Thursday 23 June 2022





"Mark Rogers knows that the stylish, polished picture frame in which we live is riddled with holes, in which worms live."
—James Sallis, author of Drive

Hugo Berenson has spent a lifetime hunting down ex-Nazis and bringing them to justice. Now in his 60s, with a legendary career behind him, he’s gone to ground in Jersey City, living a quiet and anonymous life. Just another old man on a park bench.

When a nine-year-old girl goes missing, and when the authorities barely raise a finger to find her, the panic-stricken mother seeks out Hugo Berenson.
A hunter renowned for tracking his prey.
For never giving up.

Helping Rosa find her child didn’t make sense. I was done. Slow. Old. Only minimally interested in my fellow man.
The thing is, I’d spent a lifetime hunting men to bring them to justice. It was a hunt of retribution. Many years of it.
I’d never hunted someone to save them.

Evil flows – from Dachau to the alleys of Jersey City.
One man will stem the tide.
Gray Hunter.

I'm a big fan of author Mark Rogers' work. My problem is I just haven't read enough of it. Red Thread and the co-authored, The Death Dealer (with Adam Rocke) are my paltry efforts at keeping pace with his output. An invitation to read one of his latest offerings, Gray Hunter, was too good to pass up though.

It's an intriguing book. An elderly retired Nazi hunter, Hugo Berenson joins forces with a concerned Hispanic woman, Maria to search for her missing younger sister. Maria is initially sceptical about Hugo being up to the task. She might be underestimating our sixty-something year old. Diamante is missing and mother Rosa and Maria are at their wit's end.

There's some disturbing elements just bubbling away under the surface. What could someone possibly want with a nine year old girl? Shudder! We cross paths with some desperate sorts, where debts can be settled by trading flesh and blood.

Hoboken, New Jersey, disappearance, kidnap, betrayal, police disinterest, family, prison, gangs, card games - high stakes poker, debts, rough bars in rougher neighbourhoods, suspicion, secrets, trafficking, history, family loss, the Holocaust, Nazis, Mossad, manhunts, revenge and justice.

I was gripped throughout. Rogers skillfully blends Hugo's back story and family history of loss and a life spent tracking down evil, with a current, time pressing urgent investigation to save an innocent victim. Along the way he acquires a surrogate family to go some way towards recompensing him for the loss of his own. Hugo and Maria make a formidable double act throughout. Berenson, also discovers a new sense of purpose and leaves us with a new spring in his step. 

I'm hoping Mark Rogers has more Hugo Berenson stories to tell. Future or past? Deal me in.
Gray Hunter is a troubling tale, but also an uplifting one. 

4.5 from 5 

Read - February, 2022
Published - 2022
Page count - 99
Source - review copy from author
Format - PDF read on laptop


  1. I just read an ARC of Jordan Harper's The Last King of California. Think you might enjoy it. It is really good and he has such a way with descriptions.

    Eric Ellis
    Peoria, IL

    1. Eric, thanks for stopping by. I have his She Rides Shotgun on the pile which I ought to read. I wasn't aware he had a new one out soon. I've just read a short synopsis of it and it sounds really good.

  2. This does sound interesting, Col, and I do like a story with an effective mix of background information (and character backstory) with the actual plot at hand. Authors don't always get that right, and it sounds as though it's done well here. And it's hard to think of higher stakes to keep the suspense going...

    1. Margot, I loved the blend of past history with the current urgent timeline. It was a fantastic read.