conviction. Planning revenge on those who put him behind bars, the newly released sociopath goes on a murder spree as he tracks down Diana. Warned by the clairvoyant Antone of Carlisle's impending assault, Diana marshals her defense forces--including a blind Papago medicine man and a detective with a score to settle with the killer. Leaving a trail of corpses in his wake, cross-dresser Carlisle eludes the police and prepares to victimize his own family. Jance's novel delivers suspense through richly textured layers of flashbacks and gritty characterization, and, although the relationship between the mystical Papago folklore and the rest of the plot is not as clearly developed as readers might wish, it is an intriguing thematic focus for Jance and her fans. (Nov.)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Brandon Walker and Diana Ladd Series, #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt

Hour of the Hunter
A Novel of Suspense

Chapter One

The room was square and hot, and so was the man sitting at the gray -- green metallic desk. Sweat poured off his jowls and trickled down the inside of his shirt. Finally, Assistant Superintendent Ron Mallory yanked open his collar and loosened his tie. God, it was hot -- too hot to work, too hot to think.

Through his narrow window, Mallory gazed off across the green expanse of cotton fields that surrounded the Arizona State Prison at Florence. It was June, and irrigated cotton thrived beneath a hazy desert sky with its blistering noontime sun. Maybe cotton could grow in this ungodly heat, but people couldn't.

Ron Mallory hated his barren yellow office with its view of razor ribbon -- topped fences punctuated with guard towers. The view wasn't much, but having an office at all, particularly one with a window, was a, vast improvement over working the floor in one of the units. Mallory didn't complain, but all the while, he busily plotted his own escape.

Assistant Superintendent Mallory had no intention of working in Corrections forever. It was Friday. Maybe sometime this weekend he'd find some time away from Arlene and the kids to work on his book. There was a wall in Chapter 11, some kind of story -- structure problem that made it impossible to move forward.

He took another swipe at his forehead with a damp paper towel and waited for a guard to bring Andrew Carlisle into his office.

"Damn legislature," he told a fly that sauntered lazily across the stacks of file folders on his desk. Why couldn't those idiots down in Phoenix find money enough to fix theprison's damn refrigeration units? The air -- conditioning always went on the fritz the minute the temperature climbed above 110.

Buildings in the capitol complex in Phoenix were plenty cool. He'd damn near frozen his ass off when he'd gone there as part of the official delegation begging the legislative committee for more prison money. They'd as good as said it didn't matter if it got hot for the prisoners. After all, "Prisoners were supposed to be punished, weren't they?"

"What about the guards?" Warden Franklin had countered. "What about the other people who work there?" "What about them?" the committee had said. They didn't give a shit about the worker bees. Nobody did.

Irritably, Mallory slapped at the fly, but it eluded him and flew over to the window just as Mendez, Mallory's assistant,knocked on the door and put his head inside the sweltering office. "Carlisle's here," Mendez said.

"Good. Send him in." Ron Mallory mopped his brow, knowing it wouldn't do any good. His face would be sopped with sweat again within moments. God, it was hot!

Ron Mallory had conducted hundreds of prerelease interviews in the time he'd held the job. There was a standard protocol. Where are you going to stay? What kind of work do you have lined up? But this wouldn't be a standard interview, because Andrew Carlisle wasn't a standard prisoner.

As soon as the guard led Andrew Carlisle into the room, Mallory noticed that even in this terrible heat the man wasn't sweating. Guys who didn't sweat usually pissed Ron Mallory off, but he liked Andrew Carlisle.

"Is this when I get the 'go-and-sin-no-more' talk?" the prisoner asked good-humoredly.

Carlisle eased himself into a chair in front of Mallory's desk without waiting for either an order or an invitation. Between assistant superintendent and prisoner, there existed a camaraderie, an easy give-and-take, enjoyed by no other inmate in the Arizona State Prison.

Ron Mallory appreciated Andrew Carlisle. Intellectually, he was several cuts above the other prisoners. Carlisle conversed about politics, religion, philosophy, and current events with equal facility and enthusiasm. Under the guise of working together as inmate clerk and warden, the two men had carried on six years' worth of wide-ranging discussions, exchanges that made Assistant Superintendent Mallory feel almost scholarly.

"That's right," Mallory responded with a chuckle. "'Go and sin no more.' Couldn't have said it better myself. I'm sorry to see you go, though, Carlisle. Once you're gone, who's going to keep this office in order, and who'll help me finish my book? How about screwing up and coming back for a return engagement?"

"I won't screw up," Carlisle declared.

Mallory nodded seriously. "I'm sure you won't, Carlisle. You've more than paid your debt to society. As far as I'm concerned, you never should have been here in the first place. Don't quote me, but if every poor bastard who ever killed or fucked a drunken Indian got sent up here, we'd be more overcrowded than we already are. That judge in Tucson just got a hard-on for you. The important thing now is for you to put it all behind you and get on with your life. What are you going to do?"

Andrew Carlisle shrugged. "I don't know exactly. I doubt the university will take me back. Ex-cons don't quite meet the hiring and tenure guidelines."

"It's a damn shame, if you ask me," Mallory said. "You're one hell of a teacher. Look at what you've done for me. Here I am on Chapter Eleven and counting. I'm going to finish this damn book, dedicate it to you, and buy my way out of this hellhole of a dead-end job, and you're the one making it possible."

Carlisle smiled indulgently, waiting in silence while Mallory studied the contents of the file folder in front of him. "Says here you plan to go back to Tucson. That right?"

Andrew Carlisle nodded. "I'll hole up in some cheapo apartment, maybe down in the barrio somewhere."

Hour of the Hunter
A Novel of Suspense
. Copyright © by J. Jance. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Hour of the Hunter (Brandon Walker and Diana Ladd Series #1) 2.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 27 reviews.
grateful65 More than 1 year ago
This book is over 10 years old. I usually enjoy Jance novels, but in this one, the plot was predictable and the characters weren't all that interesting. It did keep me interested enough to read through on a very long plane ride, but I was glad that I got if for free. Also about half way through, the spell check/usage check must have turned off - the word "that" was replaced with "mat", etc, and many sentences just didn't make sense. Annoying
bookmajor More than 1 year ago
I had not heard of this author before, I must have gotten it as a free or discounted choice for my Nook. Once I opened it, i couldnt stop reading! A recently released killer returns to the scene of the crime to exact vengeance on the people responsible for putting him behind bars. Diana Ladd is the widowed mother who must keep her family safe from the killer. (Her husband's death is part of the plot!) To add to the fun, Jance weaves Native American folklore into the text. There is some graphic violence in the book, but probably not more than any other scary novel, probably less than most.
gfp1947 More than 1 year ago
I love stories that deal with the culture of the Native American tribes. Jance blends some of the Papago myth with a great yarn about a crazed killer out for revenge from the person who got him sent to jail. The writing is good, but unfortunately the last 50+ pages had a lot of typos. It seemed like there may have been a proofreader who got bored. This unfortunately took away a lot of the enjoyment towards the end. Still, definitely worth a read.
Deb-H More than 1 year ago
I enjoy J.A. Jance's mysteries & discovered this series with the 4th book. I decided to go back & buy the other books in this series. I like the character development, the native american tales, and the story. There is some rather gruesome violence, but all in all, I recommend this book for murder mystery lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hour of the Hunter truly was not a Beaumont or Brady story line, I have read all of the Beaumont and Brady books this year, and I was so dissapointed in the Hour of the Hunter, It was very diffilcult to follow, The Indian Legends at the beginning of each chaper was hard to follow, and make relate to the story. The story was also hard to follow with the legends stopping the story flow. The Kiss of the Bees was the same, I would not recommend either of these books to the fan of Beaumont or Brady.
Anonymous 9 months ago
lousquared More than 1 year ago
Suspensful and engaging, story about a killer released from prison out to get revenge on those that sent him there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
retiredsc More than 1 year ago
The author keep jumping from one family to another. You had to read several sentences before you figure out who she is talking about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brenda Davidson More than 1 year ago
This was my favorite of J.A. Jance! I LOVE all her books and story lines.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kens_Puffin More than 1 year ago
I'm extremely disappointed in this book. I won't be continuing this series. I love the Brady series and the Beaumont & Reynolds series are also good but this time J.A. Jance misses the bar completely. I thought at first it was just me because I don't care for flashbacks in movies or books but I see I'm not the only one that finds the writing style hard to follow. Yes, the Indian folklore is necessary background as are the character flashbacks but the book doesn't flow. It's disjointed and the characters themselves just don't grab hold of you. They aren't boring but they don't have that special element that makes you want to find out what happens to them next. I've read a lot of books that were hard to get into but once you did you couldn't put it down however, this isn't one of them. I'm more than halfway and I'm still waiting for it to grab hold of me, to become that page turning, can't put down thriller. I hate not finishing a book but this one is simily a lost cause.
AllisonNH More than 1 year ago
The typos were horrible, completely distracting. Do they bother to proof read the ebook editions at all??
Brooks_P More than 1 year ago
I have real mixed emotions about this book. I have not read any books by J. A. Jance and was not even aware of the author's name. Unlike some of the other reviewers I enjoyed the Papago legends interlaced throughout the book and was reminded of the many Tony Hillerman books I read and enjoyed many years ago. I did not find the book any more graphic than some of the other books I have read from authors like Jeffrey Deaver or James Patterson. I thought the story moved along at a good pace although it was a bit predictable at times. Like grateful65, I too found all of the typos annoying and several times I couldn't come up with a clue as how to interpret the typo and make sense out of the sentence. The constant typos, especially near the conclusion became frustrating. This is not the first eBook that I have read that had typos, but it certainly is a worst case and for that reason I was torn as how to rate this book and in the end I subtracted a star for the poor transition to eBook.
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SKIZ More than 1 year ago
This was not a good book. The scenes with the murderer are just distateful (and I'm not just referring to the actual killing..) The frequent use of Indian legends or stories interrupts the plot and I don't know why they are there, I guess to remind me the book is about Indians? I was able to figure that out, thanks. I read maybe a third of the book and decided to dump it. If I'd paid for it I would have had to force myself to read the whole thing, so for that I am grateful to Barnes & Noble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Graphic details of a horrific murder and mutilation of the body is NOT entertainment. I'm just grateful my Nook can delete garbage like this, and that it was a free download. The one star is forced by the system, not my choice.
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