Cricket Hunters: Jeremy Hepler
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Recently, I finally read ‘The Boulevard Monster’ by Jeremy Hepler, which easily vaulted itself into my all-time fav book list. I absolutely loved it and I vowed in my review (and my head!) that I wouldn’t push off reading his follow up release ‘Cricket Hunters’ long. I had pre-ordered the book when it was announced and so I was excited to see what Jeremy had conjured up for us.
I ended up bumping this up my TBR a bit – purely because of his outstanding story in ‘Midnight in the Graveyard.’ I love his writing voice and how much emotion and real-life hurt he packs into his stories.
If you follow my reading progress on Goodreads, don’t be fooled by the fact this took me three weeks to read. At one point I had 7 books on the go, so while I was loving this, I just wasn’t making as much progress as I wanted.
KR: Apologies for the huge delay in publishing this review.
‘Cricket Hunters’ is set in two time periods, which I loved. We follow a group of teens aka the Cricket Hunters back in the 90’s but also their modern-day lives and how things from that time have now unravelled and conspired to create drama.
This made for a fantastic modern-day thriller but also a great coming-of-age piece.
We follow Cel, navigating life in a spiritual family. Sickness has invaded and her grandmother is ill. Her friends are there to help and from this basis, Hepler weaves a fantastic narrative. We get little bursts of warmth before interpersonal conflict derails and turns things sour but we also see how the actions of others can cause friction between people – no matter how close they are.
This is a very different story than ‘The Boulevard Monster’ but not in a bad way. It just shows how capable Hepler is at tackling different styles within the same genre. I really enjoyed that the main character was this young woman, who becomes a struggling, hardened woman. It was also nice to see it focus on a POC and someone who didn’t back down when people attempted to attack her beliefs and her background.
This would have been a 5 star read for me, but I’ve downgraded it to a 4.5, if that’s even much of a downgrade!
I had two small issues and I’ll try to be spoiler-free. The first was during the early storyline, there was a significant antagonist, a character that the whole group feared. Their storyline just abruptly came to an end. I was expecting a great ‘last-stand’ type scene to finish that bit off, but it never came.
The second was there was a lesser character – who does become quite prominent later on – but during that time, an incident occurs and the police and the group come out in full force. That character randomly shows up again later on and we find out what happened in a few sentences. I wished there would have been a bit more described and more storyline dedicated to that part. Those are my two small gripes, and they are quite minor in the grand scheme of this fantastic story.
Overall – Hepler is an amazing author and you NEED to read both ‘The Boulevard Monster’ and ‘Cricket Hunters.’ Now I just hope we get a new release from him soon!
Celia (Garcia) Lundy was fifteen in the fall of 1998 when Abby Powell, one of her five friends who called themselves the Cricket Hunters, disappeared without a trace. Cops scoured the central Texas town of Oak Mott searching for Abby. Interviewed everyone. Brought in the Texas Rangers to assist. Three key suspects emerged and were focused on, but no evidence was found. Eventually, the case went cold, and the passage of time buried the truth of Abby Powell’s fate.
Fifteen years later, as the anniversary of Abby’s disappearance approaches, Cel’s life is upended when her husband Parker, also once a Cricket Hunter, goes missing. When bizarre clues surface that point to a link between Parker’s and Abby’s disappearances, Cel is forced to delve back into the past in order to navigate the present. With the help of her abuela, a self-proclaimed bruja, she embarks on a tumultuous journey fraught with confrontation and trickery, spells and spirits, theft and murder, in order to find out what happened to her husband, and why.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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