Tuesday, 27 June 2017


Author: Meg Gardiner
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Type: e-book
Series: #1 in the Unsub series
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Dutton
First Published: June 27, 2017
First Line: "The yelling woke her, the rough voice of her father, shouting into the phone."

Book Description from GoodReadsA riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: UNSUB is an eerie, gritty Criminal Minds-type book about a serial killer that puts the tension and twists front and centre. The characters are a mixed bunch and while I can't say they stood out for me, I appreciated that the focus was more on the criminal profiling, multiple twists and nail-biting scenes. Some of the killer's methods of displaying his kills were imaginative to say the least and some verged on almost too gory for little old me. Almost.

The plot was fairly complex and was sprinkled with pockets of tension. The twists and red herrings had me guessing and second guessing my theories about the identity of the elusive Prophet. I was certain that one of my suspicions would be right and held on to that idea until near the end (I'm nothing if not stubborn) but I will have to admit defeat on this one. And while some of Caitlyn's epiphanies stretched the realm of plausibility it was still an enjoyable and very engaging read.

The only issue I had was that once they figured out the killer's cryptic code things got a little murky. There were a lot of victims and I found it a hard remembering each of them and how they fit into the killer's grand scheme. This scheme was complex, dark and is based on something that some people may be well versed in but I'm not one of them. I struggled a bit remembering the various levels in his nefarious plot. 

The book ends with an intense scene while also giving readers a hint about the future of this fledgling series. I can see why this book has been optioned for a TV program. It's got all the makings for a solid criminal profiling-type show.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Dutton and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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