Hunger Moon – Alexandra Sokoloff [Review]

Hunger Moon is the fifth book in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers series by Alexandra Sokoloff. Thomas & Mercer published this novel on October 24, 2017.

Hunger Moon coverBlurb for HUNGER MOON

 

Revenge has no limits.

Special Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.

Hiding from the law, avenging angel Cara Lindstrom is on her own ruthless quest. She plans to stay as far away from Roarke as possible—until an old enemy comes after both her and the FBI, forcing her back into Roarke’s orbit. This time, the huntress has become the hunted . . .

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Jen’s Review of HUNGER MOON

I received a free digital copy of the book for review consideration, but my opinions are uninfluenced.

The Story

Hunger Moon picks up shortly after the events in Bitter Moon. Cara has skipped bail, fled California, and has traveled to Arizona. She learns of men hunting teenage girls and decides to make them the hunted.

Roarke is asked to investigate the coordinated vandalism of college campuses across the country. He is sent to look into one of the campuses in Santa Barbara, where two frat boys claim to have been attacked by women wearing Santa Muerte costumes. Their mascot? Santa Muerte.

As the story continues, we learn that Roarke is trying to get a task force against trafficking started. But his boss won’t give him his task force unless he learns more about an organization named Bitch, which is believed to be behind the vandalisms.

So much more happens in the book. I don’t want to give too much away, because I want you to read it. If you’ve read the previous books, you should know who Jade is. She becomes an important character in this story by directly going after some of the rapists on a college campus.

The story also brings back Ortiz, who still wants to get his hands on Cara. He puts a bounty on her head.

Much of the book focuses on politics, government corruption, ineffectual laws regarding rape prosecution, and cultural influences allowing people to believe they can rape and get away with it.

Sokoloff imagines how women could finally say enough is enough and organize against rapists. I don’t think she’s too far off the mark, especially considering how easily a group can claim responsibility for actions they didn’t actually have involvement in, like Bitch does in the book. It doesn’t matter if they actually did it if people believe they did, which can lead to a group growing very influential. Likewise, people don’t have to actually be members of the group to act on its behalf. The organization itself isn’t as important as the beliefs it claims to stand for.

Although I agreed with much of Sokoloff’s social and political commentary, I worry that there was so much focus on the bad men who rape women that readers might forget that there are women who compound the problem. Just as there is a culture that condones rape, there is a culture amongst some women, particularly teenage and young adult girls, that condones lying about rape or using the threat of lying about rape to manipulate men. When a woman lies about being raped, she hurts every woman who was actually victimized.

There are also women who believe rape is acceptable behavior. Look at all the books that write about rape fantasies, if you don’t believe me. Even if it’s fictional, the message sticks.

My point is we can’t just blame the government, the laws, or the male perpetrators. We also have to blame the women who make it easier for men to get away with doing it. Each time a woman lies about having been raped or makes it seem through television or books that it’s okay for a man to rape a woman, she’s making it harder and harder for real victims. Is it any wonder people don’t believe them?

Alexandra Sokoloff took a direct and powerful approach to examining the problem of rape in the U.S.. I don’t disagree with her points. I just think there are other issues to consider. Besides what I have already said, I think we need to look at the bigger problem of hate in general.

It seems people will find some reason to hate one another. If it isn’t misogyny, it’s something else. Anything that makes someone different can be a reason for someone to hate them. The author brought this into the story through Epps and Singh, who both could become victims based on their race or perceived religion. And Rourke even takes a moment to think about his limited perspective as a member of more than one privileged group as a white male.

Reading this book made me think more about what is going to happen as the violence and hate keeps building. No one in power seems to want to stop it. Their focus seems to be, as usual, how to get richer. Slash more social services, get rid of Obama Care, and voila! there’s money we can use for tax cuts for the super rich… Meanwhile, the little people worry about things like “Is my child going to be safe at church? Or at a concert? Or at the movie theater?” and it’s getting to the point where a lot of people I know don’t want to even leave the house anymore.

Anyway, that’s my rant for this year. I rarely talk about politics or social issues because I try to keep the blog neutral, but this book got me kind of riled up.

The Characters

If you’ve been reading this series, you should know Cara and Rourke pretty well by now. They don’t get to see each other in this book, but they both get enough scenes from their point of views.

Singh and Epps get more ‘on-stage’ time in this book. I feel like I got to know them better. They are both likable and well-developed.

I really liked learning more about Jade. She seems like she’s turning into another Cara. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to her in future books.

The Writing

Alexandra Sokoloff has a wonderful way of creating vivid settings that are easy to visualize as you read the book.

I liked how Sokoloff kept me hanging at the end of chapters. She’d switch to another point of view and make me wait to find out what happened to the other character. Because she didn’t keep me hanging for too long, I enjoyed the suspense it created.

My main complaint is I got confused at times about when things were happening. In at least one of the previous books, past events were written in present tense and vice versa, which was counter-intuitive, but I caught on after a while. But, this book didn’t follow that same pattern, especially at the beginning.

At first, I thought the opening scene was a flashback because of the present tense. Then, I learned that it had happened moments earlier. From there, Sokoloff switched back and forth between present and past tense. I got even more confused because the events in the beginning of the book weren’t written in the order they happened.

In other words,  I couldn’t use the tense to judge when things were happening, nor could I use the order in which they came in the book. So I struggled to read the first chapter.

Most of the rest of the book is broken down between Roarke in past tense and Cara in present tense, which might have been how Sokoloff wrote some of the other books; I don’t remember.

Even though the book is divided in sections by days, the events didn’t always seem to fit those divisions, which I think made the switching between tenses harder to deal with. My mind expects past tense to mean it happened in the past and present tense to mean it is happening in the present. But the way this book is written defies that logic. And I’m automatically made to think about timelines. It takes me out of the story if I have to stop and think about it.

Despite that, I felt Hunger Moon was a great book with beautiful prose at times and a solid plot.

Do I Recommend?

As a whole, I enjoyed reading Hunger Moon. It’s fast-paced, suspenseful, and thought-provoking. However, it might not be for everyone. The subject matter and the political stance are bound to upset some readers. I do recommend it if you are a woman, a liberal, or just like the idea of punishing rapists, vigilante-style.

Although you get more information in this book about previous books in the series, I still recommend you read the books in order.

 

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (A)

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About jpschaper

In addition to being a book blogger, I am a mother of three children, a retail backroom coordinator, and a wannabe writer (when I make time to do it).

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2 Comments

  1. Great review! This sounds beautifully written! Glad you liked it! 🙂
    Giselle recently posted…Fresh Batch (November 12th-18th)My Profile

  2. Pingback: Hunger Moon tour | BTH Reviews

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