The Dispatcher

The Dispatcher

3.57 (854 ratings by Goodreads)
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From the author of the award-winning debut crime novel Good Neighbors-a white-knuckle thriller about the lengths a man will go to for his daughter. The phone rings. It's your daughter. She's been dead for four months.

So begins East Texas police dispatcher Ian Hunt's fight to get his daughter back. The call is cut off by the man who snatched her from her bedroom seven years ago, and a basic description of the kidnapper is all Ian has to go on. What follows is a bullet-strewn cross-country chase from Texas to California along Interstate 10- a wild ride in a 1965 Mustang that passes through the outlaw territory of No Country for Old Men and is shot through with moments of macabre violence that call to mind the novels of Thomas Harris.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 351 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 20.32mm | 771.1g
  • Penguin Books
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0143120700
  • 9780143120704
  • 879,698

About Ryan David Jahn

Ryan David Jahn grew up in Arizona, Texas, and California. He left school at sixteen to work in a record store and subsequently joined the army. Since 2004 he has worked in television and film. His first novel, Good Neighbors, won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger Award. Jahn lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mary.
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Review quote

"Violent, vivid, and disturbing, The Dispatcher is a stomach churner. If you want a book that grabs you-almost chokes you-and won't let go, this is it. But it should come with a warning label: Caution, a serious writer at work." -Ridley Pearson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killer Summer "The Dispatcher grabs the reader on page one and never lets go. It's a classic yet bracingly contemporary story of kidnapping, violence, and a father's ferocious courage." -- Jonathan Santlofer, author of Anatomy of Fear "A well-written, fast-paced book . . . along the order of Quentin Tarantino and with a long and bloody trail to the end." -- Charlaine Harris, bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series "Reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's tales of vengeance, The Dispatcher is an impressively accomplished performance that never strains for mythic power but nevertheless acquires it." -- Sunday Times (London) "The breathless pace virtually demands a single-sitting read. . . . Over the past few years a new generation of crime writers has come perilously close to recreating the jaded mindset of the classic noir thrillers, but no one has succeeded quite like Jahn. . . . [He] leads the new noir pack with a series of palm-sweating situations that pay homage to the classics of the genre while feeling entirely fresh." -- Financial Times "Reads at a cracking pace [and] is a one-sitting, fist-in-mouth read." -- The Guardian "A cross between Richard Ford and James Patterson . . . I guarantee that if you pick this up, then everything else in your life will immediately be pushed to the margins. . . . If you only read one book tomorrow, make it this one." -- Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, in The Mail on Sunday "A nerve-shredding thriller with plenty of energy and a tight plot." -- Big Issue "Tense, thrilling. Jahn has written a real page-turner, well crafted with convincing characters and an involving plot." -- We Love This Book "Near pitch perfect . . . An adrenaline-pumped storyline and one that will leave you with your lower jaw resting on your chest. I don't believe anyone else is offering Jahn's insight and style of writing today. . . . [His] clipped and economical prose is to the bone. . . . Make sure you allocate sufficient hours to read in one sitting." -- Rhian Davies, It's a Crime! "Talk about page-turning . . . Jahn is the fastest rising star in the ever-competitive crime fiction world." -- Daily Mirror, Book of the Week
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Rating details

854 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 19% (163)
4 36% (307)
3 31% (267)
2 10% (89)
1 3% (28)

Our customer reviews

Reason for Reading: I love a good thriller and the publisher's summary pulled me into giving this one a go. When I sat down to start reading this book which has closer to 400 pages than 300, it was early in the morning and little did I know I would be in the same spot that evening tapping to the final pages of this addictive read. My back was sore, my thumb ached (from tapping pages on my Kindle Touch) but I had just been on the most thrilling ride of my recent reading life. I've read some pretty good books this year; 186 and counting so far with many 4 and 5 star rated reads but it has been quite some time since I read a thriller in one day and felt like I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through! The story only takes place over several days, four or five I'm guessing. Again this is a mystery where the reader knows the culprit and the thrill is first in watching the police discover who he is and then once he becomes known a wild cross country chase takes place which keeps the pulse rate high and the chest tight. The narrative switches points of view between the father, the daughter and the kidnapper; each starting at different points in time to get the background story told but they do quickly join up so that the narratives flow together in the present. I love this approach when we know who the culprit/killer is, as getting inside his head/mindset is very intriguing. Jahn has written one of those books that you pick up and just cannot put down until you finish. The pace is fast, the writing sparse, dialogue driven, the plot includes both violence and unexpected twists, no one is safe and the ending feels like it could only have been that way. This would make a good movie! And I am going to read Jahn's first book "Good Neighbours" as soon as I can, which has been compared to Hitchcock for it's suspense!show more
by Nicola Mansfield
It was both the premise and Jenn's review that I found intriguing. A small town emergency dispatcher receives a call from a phone box, his daughter, who has been missing for seven years, is begging for his help. With single minded determination, Ian Hunt renews his search for his daughter, willing to do anything to bring her home. From the first few pages, after Hunt receives the call, I was eager to know what had happened seven years ago and by then introducing Maggie's point of view, the author had me hooked. There is a palpable sense of urgency as Hunt mobilises the police and Maggie is dragged screaming from the phone box, leaving the receiver dangling. Jahn then lets us into the mind of Henry, Maggie's abductor - his fury at her escape, his fear at being caught and his twisted justification for kidnapping Maggie. The story unfolds between the three points of view of Ian, Maggie and Henry, overlapping at times to reveal the differing perspectives of the three, allowing us to follow their individual journeys. Jahn reveals Hunt's grief in the aftermath of his daughters disappearance - the break down of his marriage, his anger at his son who was babysitting her, the end of his career and the solace he found in a bottle. Hunt is incredibly sympathetic even as he crosses the line into vigilantism. He has been driven past the point of the rational, his focus narrowed to saving his daughter and making her captor pay. Maggie is fourteen now, she has spent seven years in a dank basement with only an imaginary friend for company, grimly holding tight to the knowledge of who she is. Her aborted escape doesn't dampen her spirit and while her strength is unlikely given the circumstances it is admirable and with every fibre of my being I was hoping she would escape. With Henry's perspective we learn about his own desperation to make his wife happy, the only redeeming feature the man has. It's a fascinating look at motives that makes this man a monster, but still a human being. The tension is unrelenting as Ian and the police try to determine the identity of Maggie's captor, as Maggie looks for another opportunity to escape and Henry grows increasingly anxious about being caught. An explosion of violence starts the chase across the country, Henry leaving a trail of bodies in his wake while Hunt races to catch them with a bullet wound in his chest. The violence in this novel is not graphic exactly but is real and not for the faint of heart. Ian and Henry are both desperate men, Henry determined to escape, Ian to rescue his daughter at any cost, even his own life. The Dispatcher is a gritty, dark thriller with a frantic, intense pace. It is not a complex story but is nevertheless completely compelling and I couldn't put it more
by Shelley Cusbert
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