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The Hunter

Recap, Summary & Spoilers



The Quick Recap and Chapter-by-Chapter Summary for The Hunter by Tana French are below.

Ending & Explanations

See the Ending & Explanations for The Hunter

Quick(-ish) Recap

Two-paragraph summary: Trey's disreputable and long-absent father Johnny comes back to their small mountainside Irish town with a get-rich-quick-scheme. Cal is a retired police detective who has been caring for Trey in Johnny's absence and knows it means trouble. Johnny gets the townspeople to invest in trying to convince a rich Englishman that there's gold to be found here, but it soon becomes clear to Cal that there's no gold and that Johnny and the Englishman are in cahoots together to convince people to give them money for equity in this "mining company". Trey blames the townspeople for the death of her older brother Brendan a few years back, so she's willing to help in the scheme to defraud the townspeople.

When word gets around that there's no gold, the rich Englishman winds up dead and Trey finds the body. A detective comes poking around. Trey tells him that a group of the townspeople are involved, hoping that the people that killed Brendan will get justice in this way. However, Cal's partner Lena convinces Trey that her plan won't work and that the townspeople will point the finger at Cal (as an outsider) to avoid blame. Or if there's no evidence and Trey is the only one who was seen with the body, Cal will just confess to protect Trey. Trey decides to give up her revenge scheme when she understands the situation she's putting Cal in, and she instead points the finger at Johnny as the scapegoat instead. Trey's mother soon tells her in confidence that she was the one who killed the Englishman in order to prevent Trey from ruining her life by getting involved in this scheme. Trey and her mother come up with a plan to light their house and the surrounding area on fire to destroy any evidence of the murder, and Johnny skips town since he's the most likely suspect for the Englishman's murder.


In Chapters 1 - 8, Johnny Reddy returns to the small Irish mountainside town where the family he abandoned lives with a get-rich-quick scheme. A man he met recently, Cillian Rushborough, believes there's gold in those mountains because Cillian's grandmother is from the area and told him about it. Johnny intends to serve as a middleman to negotiate with the local residents to charge Rushborough to mine and pan for gold, taking a cut from either side. Everyone knows Johnny means trouble, but the prospect of riches draws in the townspeople anyway.

Cal Hooper is a retired Chicago police detective. He and his partner, Lena, have helped to care for Johnny's estranged daughter Trey in his absence. They worry about what Johnny's presence means for her and want to protect her. Cal gets involved in the scheme in order to keep an eye on things.

Meanwhile, Trey carries her own grudges against the town and her father. Her older brother Brendan left home a while after Johnny abandoned them, and Trey blames both Johnny and the townspeople for Brendan's death. She finds out that Johnny has talked a bunch of men into investing in some gold to salt the river with so Rushborough will think there's gold. She decides to record them doing it.

In Chapters 9 - 13, Trey takes the recording of the men planting gold in the river to Rushborough. She is hoping that he'll see it and decide to leave town, which will likely result in her father leaving as well. However, He sees it and immediately call Johnny to his place. Trey soon realizes that Rushborough knows there's no gold, and he's working with Johnny because Johnny owes him money. Rushborough makes it clear that he is a dangerous man, and he wants Trey to help them with their plan by pretending to find some gold as well. The point is to convince the men in town to invest more money into his "mining company" so they can steal their money. Trey agrees to help only because she hates the townspeople and blames them for Brendan's death.

Meanwhile, Cal's partner Lena confirms with an older town resident, Mrs. Duggan, that there's never been rumors of gold in these mountains until now and the story about Rushborough's grandmother is likely false. Cal and Lena figure out that Johnny and Rushborough are likely working together and that Johnny owes the guy money.

Rushborough pretends to fall for the scheme that there's gold here. Meanwhile, Trey also pretends to find some gold. But still, word starts to get around that perhaps there is no gold. Threats are made against Johnny and Trey that things could get ugly if things don't pan out. Trey and Cal both want the other person to stay out of this messy business.

In Chapters 14 - 21, Rushborough soon turns up dead. Trey finds the body and tells Cal, who alerts the authorities. When Trey is questioned by Detective Nealon, Cal can tell from her answers that she fully intends to direct the detective towards suspecting her neighbors, who she blames for her brother's death. Trey tells Nealon that she heard a group of men with local accents out on the mountainside near where the body was found that night.

Nealon soon establishes that Rushborough's real name is Terrence Blake. And that he died between midnight and 2AM. No one mentions anything about the gold scheme to him.

Once Nealon starts questioning people, Lena is worried that because Cal is an outsider, the other men might serve him up as a sacrificial lamb. Lena decides to tell people that she and Cal are engaged in hopes they'll be less inclined to single him out without also throwing Lena under the bus too. Beyond that, Lena knows that Cal would rather implicate himself than let something happen to Trey, and Trey is the only person who is confirmed to have been on the mountainside that night.

Trey reluctantly gives up her revenge scheme when she understands the situation she's putting Cal in. She instead points the finger at Johnny as the scapegoat instead. Trey's mother soon tells her in confidence that she was the one who killed Rushborough in order to prevent Trey from ruining her life by getting involved in this scheme. She wants Trey to learn carpentry from Cal and opening a shop instead of wasting her life by making everyone hate her or worse by getting involved in this stuff.

Trey and her mother come up with a plan to light their house and the surrounding area on fire to destroy any evidence of the murder, and Johnny skips town since he's the most likely suspect for the Englishman's murder. The book ends with Trey going to stay with Cal.

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Chapter-by-Chapter Summary

Chapter 1

Theresa “Trey” Reddy, 15, lives on a mountain in Ardnakelty, a small village in the West of Ireland, with her mom, Sheila, along with her younger siblings Liam (6), Alanna (5) and Maeve (11). Her older brother and sister no longer live there. Trey has a dog, Banjo, that was given to her by Lena Dunne, a woman who lives down below the mountains.

Trey comes home to see that her absent father, Johnny Reddy, has returned. Growing up, her father could be fun and playful, but he’s also beat them if things when wrong when he was drunk. He delighted in making them grand promises, but also broke those promises without much thought.

One of their neighbors is Cal Hooper, a retiree and former Chicago police officer. Cal has been teaching Trey how to repair furniture. Trey doesn’t want to be at home because her dad is there and asks Cal if she can stay at his place instead. Cal suspects Johnny wouldn’t like that nor does he think the optics of Trey staying with him would look good, so he texts Lena to see if she can stay at her place instead. Lena says yes.

Lena is doing laundry when Trey comes by, asking her to come take a walk with him. She declines, saying that she has work to do. After Johnny leaves, Lena thinks about how Johnny likes to keep himself well-groomed, but today his hair is a little overgrown. She suspects that something’s wrong and trouble isn’t far behind.

Shortly after, Trey comes by Lena’s place. Lena’s dogs, Nellie and Daisy, announce her presence. Over dinner, Trey wonders why her mother even let her father in, but Lena responds that “marriage is a funny thing”. Trey asks if Lena would ever marry Cal, but Lena says she’s happy as she is. Lena reminisces about being proposed to by someone named Bobby Feeney once and laughs about it.

Chapter 2

The next day, Cal is out gardening when his dog Rip lets him know that someone is there. Johnny soon comes up and introduces himself. Cal can tell that Johnny is trying to feel him out, and Cal aims to seem as harmless as possible. Johnny asks Cal if he has kids, and Cal mentions his daughter, Alyssa, who lives in the United States.

Soon, another neighbor, Mart Lavin, joins the two men. Rip goes to greet Mart’s dog Kojak. As Johnny and Mart catch up, Johnny mentions that he has an idea for the town, and he invites Mart to his place tomorrow to hear about it. When Johnny leaves, Mart warns Cal not to buy into any of Johnny’s ideas, though Cal’s well aware of that already.

Lena goes to see Cal, which she does often. She stays over at his place around twice a week. They talk about how Johnny’s presence means trouble. Johnny’s looking to get rich and come off looking like a town hero. Cal worries about him potentially destabilizing Trey’s life. He’s come to think of her as his own daughter in some ways.


Meanwhile, Trey is out on the mountainside when her father comes upon her. Johnny chats with her, but Trey is short with him. Johnny says he knows she must be upset with him about leaving, but he says it was for the best since the people around here didn’t like him and they wouldn’t give him work here. It was better for them if he left. He also admits he was bad to their mother and it would’ve only gotten worse if he’d stayed.

Inwardly, Trey thinks about her father being physically abusive towards them. Trey also thinks about how her older brother, Brendan, became the man of the family when her father was gone, until he left one day and never came back. Then she thinks about how Brendan is buried somewhere on the mountain though she doesn’t know where since the people around here are good at keeping secrets.

Johnny then says he met a man in a pub, Cillian Rushborough, who says there’s gold in these mountains, though he didn’t tell him where to look for it. He says Cillian will be here in a few days, and Johnny’s idea seems to involve getting rich off of Cillian.

Chapter 3

Lena goes to see her sister, Noreen, who runs a shop that serves as the “gravitational center” of their town. As a result, Noreen is generally privy to all the best gossip. The shop was originally run by Dymphna Duggan when they were kids, but Noreen married her son, Dessie Duggan. Now, Noreen cares for Dymphna, runs the store and happily dispenses the town gossip.

Lena reflects on how her life decisions took her in the opposite direction as her sister. When she decided not to leave town and instead marry Sean Dunne, she decided to completely mind her own business for the next 30 years as a way to keep other people out of her business. But now that Johnny’s back, that affects Cal and Trey, which means now it’s her problem, too.

As they chat, Noreen says she thinks that Johnny must’ve gotten himself dumped recently. She also tells Lena about how back before Christmas Johnny tried to sell some fake diamonds to a shop with some sob story, but the shopkeeper Bernadette recognized him and told him to shove it. Noreen also thinks Lena should consider marrying Cal.


Today, Trey tells Cal about her grades in school, which are good. Cal thinks about how two years ago, she didn’t care about her grades at all and tells her to be proud of herself. He wants to take her out for pizza to celebrate, but Cal wonders how Johnny might perceive that and doesn’t offer. Instead, he suggests making their own pizza. Lena joins them for the pizza-making and they sit around and chat basking in comfortable conversation and the smell of pizza baking in the oven.

Chapter 4

Trey gets home to find Johnny re-arranging their living room for his meeting with some guys about his big idea. The men who are invited are: Francie Gannon, Senan Maguire, Bobby Feeney, Mart Lavin, Dessie Duggan, P.J. Fallon, Sonny McHugh and Con McHugh. Trey notices Johnny seems a little afraid that it won’t work out. As they chat, Trey thinks about how she hates these men for what they did to Brendan.

After he tells them about Cillian and his gold, the men talk about how to make money off of this guy, such as by charging him to pan or dig for gold. They consider whether they could just dig up the gold themselves, but Johnny explains that this guy has a map his grandmother gave him so he’s the only one who knows where to look. They wonder if the guy will find any gold. They ask Trey, and Trey says that her teacher once mentioned there was some gold.

Johnny then further explains that it doesn’t actually matter whether there’s any gold. He says that this guy has money and is desperate to believe the gold is there. If he even gets a whiff of gold, he’ll keep looking for it, and they can make sure he finds some gold. He asks the men to each invest 300 quid into sprinkling some gold around. In exchange, Johnny wants 20% of whatever Cillian pays them and he’s getting a cut of whatever Cillian finds.

Johnny says the worst case scenario is that Cillian doesn’t find any gold, in which case they’ll have made a few grand off of selling him rights to dig and pan for gold and he’ll just leave. Johnny says he’ll introduce them to the man when he gets here Monday at Seán Óg’s pub, but then they’ll need to decide quickly at that point if they’re in or out.

Chapter 5

The next morning Mart goes over to Cal’s place. Mart tells Cal what Johnny’s plan is. Mart says the other men are thinking about it, and they talk about how Johnny has a gift for bringing out the eejitry (Irish slang for stupidity) in people. Mart also mentions how Trey speaking up and saying there might be some gold had an effect on the men and their willingness to believe Johnny since her word is worth more than his.

Mart says Cal probably wasn’t invited to the meeting because he’s an ex-cop and Johnny basically wants to defraud this guy. Cal asks Mart to put in a word for him so he can get involved. He says he just wants to be aware of what is going on. Mart tells Cal to show up tomorrow night when they go to meet Cillian at Seán Óg’s bar.


Trey goes to pick up groceries at the store. Noreen is manning the shop, and Doireann Cunniffe is there listening to the latest gossip. Tom Pat Malone is listening in as well. They ask Trey about Johnny’s big plan and the Englishman, and she confirms it’s true. Noreen muses that the Englishman’s grandmother who told him about the gold must be Bridie Feeney.

Before Trey heads out, Tom Pat asks Trey if she and Cal can build him a small rocking chair, and Trey easily agrees. She knows Cal needs the work since he’s not allowed to work around here, so if they didn’t have enough work he’d have to move back to America.

Then, Doireann and Tom both mention their boys — Jack and Brian — who might want some work, and they ask Trey to tell her dad to introduce them to the Englishman. Trey starts to feel uncomfortable, so she goes to leave. Then, Richie Casey comes in, someone who has never spoken to Trey before, asking how her dad is doing. Trey gives him a one-word answer and walks out. She thinks about how these people all want something from her. It makes her feel powerful.

Chapter 6

Monday night, Seán Óg’s pub is packed with people who are curious about this Englishman. Cal finds the corner table where Rushborough is and joins them at Mart’s invitation, though Johnny looks displeased. As the men talk, Rushborough discusses his interest in digging up land belonging to Mossie O’Halloran, and Johnny offers to bring him by to meet Mossie and see the land sometime. The other men have superstitions about that area though, calling it a “fairy mound”. Soon, some singing starts and the men all join in.

Cal assesses Rushborough and descides he’s worried about how a man like him will react when he realizes that he’s “been taken for a ride”. Mart and Cal discuss how the man knows enough minor details about the town that he seems to legitimately have a connection here as opposed to also being a con artist. They also think Johnny must truly believe there’s money to be made to go through all this trouble. Mart and Cal also talk about how Johnny wanting the other men to invest in salting the river with gold even if he believes there really is gold there can serve a number of purposes — psychologically, it invests them in the situation and it also gives him something to hold over their heads since they are technically defrauding the man. Still, Cal and Mart are considering joining in the scheme to see what happens.

When it gets late and everyone is drunk, Rushborough shows them men a ring that his grandmother gave him. There’s a small fragment of gold embedded in it. He says that his grandmother and her friend Michael Duggan found the gold when they were playing around as kids and they each kept a part of it. The men are all mesmerized by this story as he talks about how they’re all going to mine this gold together.

Chapter 7

The next morning, Cal goes to find Johnny to give him the 300 quid and tell him he’s in. However, Johnny clearly wants to keep him out of the scheme. He tries to say that Rushborough wants to dig on land that belongs to Irishmen, not some American who flew in to buy some land. He also tries to tell Cal that the whole story about salting the rivers with gold is untrue.

Cal, however, isn’t ready to give up. He tells Johnny to take the money or else he’s going to clue in the local officer on what’s going on. Finally, Johnny says that if he wants in, he should arrange buying the gold (to use to salt the river) with Mart since the men are doing it themselves instead of just handing him cash.


When Cal sees Lena again, he tells her about the situation with Johnny and Rushborough. Cal says he’s only getting involved to be able to keep an eye on things. Lena thinks that Johnny must need money badly and desperately — she suspects he owes someone money — to be coming up with a scheme like this.


That night, Rushborough goes over to dinner at the Reddy house. Later, Sheila and Johnny argue. Johnny is upset that Sheila doesn’t have faith in him and his scheme. He grouses about it to Trey, and Trey tells him that she has faith in him. Johnny says they’re salting the river tomorrow with the gold, and Trey offers to look out for Rushborough in the morning to make sure he doesn’t wander upon them. Trey tells Johnny she’s on his side, but she has her own plans of what she wants out of this.

Chapter 8

Wednesday afternoon, Trey goes to Cal’s place to work on a chair. Neither of them bring up Johnny and his schemes. When they’re done with their work, Trey asks to borrow his camera for a few days but declines to explain why. They go outside and he shows her how to use it and to set it up.

They see Johnny coming up to them, who has just come back from showing Rushborough Mossie’s fairy hill. He says he thought he’d come pick Trey up on the way home. Johnny asks about the camera and Trey lies, making up a reason. Cal wonders what she’s up to. They head out.


Very early the next morning, Trey sets up the camera to show the men salting the river with gold. She’s surprised and a little angry to see Cal among them, knowing that he didn’t mention anything to her.

When Try gets home, she doesn’t tell her mother where she was. Sheila comments that she doesn’t like this English fellow and that she wishes she would have chosen a better father for Trey and her siblings. She warns Trey that whatever her father is promising her, she won’t get it, but Trey says she doesn’t want anything from him. Sheila encourages her to go stay a Lena’s for a while to keep her away from Johnny, but Trey says she’s fine at home.

Chapter 9

Trey has packed up roughly five days of supplies — food, water, dog food — plus some essentials like a blanket and such, all of which she’s stored in an abandoned house on the mountainside. She leaves a note for her mom, letting her know that she’ll be back in a few days. Trey’s plan is to convince Rushborough to leave as quickly as possible. Then, she figures, her father will leave right after. She wants to stay away for a while when that all goes down.

Tonight, she surveys the house that Rushborough is staying at. Her mind has been on Brendon and his death. What happened to him weighs on her and motivates her. She goes over and knocks on Rushborough’s door, saying that she has something to show him. He invites her in, and she produces the video of the men salting the river with gold for him to find.

Rushborough watches the video, and proceeds to invite Johnny over for a talk over the phone. Trey wants to leave and doesn’t want him to know it was her, but Rushborough doesn’t want her to leave. He holds on to Cal’s camera, and she’s reluctant to leave without it. When Johnny shows up, Rushborough shows Johnny the video on the camera.

Rushborough demands to know how she found out about all this, and when she tries to avoid answering, he backhands her across the face. Banjo starts to get worked up, and Rushborough demands that she calm him down or else he’ll “break his back”.

Trey is confused by their ensuing conversation. Johnny reassures Rushborough that Trey won’t say anything to anyone. They ask who Trey has told, and she says that she hasn’t told anyone since she blames them for her father leaving. Trey worries about Rushborough and senses that he’s a dangerous and intentional man.

Rushborough clarifies with her, asking if her plan was to get Rushborough to leave, leaving everyone without getting a return on their investment because she dislikes the towns people. Trey says yes. When Johnny points out that he would’ve been run out of town in that case, Trey claims she didn’t think that far.

Rushborough then has an idea, saying that he wants Trey to pretend she went to do a little god-digging and found a gold rock. He says that if she does this, they can cheat these men out of a few thousand quid. Trey agrees, and asks for her camera back but Rushborough insists on holding on to it just in case. Before she leave, Rushborough warns her not to mess things up, and steps on Banjo’s paw as a reminder.


Afterwards, Johnny admits that he’s here because he owes Rushborough money. They cooked up this scheme as a way for him to pay Rushborough back. The hope is to get people in town to invest in his mining company. However, Trey points out that the townspeople here aren’t that stupid and they don’t trust Johnny. Johnny, however, says that the men here all want a chance to potentially get rich and feel like they could be the lucky ones for once.

Before she leaves, she tells Johnny to leave Cal out of it, and Johnny counters that he didn’t want to involve Cal to begin with.

Afterwards, Trey considers her options. She could just tell everyone the truth about what happened, and Rushborough and her father would likely be run out of town. The problem is, she also hates the townspeople and doesn’t particularly want to do them any favors. On the other hand, she could just go with Rushborough’s plan, which would likely end up involving half the town including the people who hurt her brother.

She also thinks about telling Cal, but decides not to since he didn’t seem to want to involve her in his plans either. Instead, she takes Banjo to Lena’s place for her to check out his injured paw. Before she leaves Lena’s place, she asks if Lena knows who was responsible for what happened to her brother, but Lena doesn’t know. Lena tries to ask Trey what’s going on that she suddenly wants answers two years after-the-fact, but Trey doesn’t want to talk.

As she heads home she thinks about her own values and personal code. She thinks that her father and Rushborough are tools she has at her disposal to use against the people who hurt Brendan, and “if she can’t kill anyone for what they did to Brendan, or even send them to prison, she needs a blood price.”

Chapter 10

After Trey leaves, Lena is worried, seeing Trey injured as well as about the questions she’s asking about Brendan. Lena goes to see Mrs. Duggan and brings by a jar of homemade jam. She also asks if Mrs. Duggan has ever heard of these rumors about gold until now.

Before she’s willing to answer, Mrs. Duggan wants some information of her own. She asks Lena why she kissed Johnny Reddy once upon a time when she was engaged to Sean Dunne, and Lena admits that a part of her wished Sean would find out and leave her so she’d end up going to college instead. She wanted him, but she also wanted to roll the dice and let chance decide.

Satisfied, Mrs. Duggan tells Lena there’s never been a whisper about gold anywhere around here until now. Lena asks why she hasn’t said that to anyone, and Mrs. Duggan says no one’s asked her until now and she’s tired of everyone treating her like someone who’s past her “sell-by” date. After Lena leaves, she reminds herself to do something nice for her mother.


Cal and Mart talk about how things went smoothly today. Rushborough found some of the gold they planted and everyone cheered and reacted as you’d want them to. Still, Cal feels edgy. He can tell Rushborough is wary of him, he’s still feeling out Johnny and he knows that Trey is keeping things from him.

Lena swings by Cal’s place that night and tells him what Mrs. Duggan told her about there never having been any rumors about any gold. Mrs. Duggan is 80 so she’s been around a long time. Michael Duggan, who supposedly once found some gold around here, was her uncle-in-law so if there were rumors she would know about them.

Cal and Lena then start piecing things together. Lena thinks that Johnny and Rushborough are in on this con together. She thinks that there was “trouble” in London which is why Johnny’s out here now. Cal suspects that Rushborough is going to start needing more money for mining equipment. He worries that everyone here has land they can mortgage to the bank to get money to invest.

They also both agree that Rushborough is shady and that they should keep an eye on him.

Chapter 11

Cal heads down to the pub to gather with the other men who are celebrating the day’s “victory” over a pint. As Rushborough gushes about how excited he is, Cal sees that he’s putting on a big show. Rushborough then excuses himself early, leaving the men to drink without him. With him gone, the men start talking about whether there really is gold. They wonder if they should let Rushborough have it for just a few thousand.

Johnny then says that if they want a piece of the action they’d probably have to pay Rushborough to get equity in his mining company. He says that he paid a few thousand for the rights, but Rushborough might charge more now that he thinks he’s found something. He also recommends that they act sooner rather than later since once he starts finding gold it’s going to get really pricey to buy in. He also warn them that it sound like he has other investors in London, so he might not even want more investors.

Cal is about to interrupt with a question when Trey comes up to them. As instructed, she tells her dad about listening in on his conversation and poking around where Rushborough had described and she produces the rock with a bit of gold in it. The men laugh at themselves for putting in all that effort to salt the river.

Cal heads out as the other men get excited about Trey’s discovery.


Later that night, Cal intercepts Johnny since Johnny had said previously that he wanted to talk. Johnny tells Cal that Rushborough doesn’t want Cal in on this. Cal in turn tells Johnny that he doesn’t care what he’s doing or what con he’s running, he just wants Johnny to leave Trey out of it. Cal says it’s clear to him that Johnny and Rushborough are in on it together. He says the more money he fleeces out of the people in town, the more grief Trey will get when Johnny leaves.

Finally Johnny admits that he doesn’t have a choice. He owes the man money and Rushborough means business. He’ll hurt people to get what he wants. Cal then punches Johnny for bringing this guy here to where Trey is, and the two men wrestle. Cal tells Johnny to be gone by Monday, but Johnny says if Rushborough thinks he took off, he’ll just go after his family. But Cal says he’ll deal with Rushborough.


At home, Trey thinks about how she was originally planning on telling Cal what she was up to, but she knew she’d promised him in the past not to do anything about what happened to Brendan, and she was worried he would try to talk her out of it. When Johnny gets home with a broken nose, he yells at Trey that she must’ve told Cal or Lena, but Trey says she didn’t tell anyone. She says he must’ve figured out the truth himself. Johnny tells her to go talk to Cal tomorrow and tell him to stay out of it, and Trey readily agrees since she doesn’t like him being involved anyhow.

Chapter 12

Mart comes by Cal’s the next day and mentions how Johnny says he was too drunk and slipped and now looks a mess. He asks about why Cal looks like he also took a fall. Mart then talks about grudges and how there’s bound to be a lot of grudges if people end up investing in Rushborough’s mining business based on Trey saying she found that gold and things don’t pan out.

Cal warns Mart that Mrs. Duggan says there’s no gold. He explains that Johnny owes Rushborough money, which is why he’s not able to just leave town.


Lena goes up to see Sheila on the pretense of dropping of a jar of jam. She tells Sheila if she needs some place to stay for a while, for her and the kids to come to her. Just in case they need to get away from Johnny for a bit.

Sheila mentions how there some people in town that help out with stuff like mending fences and whatnot, but both Sheila and Lena know they only do it because they feel like they have a debt they owe Sheila (presumably because of what happened with Brendan). Sheila says she knows Lena’s not one of those people.


Trey shows up at Cal’s place, and she asks what he and her father fought about. Cal doesn’t explain, but tells Trey they she shouldn’t get involved in whatever Johnny is up to. Cal says that things are going to get messy because there’s no gold. He tries to warn her that if she gets involves in their business then she’s going to get flak from people once Johnny and Rushborough leave. But Trey says he doesn’t care about the town and can take care of herself.

He says that right now she could have a future and open up a good carpentry shop that does good business. If she gets mixed up in this stuff, then everything changes for her. He says people here won’t treat her the same way afterwards. Trey admits that she wants those guys to lose money.

In the end, neither Cal or Trey agree to stay out of it though they both want the other one not to be involved in this mess.

Chapter 13

Late that night, Trey hears something outside. She goes to tell her parents, and Johnny goes outside to see a bunch of cars with their high beams on and a metal can that’s been lit on fire outside. Sheila understands that it’s meant as a threat if things go poorly.

The next morning Johnny asks Trey how many people she thinks there were, and she says probably 8. He tells her to hang around town and try to figure out who are the ones who are skeptical and threatening them. At home, Maeve is upset thinking things are not going well and that their father is going to end up leaving again because of it.

That night, Trey is asked by her parents to stay in and help out with her siblings. She reluctantly agrees. Late at night, she hears Banjo howling outside. She goes to see what it is and finds a dead body.

Chapter 14

Trey goes to inspect the body and sees that it’s Rushborough. She stays with the body for a long time. In the morning, his phone rings, and Trey leaves both the body and the phone behind and walks away. Trey goes to see Cal and tells him what she discovered. She says he looks like his head was bashed in and he was stabbed too.

Cal and Trey return to the body. He flat-out asks her if she had anything to do with it, saying that they’ll handle things differently if so. But that makes Trey laugh (“some cop you are”) and reassures him she just found the body. In that case, Cal says they’ll phone the guards and let them deal with it.

Cal inspects the body, knowing it could be a long time before the guards are able to get a medical examiner out here. They call the guards and Cal says that they should stay there and make sure no one messes with the scene. Cal says the guards are going to want to question her, and he offers to accompany her since she’s allowed have an adult present. Trey accepts.

Soon, Johnny comes walking up. Cal tells him what happened and Johnny seems genuinely surprised, but he can’t be sure. Johnny rushes off, and Trey suspects Johnny has gone to find Cal’s camera with the video of the men planting the gold that Rushborough took from her.

Chapter 15

The guards drive up in the form of two uniformed beefy men. They let the guards know that they’ll be at Cal’s place working on stuff if they want to talk to them. Around lunch, Detective Nealon arrives to speak to Trey. He asks questions about Rushborough and about when she found the body.

She mentions being awoken at night and hearing some voices of a group of people talking. When she makes clear that the men she overheard had local accepts, Cal finally understand what Trey is playing at. She wants Detective Nealon to target the men who could have potentially killed her brother to bring them to justice. As she answers his questions, he wonders if Trey tampered with the body. They mention that Johnny knew Rushborough.

Trey tells the detective that Cal is a retired detective as well, and Nealon takes that information in. He asks Cal about what happened, and then asks to speak to him privately. Alone, he asks Cal about Trey and and about Johnny.

Both Trey and Cal are careful not to mention anything about the business with the gold. They say that Rushborough had family around here and knew Johnny from London. After the detective leaves, Cal worries that whatever Trey has planned he’s essentially stuck following her down that road to cover for her, and he hopes she’s doing it carefully.

Chapter 16

When Trey gets home, Johnny questions her about what happened with the detective. He approves of her answers. She tells him the truth, that she told them that Johnny met Rushborough in London, but that Rushborough was here about family stuff. Also she tells him that she heard some men with local accents talking late at night around the area where she found the body. Johnny is relieved, since it takes the heat off of him and leads the detective in the direction of the other neighbors.

She asks Johnny if he’ll be leaving soon, but Johnny essentially says that he needs to stick around until the detectives are done poking around or else it’ll seem suspicious. Trey doesn’t ask Johnny if he killed him — she doesn’t care either way.


Mart comes by Cal’s place as he’s gardening and asks about the discovery of the Rushborough’s body. Cal is certain someone will say something to the police about the whole gold business sooner or later, since everyone around here knows about it and most people know about them salting the river, but Mart disagrees. He says that he forgets Cal’s from around here, but that no one is going to say anything to the guards.

When Cal talks to Lena, he tells her that he thinks Detective Nealon is the type of guy who is going to get his man. Lena tells Cal about what happened with Johnny and the fire in front of his house. Cal purposely told Mart the truth about the gold in hopes they would warn Johnny off, but he didn’t realize they would do so in such a dramatic fashion. Lena thinks Johnny was panicking as a result of the “warning”. He came over to her place last night asking for her help in calming the other neighbors down.

Lena and Cal wonder if Johnny really was the one who killed Rushborough. Lena says he left her place around 8:30 last night, but he was in a state, having a tantrum about how he and his family were going to end up burnt to death. Lena also thinks there’s a good chance the whole town won’t mention anything about the gold, but Cal says that Trey seems determined to point suspicion at the townspeople.

Chapter 17

The next morning, Lena goes to see her sister. With the whole town hungry for gossip, Noreen says that the whole town showed up in the store yesterday. When Lena mentions Johnny as a potential suspect, Noreen says that no one wants it to be Johnny. They know that if they start pointing fingers at Johnny, he’ll go ahead an rat about the whole scheme with the gold to the detectives in order to get the heat off of himself. She also says that people don’t think it makes sense if Rushborough was supposed to be Johnny’s “golden goose”.

Noreen warns that there’s a chance people will start pointing fingers at Cal if Nealon is hungry for a suspect. Cal’s an outsider and if they need to sacrifice someone, he’s a likely choice. They know Cal would do anything for Trey, so if they might suggest it had something to do with her. Maybe they’ll say Rushborough was a pervert who tried something with Trey.

With that, Lena decides she’s going to tell people that she’s engaged Cal. If they want to throw him to the wolves, they’ll have to do it to her, too and she’s not going to do down easy. She knows people will be a little less likely to want to sacrifice him if he’s Noreen’s brother-in-law.

Lena goes over to tell Cal that. She says that people are trying to figure out their story, and she wants to dissuade them from deciding he’s their sacrificial lamb.


That night, Mart wants to go out to the pub and the other men come over to congratulate Cal on his engagement. The tell him that he needs to do the “Marriage Mile” where you run with a torch to your partner’s house and then back to your place to symbolize the joining of their hearths.

Eventually, the topic of Rushborough’s death and Detective Nealon comes up. They ask Cal for his thoughts since he’s also a detective. Cal tells them that he thinks Nealon hasn’t ruled anyone out so everyone’s a potential suspect.

The men muse that Nealon thinks it’s someone local, since the detective doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone in the nearby towns, just here. They say that he’s been asking them whether they had reason to be up in the mountainside the other night. They ask Cal why he thinks the questioning is so specific. Cal says that it’s possible he tracked Rushborough’s phone or he just knows where the guy had been spending his time.

The guys agree they’re all glad that Englishman is dead, and that Johnny sold them out. They consider the options for Johnny. They know if he gets arrested, he’ll squeal on everyone. If Johnny is scared enough, he’ll run. Mart suggests that Cal encourage Johnny to make a run for it, but Cal knows that Trey has her own plans and he doesn’t want to go up against her. Instead, Cal simply says that he’d be happy never to deal with the likes of Johnny Reddy again.

Chapter 18

Back at the Reddy household, Johnny has been sending Maeve out to find out stuff for him now that Johnny and Trey are both reluctant to go out and about town while things are still in flux. Today, Maeve reports back that the Nealon’s questions indicate that he suspects a lot of different people around town. Trey feels a sense of victory when she hears this.

With Trey staying at home, she hasn’t seen Cal recently. Nealon comes to see him again, and he offers him an update on the case. He says that Rushborough’s real name was Terrence Blake and he had his hand in a number of shady businesses like money laundering and drugs. Nealon also says that anything about him having connections to this town was a lie. Nealon suggests that maybe Blake needed to get out of town and Johnny mentioning this place sounded like a good place to get away.

Nealon also tells him that Blake died between midnight and two in the morning. Nealon starts hinting to Cal that he could ask around for information, but Cal tells him that no one tells him anything and that people already assume that he’s friendly with the detective. He says that after this is all over he still needs to live here, and people aren’t going to like it if he’s poking his head around their business.

Nealon then asks Cal why he got into a fight with Johnny. Cal denies it. Nealon also asks if Trey ever had any trouble with Blake, but Cal denies knowing anything. Nealon then says that Johnny’s phone records show he was out and about that night. Then, after finding out about Blake’s death it looks like he went to Blake’s place. Nealon isn’t sure if Johnny’s the guy, but he’s certain Johnny knows something.

Before Nealon leaves, he reminds Cal that he and Trey need to come to the station to sign their statements.

Mart goes to see Cal and talks about how Nealon is stirring things up around town. As they chat, they both agree that Nealon’s not someone who is going to leave until he finds his guy.


Trey goes down to the store, and Noreen says that everyone is worked up over the detective hassling everyone in town. And they’re all mad at Johnny, and Trey by extension, for bringing this guy into their lives. Noreen also tells Trey about Cal and Lena’s engagement.

Chapter 19

Mart swings by Lena’s place to talk to her. He acknowledges that the engagement has given Cal some level of protection, but he also warns her that if Nealon keeps at it and things are getting dicey, they’ll still serve him up Cal to save themselves. Mart says that someone told Nealon that there was a group of lads up on the mountainside that night, and he wonders if it was Trey.

Mart also says that the story that makes the most sense is if Johnny did it. The only thing that doesn’t fit is this story about there being a group of men out on the mountainside that night. Mart hints to Lena that whoever said that needs to “correct the record” so things can go smoothly.

Once Mart leaves, Lena goes to talk to Trey. Before she can say anything, Trey says she needs to know who killed Brendan. Lena talks straight with her, saying that she knows what Trey is trying to do in implicating whoever killed Brendan to Nealon. However, Lean says she only has some guesses about who could’ve been involved and she could be wrong. Also, Lena points out that some of those people could have alibis.

Lena finally tells Trey that she’s not going to give her any names since she knows Trey should be smart enough not to send people to jail based on someone else’s guesses. Then, Lena tells Trey that she needs to go into town and tell Nealon that she didn’t see anyone on the mountainside that night. Trey is obstinate and tells Lena that she’s not going to do that, and she says to leave her alone if she’s not going to tell her the names.

Lena loses her temper and says that everyone is going to say that it was Cal if Trey doesn’t take it back. Trey says she doesn’t care because there’s no evidence. However, Lena says that the only person anyone can prove was on the mountainside is Trey, and if Nealon goes goes after Trey then Cal is going to just confess to get her out of trouble.

Trey keeps telling Lena that she’s not a child, but Lena says part of being an adult to being aware of the consequences of your actions. And as much as she understands Trey’s desire for vengeance, she needs to be aware of where it’ll lead.


Trey and Lena go to meet with Nealon. She admits that she made up the stuff about hearing those guys talking near the mountainside that night. Nealon responds with “I knew it”. Instead, Trey says she saw her dad go outside late at night. However, Trey says that she didn’t want to say it because she know he would think Johnny did it, and she doesn’t think he did it. The way that he was talking about him and Rushborough’s plans didn’t seem like someone who was planning on killing the guy.

Nealon asks why she chose to finally come clean, and Trey says it’s because he’s going around hassling everyone because of her story.

Afterwards, Nealon asks her to sign her statement. He reminds her once that happens it’s a legal records, so if there’s anything untrue, she needs to correct it now. Trey agrees to sign the statement.

Afterwards, Nealon talks to Lena alone. He asks Lena how she convinced Trey to come clean. Lena claims that Trey was already halfway there, and that she was worried about how Nealon might arrest the wrong person. Then, he asks Lena why Johnny was at her place earlier that night. Lena tells him Johnny wanted to borrow money because he owed someone money, but she said no.

Chapter 20

Mart goes by to Cal’s to tell him that they need to do something about Johnny. Cal says it’s none of his business, but Mart says he’s basically becoming one of them now, so he should join the rest of the men. Later that day, Sheila tells Trey that some guys came and took Johnny away.

Sheila talks to Trey about the stuff that has happened. She says that helping Johnny out with the Rushborough situation was a mistake since the people out here would have punished her for it. When Trey says that she doesn’t care, her mother responds that “I lost one child to this place” (referring to Brendan) and that “I’m not losing another.”

Finally, Sheila admits that she killed Rushborough. She says that she didn’t want Trey ruining her life over this. And if she didn’t do it, then Cal would’ve done it. Sheila didn’t want Cal going to jail because he’s Trey’s chance at having a better life. The only thing stopping her at first was worrying about what would happen to the younger kids if she went to jail, but then Lena made it clear that she could take them in, and then at that point Sheila knew what she needed to do.

Trey says even though it looks bad for Johnny, once they go through and look for evidence, they will probably figure out that it’s Sheila. Sheila says that if that’s the case then so be it. Sheila tells Trey that she lured Rushborough out by saying that she had the money that Johnny owes him, and that she’d give it to him if he’d leave. She claimed it was money she’d saved up for Trey to go to college. She simply smashed him on the head when he went to get the toolbox she claimed the money was stored in.

Sheila also says she thinks someone saw her out there and let their sheep out on purpose to help cover her tracks. She left the body there on purpose instead of trying to dispose of it because she needed Johnny to know that the guy was dead so he’d leave.


Meanwhile, the men have driven Johnny out to one of the spots he once claimed had gold and they order him to start digging. Johnny offers to give the men their money back, but the men order him to keep digging.


At the Reddy home, Trey tells her siblings to get into the car before Nealon gets here. Sheila and her younger siblings then drive off. Once Trey sees that her mother’s car is safely at Lena’s place, Trey jumps into action.

At Lena’s place, Sheila claims that they had to come because there was a fire at their place. Sheila calls the fire brigade to report it.

Meanwhile, Trey has lit their shed on fire. As she runs away, however, she hurts her ankle.


At the dig site, Cal gets a text from Lena saying that there’s a fire and Trey is still at the house. He smells the smoke and runs to his car, Johnny sees that it’s his house and insists on coming with him.

Cal drives up the mountainside and stops a short distance from the house to ensure the car is safe. They then proceed on foot as they watch the fire grow. Cal sees Trey limping towards them and breaks out into a run. Together, Johnny and Cal take Trey to the car, but Johnny isn’t getting in.

Instead, Johnny tells Trey about how he really did want to be the guy who could give his family everything they ever wanted, but he really thinks that he never got his chance in life. He tells Trey that if Cal is helping to give her a chance then she should take it. He then says to tell Sheila he’s sorry before he leaves.

Chapter 21

Trey asks to go to Cal’s place, and once she’s settled, Cal checks in with Lena to tell her that Trey is safe. Cal thinks about everyone that could’ve been endangered by the fire and anyone else who might be affected by it, but chooses not to say anything. He knows that if Trey lit that fire, then it was to destroy evidence.

Mart checks in with Cal to see what happened, and Cal says he’s fine. He says that Johnny ran off, but “as far as anyone needs to know, he never made it off the mountain.”

After Trey cleans herself up, she thinks about how her debt to Cal is cleared because she has officially given up her shot at revenge for his sake.

The book ends with Trey and Cal sitting outside, looking out into the night sky.

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