It’s been over five years since there was a novel from Harry Hunsicker. After three books in his skillfully crafted hero series featuring Dallas PI Lee Henry Oswald, he has mainly been known for his acclaimed short stories that had a much darker tone. With his new novel, The Contractors, he melds both into a gritty tale of guns, drugs, and double crosses across Texas.
The story deals with two independent contractors working for the DEA. Disgraced ex-Dallas cop, Jon Cantrell, does the work to provide care for his father who is retired from the force and suffering from Alzheimer’s. His partner, Piper, is a no-nonsense woman with a knack for firearms and some interesting coping mechanisms. The two are hired to bust a drug warehouse, where they discover that they’re pawns in an assassination attempt on a witness, Eva Mendez. With their livelihood and lives on the line, they take the girl with them. As more secrets come to light, things get tighter and tighter, shattering the few beliefs the two have.
Hunsicker takes the hard-boiled novel to epic proportions: a scheming senator who acts like a god in a Greek myth, the sordid history of both Cantrell and his father, bad guys on both sides of the law and border, and some intense action set pieces. Then, there’s his ability to invest you in the characters, giving them room to breath, with some great dialogue that never slows the pace. By having them move and fight in the differing regions of Texas, he uses the Lone Star State as a frame for his wide canvas.
The Contractors is a tough guy (and gal) thriller that looks at betrayal in different forms: from friends, employers, country, and even of our own ideals. It deals with compromised characters trying to hold on to what’s left of their humanity. However, Hunsicker gives us some light when he shows what happens when a couple of those people decide to be heroes for one day.
Harry, when you come back, you come back big.
HARRY HUNSICKER will be at BookPeople on Sunday, Feb 16 at 4:30PM speaking & signing copies of The Contractors. For more info & to pre-order your signed copy, visit bookpeople.com.