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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lynsay
An overlong blurb for what is actually a succinct, riveting story by a great author. Gardiner delivers a thrilling, fast-paced story about a serial killer with a rather explosive ending in UNSUB.

I’ve only read one other book by Gardiner, THRILLER, and I loved it. She just has this poignant way of writing that expresses so much with so few words with no need for flair. The story itself and the development of her characters sucks you in right away and you’re rocketing from one development to another as everything unfolds. You can’t help but try and guess who the UNSUB actually is as you try to put the clues together. It’s non-stop. You get to the end of the book and your head’s spinning a little because so much stuff happened and the ending is AMAZING and you’re like shouldn’t there be more? Oh there’s always a sequel.

Caitlin’s development throughout the book was fantastic. I really like how Gardiner paralleled her father there. Even though we don’t actually see her father go through his portion of the story (he was the detective when the killer started killing twenty years prior), you get enough pieces of it and you see her start to get consumed by it despite her insistence that the very thing she’s fighting against isn’t happening (although it kind of it).

She’s also a character, a woman, surrounded by people who love her. Her boyfriend and his daughter, and she’s even good friends with her boyfriend’s ex-wife. It’s almost a sickly sweet kind of set-up that’s almost too perfect, but it’s so antithetical to female relationships in a lot of books that I gladly welcomed it. Granted there was some tension between her and a more senior woman in an involved force and that was kind of annoying, but at least it was pitched in a way that it was more of a personality thing with the other woman because she was like that with everyone than a girl on girl dislike because vaginas are immediately adversarial. Caitlin had her moments too with the various other men she was working with but the head-butting with the woman just appeared more in-your-face, I guess, due to my own sensitivities to it.

The story itself was compelling as hell, especially when Caitlin started putting all the puzzle pieces together and she started figuring out just what the killer was modeling his kills after. Super freaky and terrifying. Have I mentioned the ending yet? Holy crap, someone get me the sequel immediately! I need it. I NEED to know what happens. I’m addicted at this point.

There really isn’t much more I can say without spoiling things so I’ll end it here. If you’re a thriller fan you won’t want to miss UNSUB. You won’t be able to put it down once you pick it up. Who needs sleep anyway?

5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lori cope
UNSUB by Meg Gardiner is a very highly recommended psychological thriller/police procedural.

An UNSUB is what the FBI calls an unknown subject. Between 1993 and 1998 anyone who lived in the Bay Area knew about the UNSUB called the Prophet. The Prophet terrorized the area and was responsible for eleven ritualistic murders, all unsolved. Caitlin Hendrix understands the terror and harm the Prophet caused because her father, Mack Hendrix, was the lead investigator on the case. The case nearly destroyed him while tearing her family apart.

Twenty years later Caitlin is a detective on the Narcotics Task Force. When two bodies are found bearing the signature of the Prophet, the sign for Mercury on their bodies, it appears that the Prophet is back, or a copycat, and the killings are going to begin again. Caitlin asks and is reassigned to Homicide where they are hopeful that she can convince her father to share some of his knowledge and insight about the previous cases. As the body count rises along with fear and tension, the Prophet leaves horrifying videos and cryptic written clues. Soon he begins to target Caitlin

UNSUB feature extremely well-developed characters set in a fast paced, complex, riveting plot. Gardiner takes care to set the scene and establish her characters right away; then the action takes off and the tension steadily rises. Caitlin is a compelling, well rounded character and it will be exciting to see her return in another case. (And there will be a sequel, Into the Black Nowhere.) I'll be looking forward to the next case Caitlin is assigned.

Additionally, I was impressed with the skillful way Gardiner presented her complicated plot and the clues that needed to be deciphered in order to stop the murders and figure out who is the Prophet. The Prophet is intelligent and utterly evil, resulting in a gripping thriller with a terrifying killer. (The infamous Zodiac killer was the inspiration for the novel, so it is dark and disturbing.) But he is up against the intelligence and sheer determination of Caitlin, and she is a clever, serious adversary.

All in all, UNSUB is a perfect summer vacation thriller. This is definitely a stuck-over-night-at-the-airport book that will keep you awake and hold your complete attention - only you'll want to be in a well lite area, maybe near security.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bryanna
Meg Gardiner delivers a spine-tingling suspense thriller full of surprises at the turn of every page. Gardiner introduces protagonist Detective Caitlin Hendrix who some would consider a rookie detective. Gardiner throws a monkey wrench into Caitlin’s learning curve: a killer from Caitlin’s past comes back to taunt her. The killer known as the Prophet surfaces after more than twenty years of being dormant and starts killing again. The author provides her readers with Caitlin’s backstory including the history her father has with the killer.

The storyline has many twists and turns and sometimes circles that readers don’t know which way the case is going. Gardiner places readers close to Caitlin so they can see and experience what Caitlin is thinking and feeling, tension builds quickly as the momentum of the storyline increases along with the body count. The author adds support characters to take the story in different directions. Gardiner provides details of each characters’ backstory, to the plot. She helps readers understand Caitlin’s boyfriend Sean as they see him mentoring Caitlin helping her to utilize reasoning skills. Gardiner continues to add additional information for each of the key characters, and she works at keeping her characters realistic to keep the storyline moving forward.

Readers see Gardiner developing subplots that add suspense and intrigue to Caitlin’s investigations. The author places her readers inside Caitlin’s head so they can see how she deals with the Prophet’s personal interest in Caitlin and her family. Readers come to understand Caitlin’s motivation to stop the killer. They see Caitlin having a sixth sense as she comes to know what and why of the murderer's action. Meg Gardiner hooks her readers as she shares some of Caitlin’s feeling with them. They are driven to continue reading until they find what is happening. The author keeps readers in the dark, not revealing the details of the tragic and dramatic ending until the very last. UNSUB takes readers through all the steps in a significant investigation. The UNSUB is a must read and earns a five-star ranking.
The Heroes: A First Law Novel (First Law World 2) :: A First Law Novel (World Of The First Law Series) :: You Are Special (Board Book) (Max Lucado's Wemmicks) :: Silent Spring :: Hannah's List (Reprint) (3/27/11) - By Debbie Macomber
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
virginia silvis
Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner (UNSUB #1)

I was delighted to discover a new Meg Gardiner series, as I had quite enjoyed reading her Jo Becket series, all deeply psychological mysteries. UNSUB focuses on Alameda County, California, Sheriff's Detective Caitlin Hendrix, daughter of the former lead detective on the long-unsolved serial murder case of the Prophet, more than two decades before. A Narcotics detective, Caitlin is transferred to the Homicide detail at the beginning of a new series of killings mirroring the Prophet's reign of havoc.

Ms. Gardiner carries the reader to hell and back, never settling for an easy solution nor for glossy surface emotions. Indeed, nothing here is easy. Caitlin has to prove herself, as she is a homicide rookie, immersing herself in the cold cases from the Prophet's murders--cases she was first exposed to inadvertently at age nine. As her involvement intensifies, the killer targets her, just as her father, Detective Mack Hendrix, had been targeted by the Prophet. Her home life and her own life are in danger.
I won't say this is a one-sitting reading, but it is a can't-put-it-down, have-to-read-to-the-end engrossing mystery.

The publisher generously provided an advance digital copy. I opted to review this novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shalini s
My only fault with this book is it ended. After I type this review I must go find more from this author. And I must see if there will be more books with Caitlin. Anyway, this is a fast paced, intriguing novel about a really smart, organized, evil, poetic serial killer. I guess that is how I’d describe the Prophet. I could use many more adjectives, but my heart is still pounding as I type, so I can’t think clearly yet. So, in case you haven’t noticed, I loved this book. It’s so intense. I like the characters. I love the plot. It is very well written. Well planned out. I think we should be very afraid of the author. I definitely wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. Seriously, if you like thrillers and serial killer stories, you will love this one! If you hate gruesome details and can’t stomach gore and torture, then you better skip this one. Okay, I’m going to go order a copy for my mom, and do some research on Meg’s other books now.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
waleed
Meg Gardiner’s psychological thriller UNSUB moves at a fast pace as the heroine, Detective Caitlin Hendrix, becomes obsessed with the Prophet, a killer who reappears after a 20 year hiatus. Inspired by the Zodiac Killer, UNSUB (Dutton, digital galley) pits Hendrix against a serial killer who enjoys taunting police.

The case is particularly personal for Hendrix because she grew up with first-hand knowledge of the original murders. Her now-retired detective father worked the first series of killings during her childhood and he may hold the key to solving the new murders.

Though some of the Prophet’s antics are over the top at times, Gardiner does a fine job detailing police procedures, making them believable. As all good detective novels do, UNSUB picks up momentum at the end, making it difficult to put down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chetan
UNSUB is a brilliantly written novel, with a wickedly intense plot and perfectly executed pacing. It kept me on the edge the entire time I listened. While driving and listening to this my commute to work was over entirely too quickly, and so was the drive home. I was completely absorbed by this story. I got cranky with my husband when he wouldn't just go outside and let me listen to it.

I highly recommend, whether you listen to audio or read the book yourself it doesn't really matter because the story is that good. Sometimes the story itself supersedes the abilities of the narrator and makes whether they are good or bad a mute point. Hopefully, that last part makes sense to more than just me…
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrew stubbings
Excellent psychological thriller! The serial killer The Prophet is back after 20 years of terrorizing the Bay Area. Detective Caitlin Hendrix remembers this killer from her childhood. The Prophet left the ancient sign Mercury etched in the victims face. All the victims died a horrific death. He destroyed her family. Her father Detective Mack Hendrix was the detective on the case. He played mind games with the detective, killed his partner and basically caused the detective to have a breakdown from his failure to catch him . Now he's back and he's after Caitlin, leaving notes and calling her . Loved this thriller ! I especially loved the characters! Lots of action and violence with graphic scenes. Highly recommend this book if you like a good thriller. Thanks to Meg Gardiner/ PenquinGroupDutton/Netgalley for the digital copy in exchange for my honest review!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jenny adcock
Best mystery that I've read in decades, finished it in one sitting. It literally scared the hell out of me. Let's just say that I checked all my bedroom windows and even turned on a few lights that usually were never left on. PLEASE do yourself a huge favor and ignore the one or two single star reviews--- a few readers will always just not get it. This is a compulsively readable, well-plotted mystery that has garnered uniformly glowing comments from professional critics ! The beautiful Meg Gardiner really rocked it with this one !! Please tell me that you just dropped off a completed draft of your next mystery novel with your publisher...PLEASE.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
joanna basile
Forced and predictable. Lacks character development and forces you to take leaps in understanding the personas. Despite rave reviews from critics the technical details were lacking and the author struggled with law enforcement authenticity. The makings of a good movie maybe but feels like I've already seen it before. I should have known with the title - author was trying to create something that's already been done.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
debs krulder
This is my first time reading this author. She has a fan in me!! What a book. A serial killer, "The Prophet" is back. The main character, Caitlin, is the daughter of a detective who worked the case of the serial killer. Without giving too much away, he was not successful. Caitlin is promoted and she inherits the case. And let the thrills begin!!! This book grabs you and will not let go. Caitlin is very well developed and she has a tenacity that is very strong.The ending is one that will have you saying "OMG", You will do yourself a injustice to not read this book Spell-binding read. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review..
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rizki
Written in a very tight, Dan Brown-esque magazine style of writing, Unsub is fairly thick on plot yet transient on character or story structure.

I feel like this book was the helpless victim of our inability to focus on paragraphs over 20–30 words long as well numerous other casualties in the war for our attention — writing techniques like synchronicity, propulsion (many scenes are linked together conjunctively using 'and' rather than 'because' or 'therefore'), and foreshadowing. I would like to read an earlier draft of this as I suspect the editing hacked and slashed its way through some of the juicier bits of writing that would have propelled the book from screenplay-style writing to a really meaty novel. Sadly, there is nothing really new here as the marketing would have you believe.

I do not want to be unduly harsh on the book: it reads very quickly, the action moves, and it is in many respects a good, tight read. I'll likely return to Gardiner's Unsub world as I'm curious to see how she chooses to develop it.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
dave 25
I was excited to finally get to read this book. I’ve read all other Gardiner books and liked them all very much. This one was ridiculous and I didn’t think it was EVER going to end. It went on and on and on. Don’t waste your time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
arvind passey
UNSUB sure kept me on my toes! I’m a huge fan of books about homicide detectives and serial killers and this did not disappoint! Meg Gardiner created a very creative killer and a very determined detective. I found the characters to be interesting and decently well developed. With each murder, the killer got more creative and brutal. I was fully into this the whole way through the book. This was the first book I’ve read by Meg Gardiner and after UNSUB, I’ll be looking for more! Great book!

Thanks to Penguin’s First to Read program for the free advanced copy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
roald hansen
Thank you to netgalley for an advanced copy of UNSUB in exchange for a fair review.

Caitlin is determined find the serial killer her father was never able to capture when she was a child. The killer has resurfaced after 20 years and she is determined to solve the case once and for all. This book kept me on the edge of my seat. If you enjoy Criminal Minds and psychological thrillers, this book is for you. I had no idea how or why he was choosing his victims, but it all tied together so well and unexpectedly. Even the very end left me shaking my head. I'm ready for book two already!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
aimee bound
I hated this book and couldn’t wait for it to end. I’m not sure if it was the over dramatic reading that made it intolerable or the preposterous, contrived book itself. Very little character development, which would have balanced all the gore. I would not recommend this book and frankly I don’t understand all the praise it received.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
d3adalus
I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in weeks. So well written and I really connected with Caitlin, the main character. The plot is loosely based on one of the most legendary true crime stories in recent history and the next book is based on Bundy? Seriously... sign me up. No really, I finished and immediately one clicked the next. Sorta glad I didn’t find the first until less than a month before the second is released. Don’t think I could wait too much longer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tania chris
This was a gritty, fast paced, and well-written psychology thriller! I loved how well developed the characters were written, especially Caitlin. She was as a tough-as-nails detective and felt human as a opposed to some made up character that had the answers for everything. I loved her flawed personality and how she managed to take on a case that drove her father mad. UNSUB was supremely creepy. Great book for those who like murder mysteries. I can't wait to read more.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alexa
It had been a while since I have read anything from this author but with this book, Meg Gardiner shows she is still at the top of her game.

More, more, and more, please. I literally lost sleep over this book. This is because I could not stop myself from reading one more page that led to another page and another. This book has it all...strong characters, deceivingly evil sadist killer, great storyline, romance, surprises, and an amazing ending. I am sad that I have to wait so long for book two.

Caitlin comes swing right out of the gate. She does not let the fact that she is a newbie to the homicide unit keep her down. This includes facing danger and looking him in the eyes. Speaking of killer's; the Prophet is intelligent and kills with a purpose. Therefore, he is dangerous. Yet, it takes teamwork to stop a killer. Caitlin had strong male presence to help guide her.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
outis
This is the first book in the UNSUB series. The stories in this series are inspired by real-life cases of well-known serial killers.
In this one, a young detective, Caitlin Hendrix, becomes deeply involved in the investigation to find “the Prophet”. Twenty years ago, “the Prophet” went on a killing spree in the Bay Area and then disappeared. Caitlin’s father, Mack, was one of the detectives in charge of the hunt for the sadistic killer. That experience left him and his family broken. Now two bodies have been found that display all the hallmarks of “the Prophet”. Could he really be back after all this time? Or is this a copycat?
If you like dark and absorbing serial killer thrillers, then this one is for you. The pacing was great. The tension kept building and from about the 60% mark onwards, it went through the roof. I was glued to my headphones. Caitlin, the protagonist, is a likable and interesting character. The author provided a good mix between Caitlin’s private life and background and her professional life. The sections about Caitlin’s relationship with her father and her relationship with her FBI boy-friend Sean were well done. All the characters, including minor ones, came across as realistic and were well-drawn.
As soon as I saw Hillary Huber was narrating this, I knew it would be a treat. Her narration experience and terrific talent make this an excellent and professional audiobook listening experience. The way she interpreted the characters’ voices and made them come to life was spot on. There were no issues at all with the production of the audio.
This was my first Meg Gardiner book, but it won’t be my last. I’ve already added "Into the Black Nowhere", the second book in this series, to my wish list and intend to catch up on Meg Gardiner’s backlist. I really enjoyed the author’s style of writing. There are some fairly gruesome scenes, so this may not be for the squeamish, but otherwise, I would highly recommend this as a gripping psychological thriller with an original storyline and some great characters.
Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer dot com
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
walter hollenstein
I really enjoyed this one. I have never read anything written by Meg Gardiner before picking up this book but after reading the description, I knew that I would have to give this book a shot. I am very glad that I did. The books opens with a lot of excitement so I was immediately hooked. There was never a moment where I felt like I wanted to put this book down even though I had to every once in a while due to various responsibilities including my job and other such boring things. This was one of those stories that really got into my head and didn't let go until I got to the last page.

The Prophet killed one person after another, sometimes more than one at a time, before suddenly stopping over twenty years ago. He was never caught and he killed his victims in different ways so that it was hard for the police to get ahead of him. Mack Hendrix was one of those detectives tasked with catching this ruthless serial killer. He was never able to catch the murderer and the case ended up destroying his life.

Caitlin, Mack's daughter, became a detective even after everything her father has went through. She has worked in narcotics but as soon as a murder occurs similar to that of the Prophet, she gets a call. Is it a copycat or could the Prophet be back? She is highly motivated to catch this killer but also fears losing herself in the case as her father did.

I really liked the characters in this one. They just all felt really authentic to me. Caitlin seemed like she really cared about her job but she worked hard to have a life outside of it. I really felt that all of her emotions during the case were very well done. Sean was amazing. He knew exactly how to be supportive without being overbearing. I thought that Sean and Caitlin were wonderful together. The secondary characters were equally well done.

I thought that the mystery was exciting and pretty complex. This wasn't one of those books where you figure out what is going on early on. I don't think I ever figured anything out before the author wanted me to but I never stopped trying. All of the descriptions in the story really helped bring the story to life.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers. This story does involve a serial killer so there are a few more graphic scenes as you would expect in this kind of story. I am really looking forward to future book in this series.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group Viking - Dutton Books via First to Read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
beverlee
Heart-pounding psychological thriller. The writer put a lot of obvious attention to the research that was required to make all of the pieces come together on this one. The intricacy between the killer’s motivation and how the author was able to keep everything flowing smoothly is truly impressive. This was an excellent read. It hits all the right buttons for a murder mystery/cop thriller. A likeable, complex protagonist who is struggling with the ghosts of not only her own past as a cop’s daughter, but with her father’s inability to capture and stop The Prophet. The killer has been dormant for 20 years, just long enough for our protagonist, Caitlin to grow up and find her own place in the department. Then tragedy strikes, and she gets sucked back into the world of the Prophet, having mostly put it from her mind after stumbling upon her father’s murder room where he kept all his research into the case. The killer is now fixated on Caitlin and determined to suck her and everyone she cares about into his world. The pace is fast and tense, ebbing and flowing at just the right moments to keep the reader on the edge of their seat without burning them out with constant build up. When someone Caitlin truly cares for is taken from her can father and daughter come together one last time to find the man that’s been in the periphery of their lives for decades? Complete with a surprise twist at the end, Unsub is intense from start to finish and should be on your “must read” list.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jacob puritz
I just finished reading this book early this morning. I got sucked in from page one. I would say that for most of the book it had me on the edge of my seat. The writing style was great, the pacing was great, the story line was great. It was just an all around great book. I want to read the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
dan pope
I wanted to love this book. To adore it. A fictional take on Zodiac complete with a return? What's not to love? But just like China Lake, this book suffers from timing issues. The first half is a 2 star - slow and plodding. The second half a solid 5 - quick, exciting, well plotted and paced. If Meg Gardiner ever writes a whole book as good as the ending of this one it would be impossible to put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kelly gagne
"By the doorbell a faded sticker announced that Jesus Saves, but Caitlin saw no evidence of it. Not tonight, she thought. Tonight, he didn't get the call."

UNSUB has all the elements of a well-executed psychological thriller, a cunning and psychopathic serial killer, compelling suspense, jaded characters, and excellent police procedural work. UNSUB is one of the best psychological police procedural novels I have read in a long time. It falls right in line with J.D. Barker's The Fourth Monkey as one of my favorites.

"An UNSUB: the unknown subject who would come to be called the Prophet."

Caitlin, daughter of the infamous Mack Hendrix, the detective known for almost capturing the notorious serial killer known as The Prophet is now all grown up, having followed in her daddy's footsteps and working in law enforcement. When the body of young woman turns up in a cornfield, the Briarwood Sheriff's office determines that The Prophet may have returned after decades of what can only be considered a hiatus. Homicide Sergeant Joe Guthrie asks Caitlin to join the team given her connection to the lead investigator from the Prophet case... her father. Guthrie feels that Mack has more intimate knowledge of the case, and that Caitlin is the key to helping them unlock it. Only it won't be that easy, her father was never the same after the Prophet case. He was committed to a mental hospital where he was treated for anger management, and suicidal tendencies. As the case begins to flourish, with every step that Caitlin feels she's getting closer to the Prophet, she finds she's getting closer to losing herself in the process, just like her dad did all those years ago. Is it paranoia? Obsession? Or is it something else entirely?

What really amplifies this storyline in my opinion is all the symbolism that Meg Gardiner uses. The Prophet uses a symbol to not only represent himself and claim his work, but he also uses it to represent his beliefs. We also see symbolism in the method in which he completes his murders, in the victims he chooses, down to the way in which he kills them, and the locations and positions in which he leaves their bodies. It's all propelling the story forward and enriching his character development.

"It depends on what mercury means to him," she said, "Mercury, the planet closest to the sun? Or Mercury, the winged messenger--Roman god, guide of souls to the underworld. Or maybe mercury the chemical element. Symbol Hg.

Even the fact that Caitlin takes on the case to capture the Prophet, to finish what her father couldn't years ago, is symbolic in itself.

The best psychological thrillers in my opinion are those that are like completing a puzzle, with each chapter you're placing piece after piece, slowly until the finished product appears before you.

The was my first novel by Meg Gardiner, and I'm very impressed by her writing. Her research was excellent, her execution was flawless, this is truly a masterpiece. I'm anxious to read the next in the series, Into the Black Nowhere as I've become invested in these characters and I'm interested to see where the story takes us.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
texast
Terrific and tense, told at a breakneck pace, UNSUB is crime fiction at its best. A damaged female protagonist faces off against a brilliant, psychopathic serial killer akin to the Zodiac. Gardiner's writing is sublime, concise and riveting. She really gets rhythm going with her writing and your eyes will just fly over the page. First time reading her, but it definitely won't be the last. A scary and indelible read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pam garcia
Very chilling. A likable leading woman who is smart and a bad-ass. A scary killer who is well written and researched (based on an actual crime). Paced well. Ending is a real nail biter. If you're reading this one at night you'll probably want to keep a nightlight on. I sure did. Looking forward to the next in the series.

Netgalley ARC received for an honest review.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ambo
I thought the story was far fetched as was the ending.

Tjenover all book was boring and did not hold my attention.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ganjar santoso
A dark, riveting, suspenseful thriller that's a definite MUST read! With the chilling storyline, complex characters that are easy to connect with, secrets, lies, mystery, intense situations, and intriguing twists, this emotional roller-coaster of a story will capture you right from the start, and not let go till the very end. One of the best suspenseful thrillers that I have read this year! This was an excellent book, and a fantastic beginning to this exciting new series. I can't wait for the next one. 

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for 6 months, but when two bodies are found that resemble the work of the Prophet, an UNSUB (aka unknown subject) that terrorized the Bay area in the 90's which her father was the lead detective on the case, homicide detectives bring her in to verify what they already fear: he's back. Although she was just a child at the time, the Prophet destroyed her family, was the cause of her nightmares, especially after seeing the crime scene photos of his destruction, and was the cause of her father's psychological break, also destroying his career. 

When she's brought into the task force, she's determined to break his code, and do whatever it takes to catch him, hopefully without repeating her father's mistakes. Her boyfriend Sean is an agent with the ATF, as well as an explosives expert. He is great at keeping her grounded, not letting the cases get to her, or bringing them into her personal life like her father used to. When he's accidentally caught up in the case, the Prophet uses it to taunt Caitlin, to let her know that he can and will hurt all of the people she cares about. 

With the Prophet seemingly one step ahead of them at every turn, Caitlin is more determined than ever to break his code, and catch him once and for all. She finally figures out the code, but will it give them enough time to stop him before it's too late? The Prophet is playing psychological games with her, trying to break her, but will she allow him to like he did to her father? With time quickly running out, will she be able to keep everyone she loves and cares about safe from the destruction of the killer? Or is there more going on than they know? Are the police walking into the trap he's set for them? You'll have to read this to find out, but you won't be disappointed! 

Meg Gardiner is a talented and exceptional author that is a master of writing suspenseful thrillers. She effortlessly captures her readers from the beginning, and will keep you on the edge of your seat till the last word is read. Although I'm not a fan of cliffhangers, this story does end on a big one, but it's necessary. With a story this complex, it is too long to try and fit into one book. It also leads into a new chapter of the characters lives, which is definitely something that I'm looking forward to reading. I'll be anxiously waiting for the next book in this series. 

I strongly recommend this book, series, and exceptional author! 

I have voluntarily reviewed this arc provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kaity davie
Inspired by the Zodiac killer who was never caught comes a surprising thrilling and riveting novel that gives an amazing thought process into a killers mind.

Caitlin Hendrix was an undercover narcotics agent when the killer that disappeared more than 20 years ago resurfaces and taunts her to find him. Mercury calls out Caitlin when she is transferred to homicide to show that he knows that she is working on the same case her dad, Mack, couldn't solve. Mercury goes through several different obstacles and enlists people to be able to help him out in ways they didn't even know they were helping him, they were just pawns in his game. Mercury makes sure to let Caitlin know that she will be in the same position her dad was when he was in the mental ward and she will always be his little girl.

Caitlin refuses to play his games but is sucked in and the case starts to really take her over. It starts to affect her in ways she never fathomed. She is willing to go the distance in order to catch Mercury even if it kills her.

Meg Gardiner did an amazing job with this novel!! It was my first by her and I can say that I am very glad that I got the chance to read this one! I am even more excited about the next in the series.

This book was another wild ride that you didn't know what was going to happen next much less who the killer really was. His identity was revealed in the best possible way and was pulled together amazingly! The events were so well planned and I would like to say unpredictable!

This is one of those books that you don't want to know too much and the synopsis was the perfect amount of info to give you a small background and enough to go off of in order to understand past events that helped shape the future of what Mercury was doing.

Mercury is one sick man who could have used some mental help in more ways than one, which in turn makes him the perfect psycho killer. He was deranged enough to make you want him to fail but he was always one step ahead until the end.


Disclaimer: I received this e-book from NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions stated are my own and not influenced by the exchange.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marisa sanchez
The first book in a new mystery series, UNSUB by Meg Gardiner is a high-octane police procedural about the search for a chilling serial killer known as the Prophet.

When a gruesome murder scene appears to indicate the Prophet has inexplicably begun killing after a twenty year absence, homicide detectives turn to narcotics Detective Caitlyn Hendrix for assistance. Caitlyn’s father, Mack Hendrix, worked the original investigation so police hope she can offer insight into the current case. Caitlyn is soon hard at work attempting to solve the cryptic message the killer leaves behind but can she succeed where her father failed and bring the killer to justice?

Caitlyn is incredibly smart but she is still an inexperienced detective. She also has a personal connection to the case which has the potential to cloud her judgment during the investigation. The first order of business is to figure out if the current murders are the work of a copycat and if not, why did the murders stop? Caitlyn is extremely focused as she attempts to figure out the meaning of the Prophet’s messages but she has made little progress when he strikes again.

The investigation has barely begun as the Prophet claims more victims. The murders are increasingly violent and carefully staged. Caitlyn is having a difficult remaining detached as the pressure mounts to understand the reason for the murders. The case takes a personal turn when Caitlyn’s boyfriend, ATF agent Sean Rawlins, goes missing right after she finally discovers the Prophet’s motivation for the murders, the cryptic messages and the elaborate staging at the crime scenes. With very little information to go on, Caitlyn, Mack and the rest of the team are in a race against time to locate Sean before it is too late.

UNSUB is an unbelievably fast-paced and engrossing police procedural. Meg Gardiner ratchets up the tension with back to back murders, enigmatic clues and increasingly grotesque staging at the crime scenes. The novel comes to an adrenaline-filled, pulse pounding conclusion that neatly sets up the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy for review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
madeleine15
Mercury, the Prophet, the Messenger is a serial killer. He’s been silent since the 1990s but now has returned in malicious, blood-curdling ways. His first killing in years is a double homicide, accompanied by his message pounded into his victims’ chests. UNSUB stands for unknown subject. Detective Caitlin Hendrix cannot believe he has returned and is obsessed with finding him. Her problem is that this killer is responsible for undoing her own father’s sanity and yet her father is probably the one who truly knows the psyche of this killer. But insisting he unload all he holds in his mind may enable them to find the killer but destroy her father in the process. His partner had died in that investigation years ago and he had tried to kill himself. This is obviously no mundane, predictable killer!
Clues begin to make sense, as more deaths occur and the killer sets his sights on Caitlin. Caitlin seems like a vulnerable woman instead of an intrepid detective. Her anxiety and fear of getting sucked into the power and control of this killer keeps the reader on edge as much as the grisly details of the killings set the reader’s psyche on shaky ground. The plot’s intensity increases as Caitlin and other detectives figure out the time and even place where the next killing will occur but something always goes awry so they fail to nail the psychopathic killer.
The Prophet has some kind of affinity to the poet Dante and his famous work, The Inferno. However, even knowing that doesn’t enable the reader to predict what the killer is thinking, feeling and how he will next act.
This is a superb psychological thriller that forces readers’ adrenaline to flow galore. The twist at the end of the story makes one gasp with shock, an ending that guarantees a sequel to this novel. Deftly plotted, Meg Gardiner! We look forward to the follow-up to this amazing crime novel!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
victoria calder
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
elsie doubl
The Prophet terrorized the Bay Area 20 years ago. He left 11 victims behind each killed in a horrific way ... and then he disappeared.

Caitlin Hendrix is a new Narcotics Detective when The Prophet seems to reappear. This is the monster she has nightmares about. Her father, Mack, was the lead detective when The Prophet was first known. Mack almost lost his sanity over his failure to catch this guy .... his partner was killed ... and Mack tried to kill himself.

Now Caitlin must face her biggest fear. Two bodies are found, each bearing the same injuries as his earlier victims. The bodies are mutilated and he sends notes ... the only clues he leaves for the police.

Although her father tries to warn her as she draws closer to the killer with each new killing.

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? (from book synopsis)

Excellent psychological thriller! Kept me glued from the very first page to the explosive sending. I have read a few of this author's earlier books ... she has really mastered her craft. The characters are credible and I really enjoyed the relationship between Caitlin and her father.... and the relationship between Caitlin, her FBI boyfriend, Sean, Sean's ex-wife and daughter.

Another book featuring Caitlin Hendrix will be out sometime next year. INTO THE BLACK NOWHERE. I will be watching for it ... will you?

Many thanks to the author / PENGUIN GROUP Dutton / Netgalley for the digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marlise
I couldn't put this book down! I was held by each page while on the edge of my seat! What Caitlin, as a child, went through while her father tracked THE PROPHET and ruined his life; then her turn as a detective 20 years later, THE PROPHET resumes where he left off! This was absolutely spellbinding! Writing doesn't get better than this!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lucinda
I love this book and could not get enough! The characterisation was perfect and I was on the edge of my seat throughout this suspenseful masterpiece! I highly recommend this crime thriller!
I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and views expressed are my own.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ebrahim
In the 1990s, the Prophet, a vicious serial killer, terrorized San Francisco and gave Caitlin Hendrix nightmares. Her father, the lead investigator, was nearly driven mad and his career destroyed by the taunting cryptic messages and lack of success in the catching the killer.

Now Caitlin is a Narcotics detective. She’s a relatively inexperienced detective, having only been at the job for six months, but when a new series of killings reminiscent of the Prophet’s begin, she’s tapped to work the case. Her father warns her against becoming involved, but Caitlin feels drawn to catch the brutal murderer.

Caitlin fears what working the case will do to her. She watched her father’s disintegration, but she equally feels drawn to stop the killing. Luckily she is supported by her boyfriend, Sean. He helps her keep a grip on reality.

The story is based on the Zodiac killing that terrorized San Francisco and the details are realistic. Caitlin is a smart lady who tamps down her fears to catch a killer. Sean is a good male character. He supports Caitlin without trying to keep her from doing what she feels she must do.

I recommend this book if you enjoy gritty, often gruesome, police procedurals. The pace is fast, the mystery is complex, and the writing is good.

I received this book from Dutton for this review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mockingbird
I have been reading Fictional Crime books for years - and finally ran out of authors who produced interesting and riveting reads without sex thrown in...so tired of so-called mysteries that are really romance novels with a bit of intrigue thrown in...but so excited because Meg Gardiner and Hendrix are tops!!! Sadly, though, I’m flying through her series so — give me more girl!!! Thanks SO much!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
severyn
UNSUB by Meg Gardiner is a deep, twisted, and evil psychological thriller that was inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer who destroyed a young detective’s family, and terrorized California’s Bay Area in the late 1960s.

He calls himself “The Prophet" and he is back in the area to continue killing and tormenting the police with his cryptic messages. But this time “The Prophet” has focused all his attention on Detective Caitlin Hendrix, the daughter of Detective Mack Hendrix, who worked the case all those years ago. This grueling case landed Mack in a psychiatric hospital for 6 months due to a mental breakdown, destroyed his marriage, and sent him into early retirement from the police department. Will Caitlin take down “The Prophet” for good, or will she have a mental breakdown just like her father?

This story was emotional, riveting and disturbing! This is a story that will stay with you and make you more aware of your surroundings. You might even find yourself checking your doors and windows at night. I am already looking forward to the next book in this new series!

*I want to thank NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joan glover
Wow. What a ride. This Rookie detective is on the case that her Father couldn't solve and she takes U right in the thick of the investigation with U hanging on the edge of your seat. This is a book that U cannot put down until U find out who this crazy nut is. Well worth the money to spend on this book and add to your collection.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
c lia
This was a current thriller much like the Zodiac killer of the 1970's. I am from there and love reading about the area knowing where everything takes place and loving San Francisco. It was well written and the characters were real and likeable. Loved the book!.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
yd singh
A must read! After reading Matthew Farrell's book I checked his social media and he had recommended this book and it was great. I'm going to start another book by Meg Gardiner.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
debbie arnett
This was one of the most brilliant psychological thrillers I’ve ever read. So many twists and turns, so many clues right in front of my face that I never even saw. . . Read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chris beckman
Always a fan, this books is one of the best I have read in a long time. A serial killer from 20 years ago takes the police on a bloody trip. The ending was very unexpected, a complete surprise.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jacqueline simonds
Loved this book. It had an intensity that made you want to keep reading until you finished it. However, it was that same intensity that made you want to savor the thrill.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deny
You won’t want to put this novel down! Well written and full of intrigued. I highly recommend UNSUB to anyone who likes a suspenseful thriller.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kayla eckert
Good reading. Sterling action. Minimal amount of fluff. Would recommend this book. That being said however, I feel too much extra knowledge and skills were attributed to the villan.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
aaron baker
Amazing read. I couldn't put it down. Well written an researched. My first Meg Gardiner novel but definitely not my last.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cherie behrens
This has become one of my favorite reads! It is an explosive, mind blowing roller coaster of a ride! It is truly climactic and shocking at the end! You will never see it coming!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sona
Good plot. Good characters. Interesting serial killer. Occasional references to the Zodiac killer give context and background. Would make a good movie.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
dunali
Pretty good murder mystery. Kind of a "Zodiac"/"Silence of the Lambs" meets "Seven". Fast paced and hard to put down. I enjoyed it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jdgibson gibson
This is a dark and twisty novel with a major unexpected ending. Caitlin is a flawed but compelling hero. This is Meg Gardiner at her best. Check i tout.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elahe mahdavi
This is a terse, literate, and well written work of suspense. A little gore but not too much, and fine interpersonal relationships. The dialog sounds like real people. I will read more Gardiner.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
uthera
This novel is a little slow in the beginning, but it is a heart-stopper at the end! Don't stop reading and be prepared to be surprised!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stephanie king
A nonstop thriller that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
afiyah
This is the first Meg Gardiner book I have read and am now looking for her books. I really enjoy them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ivonne penunuri
I highly enjoyed this thriller by Meg Gardiner.

Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective, is suddenly approached by homicide detectives when it appears the Zodiac type killer, the Prophet. has reemerged after being in hiding for almost 20 years. Caitlin knows the Prophet killer all too well, this case haunted and destroyed her father former detective Mack Hendrix when she was a child.

Caitlin is drawn into the world of the Prophet and must help catch him, as it seems that she has inherited her father’s ability to crack the Prophet’s strange messages that he provides. Caitlin soon finds herself deeply emerged in the case despite the warnings of her boyfriend, mother and even her father. Caitlin must stop the prophet before his final act can be complete.

This was the first book that I have read by Meg Gardiner and I found myself quickly drawn into the captivating storyline. I had a hard time putting this book down. l could see where some may find the storyline slightly predictable, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The last half of the book kept me up reading well past my bedtime.

The very ending/ epilogue of the book did seem a little choppy to me and seemed like the author just wanted to add a bit more to tease for the next book in the series and to me some of it was not needed, I already wanted to read the next book in the Unsub series before I even finished this one.

Overall this was a good read, and one that I will recommend.

Many thanks to NetGally for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
black bile
I hope this is the beginning of a new series by Meg Gardiner. An exciting thriller.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
perek
Liked the suspense. Moved a little slowly at times.
Keeps one dangling with suspense throughout the novel. Was an enjoyable novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erika johnson
Great book. Suspense. Look forward to reading author's other books
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mike melley
Having seen every single episode of Criminal Minds I like to fancy myself an amateur behavior analyst. Not in the sense that I can actually analyze human behavior with any skill, but more along the lines of; I know the right terminology and how profiling works in a general way. So the minute I saw the title of this I was interested, Unsub stands for unknown subject and my hours of watching CM taught me this along with terms like victimology and escalation. This stuff fascinates me and UNSUB read just like one manic episode of one of my favorite shows.

Caitlin is a new officer and this is her first major case. I really liked her as a lead, she’s strong yet vulnerable inside, and she’s also super sharp and witty. The mix of her personal and professional lives was perfectly balanced, and her fathers connection to the Prophet killer was a nice addition.

The construction of this complicated plot was totally brilliant, the first half is fast paced enough, but around the halfway point things really get kicked into high gear and the tension is through the roof. It’s a deadly game of cat and mouse and the pacing is relentless. The Prophet was one of the scariest fictional killers I’ve ever come across, for as much as I read books with serial killers I normally don’t get that frightened but I have to admit that I was scared witless this time! He’s meticulous, ruthless, calculated and cunning and though he’s laid low for twenty years, he’s back with a vengeance. History is repeating itself in the worst possible way and things come to a head in an explosive, gripping conclusion.

I’ve been deliberately vague in terms of the plot, but trust me when I say, if you like serial killer novels or shows, this is a must read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vaibhavi
An amazing thriller! Meg Gardiner just keeps getting better and better.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen frank
This was my first Meg Gardiner book, but it will not be my last. This is a fast paced, well plotted book that you have hard time putting down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
danni salta
Well written! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Can't wait to read more by this author!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maureen duffy
This book really caught me by surprise. I started it at 7:30 AM, and I finished the book the same day. It is a great crime novel based somewhat on the Zodiac killer, and it is NON-STOP goodness. It has a little bit of everything, and it will keep you on your toes. Not to mention, the ending is a complete SHOCK!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hannah hosking
I'm sure this novel is the start of a new series. I can't wait to read the sequel. I highly recommend this novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mennagasser
An exciting read that's hard to put down and leaves you hanging for the sequel.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
cayla
Preposterous plot, poor characterization and amazingly unbelievable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
oovda
I love a good thriller. I love rich, realistic characters. And I love a strong female protagonist. UNSUB ticked all the boxes. Homicide Detective Caitlin Hendrix is my kind of heroine, and the Prophet is a truly diabolical villain. I know that there’s a sequel in the works, and I know that CBS has optioned UNSUB. I look forward to both.
Please Rate UNSUB: A Novel
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