Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
Making Isaac Hunt by Linda Leigh Hargrove
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Description: At his grandfather’s deathbed, Isaac Hunt learns his parents aren’t really his parents. Reeling from betrayal and armed with only his birth mother’s name and the city where she last lived, Isaac goes in search of her and the truth about his past. His odyssey takes him deep into the south, where racism still rules the small town of his birth—and where more than one person does not want Isaac to uncover the truth about who he is.
My thoughts: While I’ve read romance novellas by Hargrove before, it was someone else’s inquiry about ChristFic suspense from diverse authors that prompted me to finally start the Isaac Hunt series.
This novel isn’t suspense in the sense of fast pacing or high action. Most of the story is rather contemplative, taking its time much like a literary novel. But the dark crime thread running through it does eventually reach a critical point for Isaac.
I don’t always get through books that take longer than about two chapters to give me more than a cursory sense of what’s going on and exactly why it matters. Although I felt like this novel spent a fairly significant amount of time speaking in riddles, something simmering, sometimes rumbling, just beneath the surface compelled me to keep reading. That and this author’s way with words, as I really like sharp phrasing and stirring descriptions that aren’t predictable for me.
There’s a scene where one of the villains sits and monologues to himself for a while, which can feel like a contrived way to reveal information to the reader. But that aside, this story’s evil characters aren’t caricatures. As for the emotion through the read, though I think the effect of Isaac’s tears could have been stronger if he had them in fewer scenes, I found the overall emotional development to be compelling.
I’m looking forward to continuing the series.
Note to my blog readers: While I read an earlier edition of this book where the N-word doesn’t appear, in the latest edition, the author includes a heads-up about her use of the slur. I understand various Black writers’ choices about whether or not they use the word in their works, and Hargrove also touched on the issue in her guest post on my blog some years ago.
Isaac Hunt Series