Title: Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner
UNSUB Series Book Two
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program
In this exhilarating thriller inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, 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.
In the second installment of Meg Gardiner’s UNSUB series, Into the Black Nowhere, rookie FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix matches wits with a suspected serial killer. This latest release works well as a standalone, but I highly recommend the first book in the series as well.
After another young, blond woman is abducted from her home, the Solace, TX police call on the FBI to help catch the person responsible for a total of six missing women. The kidnapper is brazen and snatches women not only from their homes, but public places as well. Caitlin, along with fellow agent Brianne Rainey and their boss Special Agent in Charge C.J. Emmerich, travel to the small town where they hope to glean enough information to form a profile of the suspect. Following a grisly discovery, the agents now know the kidnapped women are being murdered and even worse, they are not the killer’s first victims. With the help of a former soldier, Caitlin is certain she has found the serial killer. However, with no evidence to support her theory, the police are unable to make an arrest. Caitlin hopes to force the suspect into making a mistake, but will she arrest him before he strikes again?
Caitlyn has settled into her new job at Quantico and although she is new to profiling, she is an experienced cop. She is meticulous and insightful with keen instincts that rarely steer her wrong. She loves her career, but she and her ATF boyfriend Sean Rawlins are quickly discovering the downside to their long distance relationship as their busy careers conspire to keep them apart.
The investigation into the missing women is intense and Caitlin and her fellow agents feel the pressure to find the person responsible. Caitlin has no doubt she has located the killer, but he is quite clever and rather adroitly and arrogantly evades surveillance. The suspect knows how to get to under her skin which shakes her confidence, but she quickly recovers from the momentary slip. Trying to stay one step ahead of her confident and supercilious suspect, Caitlin manages to trap her quarry, but once again, he out plans and outmaneuvers the FBI.
Into the Black Nowhere is an incredibly well-written and quite clever police procedural. The plot closely mirrors the Ted Bundy case but Meg Gardiner keeps the storyline fresh and interesting. The novel comes to a nail-biting, edge of the seat conclusion. While the current case is completely wrapped up, this latest addition to the UNSUB series ends with a shocking cliff-hanger that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment.