Here’s the Goodreads synopsis where the book is sitting at a 3.74 with 844 ratings:
“She only step outside for a minute. But a minute was all it took to turn Jean Kingsley’s world upside down–a minute she’d regret for the rest of her life. Because when she returned, she found an open bedroom window and her three-year-old son, Nathan, gone. The boy would never be seen again. A tip leads detectives to the killer, a repeat sex offender, and inside his apartment, a gruesome discovery. A slam-dunk trial sends him off to death row, then several years later, to the electric chair. Now, more than thirty years later, Patrick Bannister unwittingly stumbles across evidence among his dead mother’s belongings. It paints his mother as the killer and her brother, a wealthy and powerful senator, as the one pulling the strings.
There’s a hole in the case a mile wide, and Patrick is determined to close it. But what he doesn’t know is that the closer he moves toward the truth, the more he’s putting his life on the line, that he’s become the hunted. Someone’s hiding a dark secret and will stop at nothing to keep it that way. The clock is ticking, the walls are closing, and the stakes are getting higher as he races to find a killer–one who’s hot on his trail. One who’s out for his blood. “
I had a pretty good time with this one and not just because of the thrillermystery aspects. The book achieves in both, but what I really found interesting was the book’s protagonist, Patrick Bannister. He’s not the standard leading man normally found in these types of stories. He’s not a grizzled cop tracking an elusive killer, a hard-boiled detective with a mysterious client, or a rookie lawyer getting themselves involved in a case much bigger than they realized.
No, Patrick is a crime reporter whose is still suffering from the damage caused by the cruel, constant mental abuse his mother doled out to him when he was a child. Aside from the side effects derived from child abuse, Patrick also deals with the compulsive need to write a word over and over again whenever he is stressed, sometimes covering entire walls with one word. On top of that, he also suffers from a disease that keeps his blood from clotting and could have him bleeding to death on his bathroom floor simply by nicking himself while shaving.
So while Patrick is not the manliest of men, at least not in the same realm of men and women I usually read about in my crime thrillers, his underdog status had me pulling for him the entire way and keeping my fingers crossed that Kaufman was going to give the quirky bleeder a break. Admittedly, I love a bleak story. But I don’t enjoy seeing innocent people kicked in the head when they are already down.
I’m not going to reveal if the book ends on a down note or not, as my rating for the book would stand if it did or didn’t, but I will say that my only issues with THE LION, THE LAMB, THE HUNTED where that I figured some of the mystery out quickly and the during the last act, Patrick was willingly putting himself in some unbelievably deadly situations. His motivations for doing this remain clear, especially when considering his professions, but his actions take a very, very hefty set of balls. Hell, I don’t like walking to my car at night in an empty, badly lit parking lot… I couldn’t imagine walking into an abandoned house if there was a .01% chance there was a psychopathic murderer lurking somewhere inside.
But these are minor quibbles and, admittedly, I had to reach pretty far to grab them. Even though some of my end-game predictions made at the beginning of the book turned out to be correct, that still didn’t stop me from enjoying the ride. If you love crime thrillers, I think you will really like this one. Especially at the low price of $2.99.