Monday, July 2, 2018

Into the Black Nowhere ~ Meg Gardiner review [@MegGardiner1 @DuttonBooks]

Into the Black Nowhere (UNSUB #2)
January 30, 2018
355 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

** Contains spoilers for UNSUB (#1), the first book in this series - see my review here **

Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI's serial crime unit discover the first victim's body in the woods. She's laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest's darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style--posed like Snow White awaiting her prince's kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology--that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy--dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin's profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people's trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.
Into the Black Nowhere was an even better read than UNSUB. We now know Caitlin and not only what happened to her in the first book, but how the Prophet impacted her life in the past, as well. With Caitlin now a part of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, it is her job to get into the minds of serial killers,  It is Caitlin's dream job, but it also required her to move across the country - from California to Quantico, Virginia - leaving Sean and making their relationship now a long distance one.

I liked that, while the story immediately throws Caitlin into a case, to working on profiling and catching a killer, she was definitely still the newbie. We saw how she had to prove herself, to feel things out. That bit of transition not only allows readers to become more familiar with the aspects of her work, but also felt more realistic.

The search for the killer - and then trying to prove whether or not a suspect is really the one to be watching - was intense, sometimes twisted and dark. Yet, it never felt rushed or like it was more dramatic than would actually be true simply for a thrilling read.

I loved that we also saw Caitlin's attempts to balance her personal life (her relationship with Sean, her friendship with Michelle) with not only her new job and the pressures and stressors it provided, but also the distance and absence of physical, face to face interactions. Knowing her better as a person away from being a profiler makes you more invested in her character - as a profiler and in her personal life.

The bits of the story that slowly crept up on you, until you realized just how much they may matter, has me very anxious to read Book 3, The Dark Corners of the Night.

Other Books You May Also Enjoy:  The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance #1) by Jeffery Deaver and the Lucy Kincaid series by Allison Brennan

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