My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Firstly, and as almost always, I received this book from a GoodReads giveaway and despite the kind consideration of a free book delivered to my doorstep, my candid thoughts appear below.
Hunter’s ‘A Mouse’s Tale’ is a collection of short stories that center around cops and soldiers. It will come as no surprise to learn that the author himself was a cop and a soldier. To say that the collection is largely autobiographical is, at best, rather redundant.
My typical form for reviews is to break down positives and negatives and weigh them against each other. In this case, I think it more appropriate to partition based on position in the book. For most of the book we get homespun realism. All his stories have a very down-to-earth Midwestern feel. His characters are people we all know or have at least seen in a 50s TV series. The David Hunter who is revealed in the first part of the book is the sort of guy you just want to buy a beer for and sit down and listen to for several hours. In fact, if ever the author is in town, I will pay his bar tab for the duration for the evening. These are the sorts of stories that you just want to sit and listen to for hours as they reflect real life in the suburban Midwest of Tennessee. This, my dear readers, is reality and it’s wonderfully articulated in this book.
The last two stories, however, make the whole thing a wonder. In his final two entries in this series Hunter takes a delicious and dark turn. In the first part our author is demonstrating his ability to tell a good story. In the second part… well, at this hour I just don’t have words for it. Perhaps he’s tapping into some inner fear or secret desire but when Hunter turns dark it is absolutely satisfying. Despite the constant stream of books that arrives at my home for free, I’d consider actually buying a book composed only of Hunter’s darker stories as exemplified by the final two stories in this book.
In summary, the book is subtitled “stories from the unhinged mind and imagination of David Hunter.” Until the last two stories I was amused but didn’t feel the “unhinged” aspects of anything he had written. His work smacks of absolute reality as he lived it. That’s entertaining enough on its own but when you finally get to the end, then things live up to the subtitle. I like this book. I like this author. I’d buy him a beer or 10 if he finds himself in Indy anytime soon. I’m not sure what greater recommendation I can make than that.