Sharpshooter by David Hoof
Sharpshooter by David L. Hoof brought one word to mind repeatedly as I read it: unflinching. The characters were bold, brash, and at times almost too real. The setting was harsh and cold yet beautiful. The story was unapologetic in its examination of human behavior and attitudes. And, all this lead me back to the word unflinching. Hoof's characters' words were often far from politically correct and often made this reader flinch or squirm in her seat yet it depicted the characters' attitudes without question. The characters in the book are deeply flawed but likeable on some level. As the investigation into the murder of Jeb Holloway, political candidate, evolves, the reader is left to wonder if they really care who killed him even as curiosity drives them to find out. When two seemingly less important citizens are killed, the reader must wonder why their deaths are more disturbing than that of the politician's. The reader will also be torn between wanting the rekindled romance between the Red, the deputy, and Molly, the reporter, to work and to disintegrate even while wanting to know more about it. While, at times, the characters in Sharpshooter seem almost like caricatures even to one another, at other times, they seem like old friends the reader wishes to invite over for a nice leisurely dinner. Sharpshooter's unflinching examination of the prejudices people hold in their hearts, the wrongs remembered for generations, and the ambivalence that permeates people's daily lives grabs the reader and won't let go in an intriguing and layered murder mystery.