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Dispatcher Hardcover – July 1, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Blue Moon: Mundy's Landing Book Two by Wendy Corsi Staub
"Blue Moon" by Wendy Corsi Staub
New York Times best-selling author Wendy Corsi Staub returns to Mundy’s Landing—a small town where bygone bloodshed has become big business. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ian Hunt, balding and big-bellied, is a chair jockey in a small-town police department in East Texas. He answers the phone and sometimes dispatches a cop car, but mostly he plays computer solitaire and mourns his daughter, who disappeared years ago. That mystery—Was it abduction? Or murder?—has cored out his life. His wife ditched him. He’s estranged from his son. He inhales Guinness. Then his daughter calls. She’s escaped her abductor; can Daddy rescue her from the bad man? It isn’t that easy. But Hunt is on the trail. The rest of the book is so luridly violent that the publisher’s comparisons to Tarantino and the Coen brothers seem perfectly appropriate. The writing has a sensory feel—the texture of a dress, the gurgle of a drain—but Jahn gets a little carried away, as when he revels in descriptions of body stink, of flicking belly-button lint and washing in saliva (somebody else’s). Still, the chases, the gun battles, and the images of a sun-blasted land add up to a stunning read. But not before dinner. --Don Crinklaw --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Violent, vivid, and disturbing, The Dispatcher is a stomach churner. If you want a book that grabs you-almost chokes you-and won't let go, this is it. But it should come with a warning label: Caution, a serious writer at work." -Ridley Pearson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killer  Summer

"The Dispatcher grabs the reader on page one and never lets go. It's a classic yet bracingly contemporary story of kidnapping, violence, and a father's ferocious courage." — Jonathan Santlofer, author of Anatomy of Fear

"A well-written, fast-paced book . . . along the order of Quentin Tarantino and with a long and bloody trail to the end." — Charlaine Harris, bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series

"Reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's tales of vengeance, The Dispatcher is an impressively accomplished performance that never strains for mythic power but nevertheless acquires it." — Sunday Times (London)

"The breathless pace virtually demands a single-sitting read. . . . Over the past few years a new generation of crime writers has come perilously close to recreating the jaded mindset of the classic noir thrillers, but no one has succeeded quite like Jahn. . . . [He] leads the new noir pack with a series of palm-sweating situations that pay homage to the classics of the genre while feeling entirely fresh." — Financial Times

"Reads at a cracking pace [and] is a one-sitting, fist-in-mouth read." — The Guardian

"A cross between Richard Ford and James Patterson . . . I guarantee that if you pick this up, then everything else in your life will immediately be pushed to the margins. . . . If you only read one book tomorrow, make it this one." — Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, in The Mail on Sunday

"A nerve-shredding thriller with plenty of energy and a tight plot." — Big Issue

"Tense, thrilling. Jahn has written a real page-turner, well crafted with convincing characters and an involving plot." — We Love This Book

"Near pitch perfect . . . An adrenaline-pumped storyline and one that will leave you with your lower jaw resting on your chest. I don't believe anyone else is offering Jahn's insight and style of writing today. . . . [His] clipped and economical prose is to the bone. . . . Make sure you allocate sufficient hours to read in one sitting." — Rhian Davies, It's a Crime!

"Talk about page-turning . . . Jahn is the fastest rising star in the ever-competitive crime fiction world." — Daily Mirror, Book of the Week --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: MacMillan (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230746845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230746848
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sid Nuncius TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I thought this was a very good, well-written thriller which I enjoyed far more than I thought I would. The book revolves around the disappearance of a child and the effect on all those around her, and the attempt by her father to recover her once he realises she is sill alive. These are very well-worn themes, but Jahn makes them fresh and gripping and gives some very sharp insights into the minds and motivations of those involved. The characters seemed very believable to me, and the bleakness of both the Texas landscape and the lives of some of the protagonists is very well evoked. The narrative grips from the start and doesn't let go, and I was utterly hooked for most of the book.

Jahn's prose is excellent - spare and precise, it uses just the right description of an event or thought process to bring the whole thing vividly, and sometimes horribly, to life. The almost flat style contrasts with the sometimes violent and extremely gruesome story, making it all the more real to me and built the tension remarkably effectively.

I thought this was several cuts above the average thriller and I recommend it very warmly.
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Format: Paperback
Maggie Hunt was kidnapped at the age of seven by a fellow named Henry Dean. At the age of fourteen she escapes and calls 911. The 911 dispatcher happens to be her father, Ian Hunt, who has recently organized and attended her funeral. Henry recaptures Maggie before she can do more than identify herself to her father, but her taste of freedom fuels Maggie's resolve to escape again. And, of course, hearing his daughter's voice sends Ian on a manhunt (or daughter-hunt) to find Maggie and her captor.

The Dispatcher has its problems but the pluses slightly outweigh the minuses. The story is a bit twisted (that's a plus) but far from original (a minus). It's more than a little difficult to believe a loser like Henry could commit the crimes he's committed over a period of years -- in a small town, no less -- and avoid suspicion (a minus). As befits a girl who has been held captive and physically abused for half her life, Maggie's mental stability is questionable; in that regard she isn't portrayed as a typical victim (a plus). On the other hand, she's emotionally stronger than a real kid would likely be under those circumstances (a credibility problem that counts as a small minus). Other than Maggie, the characters -- even Henry -- have well-constructed personalities; they have significantly greater depth than is commonly found in thrillers (a plus). Some of the characters have amusing flaws that give them a breath of reality while lightening a dark story with needed humor (a plus). Point of view frequently shifts from character to character, keeping the narrative lively and interesting (a plus). Straight through to the ending the story is simple and predictable (a big minus) but knowing what will transpire doesn't bleed the excitement from the novel's best moments (a big plus).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After finishing this book, I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. It definitely had an impact on me that stayed with me. The first half of the book is very realistic and reads almost like a true crime book. But about half-way through the novel something changes and some plot elements are added that seem implausible to me. Those plot developments were not related to the violence in the book (which was quite graphic) but more related to things that happen that I can't see happening in reality. I found that disappointing because the book as a whole is beautifully written. Ultimately though, the unbelievable plot elements reminded me throughout the second half that I was, in fact, reading a fictional novel. I found myself taken out of the story and wondering why the author chose to do certain things. I felt outside the action, and the realistic element of the first half of the book was lost.

POSSIBLE SPOILER:
But regarding the ending. . . some people seem to be unhappy with the ending of the book. I actually liked the ending. By the time I reached the final pages I had imagined all kinds of endings, some good, some not so good. I am happy the author chose the ending he did.

I guess in the end I really liked the book and wish I could say that I loved it. The imagery is remarkable and you can see everything vividly as if you are watching a movie. I think Ryan David Jahn is a very talented author, but it is hard for me to get past those unbelievable plot devices that seemed to cheapen the read for me a little. I am still giving the book a 4-star review because even though the subject matter is hard to swallow, Ryan David Jahn's writing style has a certain beauty about it. The combination of graphic violence with beautiful prose is strange to me. I can't figure out how Jahn did it, but he did, which really makes for an unforgettable reading experience.
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Format: Paperback
On first look, and perhaps the next several looks as well, The Dispatcher is a gritty story of revenge, of vigilante justice. It reads somewhat like an episode of CSI, Law and Order or Criminal Minds, if those were told from the perspective of a third person narrator, so that the audience knows what every party is thinking. Violence, action, and horrible people abound.

More than that, though, this book is a study in psychology and human nature. Jahn considers what humans are capable of doing when they feel their backs are to the wall. He also plumbs the emotion of love and what horrors can come out of it. None of the characters in this book come out of it without blood on their hands, whether literally or figuratively, but all of them, one could argue, and I do, are in some way motivated by love, and not love for themselves, but for someone else.

The opening sequence is definitely an attention grabber. It really made me think. I do not have kids, and have no interest in having any, but as I reader I try to put myself in the place of the characters as much as I am able to. Ian's love for his daughter is evident in the way he never gave up hoping she might be alive, despite the incredibly low and discouraging odds for the survival of abducted children. I wonder, though, whether it would be more painful to find out that your daughter had been dead all that time or that she was alive. Can you imagine the guilt you would feel that your daughter had been nearby all that time and you had given up the search and left her to whatever awful ministrations the kidnapper has been putting her through all of these years?

Incredibly tragic, too, is the character of Maggie Hunt. Even if she is rescued, how much hope is there for her now, really?
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