Review: Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner

9781101985557Darkly and extravagantly imagined, full of pulse-pounding action and brutally emotional highs and lows, Meg Gardiner’s UNSUB was a tremendous work of suspense fiction, and my favourite thriller of 2017. Its sequel, Into the Black Nowhere, doesn’t quite reach those same heights, lacking the character depth and intricate plotting of its predecessor, but is nonetheless a breakneck ride from first page to last. Gardiner steps on the gas early, and it’s pedal to the metal until the very end.

This time round Caitlin Hendrix of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit is tasked with hunting down the Texas-based ‘Saturday Night Killer’. Disturbingly adept at abducting women from seemingly safe venues, somehow gaining the trust of his victims before brutally dispatching them, the killer is identified by Hendrix and her peers in the opening hundred pages of Into the Black Nowhere, sacrificing mystery for the suspense involved in trying to get under his skin and indict him. Just when you think things are wrapping up a little too neatly and succinctly, the Saturday Night Killer escapes custody, planning revenge on those who helped play a role in identifying him. And as fast as Hendrix’s FBI unit is, the killer is even faster; impossibly so. Could the killer have an accomplice?

A furiously-paced tale that you’ll devour in a single go, Into the Black Nowhere is replete with bloodshed, mayhem, and twists. Meg Gardiner’s prose will draw you in, her short, sharp chapters ratchet the tension, and the payoff lands like an unexpected punch to the stomach. This is turbocharged entertainment, pure and simple.

ISBN: 9781101985557
Format: Hardback
Imprint: Dutton Books
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publish Date: 30-Jan-2018

Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner


Darkly and extravagantly imagined, full of pulse-pounding action and brutally emotional highs and lows, UNSUB is a tremendous work of suspense fiction. The nerve-shredding never lets up for a minute as Edgar Award-winner Meg Gardiner picks you up by the scruff of the neck and shakes you vigorously, over and over again, until finally shoving you to the ground, standing over you, and with a smile, asks if you’re ready to go again, with a sequel clearly already in the works. Canny plotting, tight prose, swift tempo; the only thing readers will be left wanting is more.

Two decades after a five-year murder spree that cost 11 lives and the sanity of Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Detective Mack Hendrix, the serial killer dubbed the Prophet resurfaces. Mack’s daughter, Caitlin — a freshly-appointed Narcotics detective — is assigned to Homicide to work the case, her superiors hoping she can utilise her father’s exhaustive knowledge of the killer to facilitate a quick resolution. But the Prophet is shrewder, bolder, and far more savage than ever, leaving taunting notes addressed to the wider public, and later to Caitlin herself. It’s clear he wants an audience as he builds to his psychotic, bloody crescendo, in a case that becomes significantly more personal for Caitlin.

Gardiner piles on the plot twists, false leads, violent set pieces and climactic surprises in a novel that at times strays into implausible territory as the Prophet’s schemes become increasingly grandiose, but with its breakneck pace and plethora of memorable homicides, readers won’t have a chance to second-guess its extravagances, and in fact, will appreciate its pedal-to-the-medal summer blockbuster style. Gardiner has a gift for sustaining momentum that never lets up, constantly upping the ante, topping off proceedings with a genuinely heart-stopping climax.

Agonisingly suspenseful, served up with pulpy panache and a hero to root for, UNSUB stands as the best thriller of the year, securely positioned as the book to beat.

ISBN: 9781101985526
Format: Hardback (229mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Imprint: Dutton Books
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publish Date: 27-Jun-2017
Country of Publication: United States