Okay, after six Robert Hunter books (including this one), I’ve finally figured out why I can never get tired of Chris Carter’s writing. It matters not if I think that the story’s getting clichéd with each book or that Robert Hunter is a Gary Stu (sorry folks, but he’s super smart, handsome and charming to boot), Chris Carter’s writing is something I term equivalent to some of my long-time favourite crime show series: the entire CSI franchise, and Criminal Minds. How are they the same? Well, to some degree, all of them are comfortable. By this, I mean that I have a basic hunch on what could happen, I know what has happened, and I know the main characters like the back of my hand. A twist or two could surprise me but otherwise, I know that nothing insanely bad like major character death would happen—or that the chances of such are slim. So yeah, considering that I read the Robert Hunter series like how I watched CSI and Criminal Minds—that is, not chronologically, I pretty much know the futures of the all the major characters before I delved into their pasts which means I know who’ll die, who won’t, etc..
Aside from my being comfortable with the Robert Hunter series, there are other things I like about Carter’s writing, and they’ve been mentioned previously in my review of The Crucifix Killer. The gore and grotesque details are still on point in The Executioner, and I can now wholly confirm that you can start with any book in the series. Your reading journey would barely be affected—unless you’re reading from the last book to the first, that is.
Comparing The Crucifix Killer and The Executioner, there are improvements between the first two books in the Robert Hunter series. Gone are the definitions on Criminal Psychology terms and information dumps. The inconsistent speech types and bad dialogues have also decreased. Though, there is still quite a lot of telling and not showing, and some slightly awkward sentences where the same word is repeated twice in one line like “Once locked inside, there was no way of getting out unless someone let you out” (Chapter One). Robert also develops as a character in The Executioner, but there are times where I feel like his sex life is an excuse to help with his development—not that I actually viewed his sex life as part of the development of his character since it didn’t make him more human to me. Anyway, in terms of the series overall, I feel that Carlos Garcia is the best developed character out of the both of them.
Also, I rather liked Mollie’s character in The Executioner. Her psychic abilities are a nice touch to the story. Of course, the two killers in one tale is great too—I ended up only guessing one killer right and the other wrong, and boy, the actual answer for the other killer was such a surprise. However, there is a downside to having two killers in one story and that’s the huge amount of side characters. I couldn’t really keep track of who’s who and I ended up confusing quite a few of the persons of interest and the victims despite just reading about them just chapters ago.
With everything considered, I’m definitely still a fan of Chris Carter and the Robert Hunter series. I can’t wait to read the other books, and if you’re looking for a book/series with gruesome details, any book in the aforementioned series may be the one for you.