Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: UNSUB

Title: UNSUB (UNSUB #1)
Author: Meg Gardiner
Genre: Adult | Crime | Mystery | Thriller
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: June 27, 2018
Source: Library
Format: Physical

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 (goodreads)?

UNSUB was thrilling, but I was expecting more from the villain. 
Plot: When reading the synopsis, two phrases jumped out at me immediately: Criminal Minds and Zodiac Killer. I love books that get into the minds of serial killers and follow the team that must put a stop to their reign of terror, so UNSUB was a no-brainer. This was my first book by Meg Gardiner and I was impressed by how she unveiled the killer's motivations. I had no idea what made the Prophet tick which made his actions a mystery and I was surprised that I still had questions until the very end of the book. The book set its self up for a nice sequel that I can't wait to dive into!

Characters: Caitlin was close to the case as it was the defining moment that led to her detective father's downfall. As the daughter of the man who was closest to catching The Prophet, she elected to join the Homicide team and track him down. I fell in love with Caitlin almost immediately because I understood the anxiety and desperation in all of her actions. While Caitlin was the main character, we did learn about Caitlin's Homicide team and her close relationships; I especially liked Caitlin's relationship with an internet amateur sleuth.

The Prophet was someone I desperately wanted to know more about. As a killer who personally tormented Caitlin and her father, I wanted to know more about his sick fixation on the Hendrix family and didn't feel that I completely understood that at the end of the book. 

Worldbuilding: UNSUB took place in the Bay Area and Gardiner made use of most of the space. Whether it was following Caitlin to a crime scene or watching The Prophet stalk his latest victim, I felt that I got a great overview of the area and that it was presented authentically. 

Short N Sweet: UNSUB will keep you guessing until the very end, but I wanted more explanation for the Prophet's obsession. 


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