"The Dispatcher" by Ryan David Jahn

Book Cover of The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn

Ian Hunt works as the dispatcher for the tiny police force of a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, Texas. His daughter Maggie was kidnapped from her bedroom seven years ago; she would be nearly fifteen years old today. Ian finally relented and allowed a funeral to be held for Maggie two months ago, even though her body has never been found. Today, Ian answered a 9-1-1 call. From Maggie.

I was completely taken in by this thriller of a novel. I read this in a matter of hours, held fast to the pages containing the story of Ian and Maggie. There was a point in the story where I thought the story was falling into a cliche, and I could not have been more wrong. I love being wrong like this. The twists were shocking, a bit gory, and positively exciting to read. The third person narration helps you keep your distance in some respects, yet it still feels personal. The shift in narration between characters plays out really well, and allows you to see the scene from multiple angles. I can honestly see this working really well as a movie; the suspense, the characters, the potential for dramatic special effects would be fun to experience on the big screen.

The only issue I really had with the book is just how long a person could endure and fight on while also suffering from major injury. The characters in the book seem to have very high thresholds for pain, or perhaps are unable to go into shock or something. It just doesn’t seem possible or realistic. But I have to admit that I would do absolutely anything I had to in order to make my children safe again. That is exactly what Ian Hunt embodies – the will and strength to do what is necessary to bring his daughter home again. The challenges he faces keep stacking up, but you can’t help but cheer him on – even as you are holding your breath for him.

The Dispatcher
by Ryan David Jahn
Penguin, December 2011
368 pages
Source:  Publisher for honest review

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