My Blurb: When a famous writer is murdered, his estranged son Ross returns for the funeral and is quickly plunged into the unfamiliar community of fantasy geeks and role playing nerds. So when he learns that the fantastical world of his father’s fiction actually exists, Ross quickly crosses over to hunt the killer down, but soon realizes that he may have acted too hastily, because he’s now lost in a world of gun-slingers and monsters where the rules make no sense. And Ross hasn’t read the books.
My Review: Whirlwind is one of those rare indie books that pulls everything together. Its strong writing, vivid imagination and intriguing characters all combine to keep you riveted to the page. Hunt’s prose is a delightful surprise in the often plodding swampland of indie publishing, and his ear for language and turns of phrase are of a quality that I only expect to see from upper-echelon, traditionally published authors.
Having said all that, I enjoyed the first half better than the second, and for this I blame the plot. Ross’s objective never properly emerges, and without a clear and present goal drawing him forward, the second half of Whirlwind plays out more like a drunken stumble through an amusement park than the decisive action story this could have been. And to my intense frustration, Hunt makes a couple of plot choices shortly after the half way mark that seemed entirely out of step with the dark and sinister vibe that had been building so deliciously to that point. But admittedly, my tastes don’t usually run to dark fantasy and gun-slinger stuff, so these quibbles may be mine alone.
If you’re looking for a bold new world of fantastical adventure that harks back to Lovecraft rather than Tolkien, then The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is a definite two-fisted, gunpowder punk, must-read.