I am one of those people who is fascinated by serial killer thrillers; think Ragdoll by Daniel Cole and The Fourth Monkey by JD Barker, and, of course, Criminal Minds. Truly, anything with a sicko at the core, I completely eat up. Well folks, if you are like me and are looking for a killer summer read, then you best be adding Unsub, the newest novel by Meg Gardiner, to your TBR piles. Heart pounding, dark and visceral, Unsub had me holding on to the edge of my seat and screaming for more.
Drawing inspiration from the Zodiac Killer, a never caught serial killer who wreaked havoc in California during the 1970s, Unsub follows Detective Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective who finds herself transferred to homicide when the killer at the heart of her childhood reemerges. The Prophet, a notorious Bay Area serial killer, nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case, during her youth and now he is back with a vengeance. Mind games, cryptic messages and violent actions draw Caitlin closer and closer into the Prophet’s web with each gruesome murder.
I was actually lucky enough to win a copy of this novel in a Dutton giveaway. But, like a good book reviewer, I kept this locked on my shelf so I could read it closer to release day. As you all know, I was majorly book slumping and had a bunch of other books up to be read but, when I opened this one, the cover had praise for Meg Gardiner coming from Stephan King, Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter. Needless to say, when these literary greats tell me I need to read a novel, I make it a priority.
I am so glad I did. Not only did this novel knock me right out of my book slump, but I am naming it one of my favourite’s of the year!!
This novel had everything I need to be entertained. A fast moving plot, interesting characters, well-developed backstories and moments of humour to give the doom and gloom some relief. Caitlin Hendrix, our lead, is incredibly likeable and truly a cop that can play with the big boys. I loved her sincerity and ferocity. As for The Prophet, well he makes Hannibal Lector look like a pre-school teacher.
Gardiner does so many things within her prose that made this novel stand out for me. This plot is not a roller coaster, but, instead, a steady build that had me feeling all sorts of anxiety. Gardiner does not let up. I also loved that Gardiner brought so many literary elements into this novel and, as the Prophet’s motives became clearer, I found myself so impressed with the originality it was bringing to the text. This is not your ordinary serial killer thriller.
I do not want to give any specifics away within the plot or the general direction of the text because truly, you need to experience them for yourself. But, trust me when I say, this is absolutely a must read.