Detective Lena Adams is trouble. With a reputation as a renegade, she seems to attract strife – and those close to her suffer the often violent brunt of her recklessness. At least, that’s the way most others see it.
Little wonder, then, that at the start of this novel she is found sitting in her home in Macon, Georgia, reflecting on an encounter with Internal Affairs in which she has had to justify her actions over a drug raid that went shockingly wrong.
At the same time, Lena’s personal life is in disarray; nothing new there, either. And things are about to get a whole lot worse, with a violent attack that leaves a young cop close to death and a possible connection to the elusive criminal mastermind called Big Whitey whose power and reach seems limitless.
But while Lena appears to be the axis around which evil swirls, Unseen is told primarily from the viewpoints of special agent Will Trent and paediatrician Sara Linton – the regular characters in best-selling thriller writer Karin Slaughter’s series of novels with blunt, one-word titles (Fractured, Broken, Fallen, Snatched, Busted).
The fact that Sara still blames Lena Adams for the murder of her chief-of-police husband Jeffrey Tolliver is key to the fraught emotions that both connect and divide this trio.
Now that Sara is falling ever deeper in love with the mentally and physically scarred Will, who has more baggage than an airport carousel, she faces the ever-present fear that she will lose him, too, in the line of duty – which is why he can’t bring himself to tell her the details of his undercover assignment and how close it’s bringing him not just to some very dangerous criminals, but also to the woman she hates with a vengeance.
This complex web of relationships between a cast of interesting characters familiar to fans of this long-running series adds depth to the story, but not having read any of Slaughter’s previous novels shouldn’t dull the crime aficionado’s enjoyment of Unseen.
The author times her chilling revelations perfectly to elicit maximum shock factor, and there is ample tension to keep readers turning the pages long into the night. Is Lena really to blame for the escalating violence in Macon? Will Sara and Will live to see another outing? And if they do, can their relationship will survive this brutal rollercoaster?
A ripper read that won’t disappoint Slaughter fans.
Unseen, by Karin Slaughter, published by Random House, $32.95.
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