The Hunt Club

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

THE HUNT CLUB is Bret Lott’s fifth novel and his first mystery. Its main character is Huger Dillard, the fifteen-year-old nephew of Leland Dillard, “Unc,” who owns the Hungry Neck Hunt Club not far from Charleston, South Carolina.

A group of doctors belongs to the club, and one of them, Charles Middleton Simons, is found murdered and disfigured on its grounds. The crime points to his wife Constance, and she soon hangs herself.

It becomes clear that the murder has to do with the club itself. It seems the group of doctors wants to buy the club and turn it into a resort, or for some secret purpose, to make up for the money they stand to lose from the medical school they control. They have grown rich from tuitions and patient fees, and the state threatens to stop this.

The forces lined up against the Dillards include Patrick and Reynold, who handle the dogs at the club, Tommy Thigpen and Doug Yandle, Sheriff’s deputies, and Cleve Ravenel, one of the doctors.

With Huger and Unc are Eugenie Dillard, Huger’s mother, Dinah Gaillard, the club’s cook, and Dorcas, her daughter. Huger is inexperienced, Unc is blind, and Dorcas is deaf and dumb, so these characters seem no match for their antagonists.

Yet they are quite a match, despite what they are put through. Huger is run off the road and nearly shot, his mother is kidnapped, and all of them, including Dinah and Dorcas, are captured and spend the last...

(The entire section is 408 words.)