Wow, what an incredible read! Unsub is this month’s Criminally Good Book Club book and it may just be our best book club read to date!
A 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?
Unsub = phenomenal! Need I say more, well… this is a book review, so I guess I should – but that’s a lengthy, detailed blurb so I won’t elaborate any further on the events that take place in this book. Unsub is an incredibly riveting and exciting novel – it’s a novel that gets your adrenaline pumping and you’re desperate to know if Caitlin can solve the case that her father couldn’t. So many factors combine to make this the fantastic read it is – it’s a police procedural but has strong psychological elements and that makes it the perfect novel for crime fiction fans!
The psychological elements come largely from the Prophet, not only in the brutal way he murders his victims, or the public display of the murders, but in the mental scars he leaves on the detectives working the case. However, for Caitlin, this mental beat-down started long before she became a detective – she witnessed this case tear her father apart when she was a child, so to say this case is personal is an understatement! It’s been said that this novel is ideal for fans of the TV series, Criminal Minds, and I couldn’t agree more, the psychological pull is so strong and the case so complex, you can’t help but become engrossed in the plot.
A few things really stood out for me in this novel, one was the familiar trope of the annoying journalist, there at every murder, annoying as ever. Bart Fletcher was that journalist and the way Gardiner used him in this novel was very well done. Secondly, Deralynn, that member of the public who is crazy obsessed with the Prophet and may just be more clued up than the detectives working the case; again, I loved how Gardiner used her character in this novel. I’m trying to be as vague as I can here because this is a complex, yet intelligent, novel and I really think you need to know no more than the blurb states before reading it. There are lots of characters in this novel but they all have a purpose and everything fits together perfectly.
Unsub has sprinkles of black humour which I loved:
“It’s the meth fairy. Tweakerbell.”
I cannot recommend Unsub enough, it’s explosive in nature and I’m just thankful it’s a fictional story because the murders are truly chilling. It moves at a rapid pace but it has to because as the murders escalate, time is against those working the case and the victims. And it fills my heart with so much joy that there is a sequel to follow because while the ending was just, the story is definitely not over! I cannot wait for Unsub #2 – Into the Black Nowhere.