Read an extract from The Hunter – Tana French’s spellbinding new novel set in the Irish countryside
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Penguin Random House SA has shared an excerpt from The Hunter by Tana French!

‘Hailed as the queen of Irish crime fiction, French spins a taut tale of retribution, sacrifice and family.’ – TIME magazine

It’s a blazing summer when two men arrive in the village. They’re coming for gold. What they bring is trouble. Cal Hooper was a Chicago detective, till he moved to the West of Ireland looking for peace.

He’s found it, more or less – in his relationship with local woman Lena, and the bond he’s formed with half-wild teenager Trey.

So when two men turn up with a money-making scheme to find gold in the townland, Cal gets ready to do whatever it takes to protect Trey. Because one of the men is no stranger: he’s Trey’s father.

But Trey doesn’t want protecting. What she wants is revenge.

Read an excerpt:



Trey comes over the mountain carrying a broken chair. She carries it on her back, with the legs sticking out round her waist and held over her shoulders. The sky is a blue so hot it looks glazed, and the sun is burning the back of Trey’s neck. Even the faint pin-sharp calls of birds, too high up to be seen, vibrate with heat. The woman who owns the chair offered Trey a lift back with it, but Trey has no inclination to let the woman into her business, and neither the inclination nor the ability to make conversation for the length of a car journey over the potholed mountain roads.

Her dog Banjo lollops in wide circles off the path, snuffing and burrowing among the thick heather, which is too brown-edged and heavily scented for July. It makes crisp rattling sounds as he pushes through it. Every few minutes he comes bounding back to tell Trey, with small happy puffs and moans, what he’s found. Banjo is a mutt, black and tan, with a beagle’s head and body set on the legs of something stubbier, and he’s a lot more talkative than Trey is. He got his name from a banjo-shaped patch of white on his belly. Trey wanted something better for him, but her mind doesn’t run easily to fancy things, and everything she came up with sounded like what some tosser out of a schoolbook would call a dog. In the end she left it at Banjo. Cal Hooper, the American who lives down near the village, has Banjo’s litter-mate and named him Rip, and if a plain name is good enough for Cal’s dog, it’s good enough for Trey’s. Besides, she spends much of her waking time at Cal’s place, meaning the two dogs spend much of their time together, and it would sound stupid if they didn’t match.

Cal’s place is where Trey is taking the chair, later on. Cal and Trey mend furniture for people, or make it, and they buy old wrecked furniture and fix it up to sell at the Saturday market in Kilcarrow town. One time they picked up a side table that to Trey looked useless, too little and spindly to hold anything worthwhile, but when Cal went on the internet it turned out to be almost two hundred years old. When they got through with it, they sold it for a hundred and eighty quid. The chair Trey is carrying has two stretchers and one leg in splinters, like someone gave it the kind of kicking that takes time and dedication, but once she and Cal get done with it, no one will be able to tell it was ever broken.

She’s going home first, for lunch, because she wants to eat dinner at Cal’s – Trey is growing fast enough, this summer, that she marks out her days mainly in terms of food – and her pride shies from turning up on his doorstep looking for two meals in the one day. She watches her boundaries extra hard because, if she had her wish, she’d live there. Cal’s place has peace. As far up the mountain as Trey’s house is, and as far from any other, it ought to be peaceful enough, but it crowds her. Her oldest brother and sister are gone, but Liam and Alanna are six and five and are mostly yelling for one reason or another, and Maeve is eleven and is mostly complaining and slamming the door of the room she shares with Trey. Even when they accidentally go a few minutes without making a racket, the buzz of them is always there. Their mam is silent, but it’s not a silence with peace in it. It takes up space, like some heavy thing made of rusted iron built around her. Lena Dunne, who lives down below the mountains and who gave Trey the dog, says her mam used to be a talker, and a laugher too. Trey doesn’t disbelieve her, exactly, but she finds the image inaccessible.


  • Extracted from The Hunter by Tana French, out now from Penguin Random House SA

Categories Fiction International

Tags Book excerpts Book extracts Penguin Random House SA Tana French The Hunter

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