A Washington Post journalist’s latest mystery novel — about a journalist who stumbles upon a dark story — is fast-moving and suspenseful, with vivid prose.
‘Only the Hunted Run’
By Neely Tucker
Viking, 288 pp., $27
Sully Carter, a literally battle-scarred former war correspondent, is assigned to his newspaper’s home office in Washington and is working a safer beat. Or so he thinks.
But when he strolls into the Capitol to cover a routine congressional hearing, the halls are ringing with gunshots. As everyone else is fleeing, Sully heads toward the sounds, smelling a big story. But all he finds are bodies.
The gunman indiscriminately shoots guards, tourists and bureaucratic aides before hunting down his congressman and driving ice picks into his eyes. Then he melts away into the panicked crowd. When he’s apprehended days later, the shooter is identified as Terry Waters, a native of an Indian reservation in Oklahoma. The only other thing known about him is that he’s evidently stark raving mad.
Sully, dispatched to Oklahoma to dig into the shooter’s background, gradually discovers that Waters isn’t at all the person he seems to be. Both the shooter’s family and his best childhood friend have a history of abuse, suicide and murder. And there’s a chilling family connection to the psychiatric hospital where Waters has been sent for an evaluation.
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“Only the Hunted Run” is the third Sully Carter novel by Neely Tucker, a veteran Washington Post war correspondent now covering the presidential election for the paper’s Sunday magazine. Unsurprisingly, Tucker’s depiction of how a crack investigative reporter works is spot-on, and the story he tells is fast-moving and suspenseful with an explosively violent conclusion. But the best thing about this novel is Tucker’s pitch-perfect dialogue and vivid prose that immerses the reader inside the action.