Hero Haters by Ken MacQueen is a thriller. There’s a little bit of hero in all of us, but for some of us, our hero has risen to the test. Stopping a shooter in a school. Pulling a man out of a burning car. Rescuing a child from a well. In Ken MacQueen’s world, ordinary people putting others’ lives ahead of their own are honored with an award for exceptional heroism with the Sedgewick Sacrifice Medal. Quietly, one by one, the recipients are disappearing, recipients vetted by one man: Jake Ockham. As the storm of hatred and disillusion swirls, Jake is again called to the most sublime act of setting others before himself.
Bottom line: Hero Haters is for you if you like high tension thrillers driven by twisted logic and determined heroes.
Strengths of the story: Hero Haters masterfully stimulates the readers feelings of urgency, angst, and “oh, shit, no.” This is one book where once you start, either you won’t put it down or you’ll put it down fast because you can’t take the intensity. The characters, good and bad, are well developed and feel like real people. The story line is truly well thought out. Ken MacQueen had to do a lot of plotting about what happened to these characters years before the story starts in order for it to be this flawless. The story moves distinctly between Washington State and Western Pennsylvania, and makes it easy to follow what is happening in the two locations.
Where the story fell short of ideal: This one doesn’t, which is unusual for me with thrillers. Usually I get to the end, look back at the story and find all kinds of contrived scenarios, plot holes, and inconsistencies between character motives and actions. That is not the case with Hero Haters. If I have to pick something as weak, I will say I had some trouble keeping the timeline straight at the start of the book. I didn’t realize this until I was about ⅔ way through and while surprising me, didn’t detract from the story.