Review: Into The Black Nowhere (UNSUB, #2) by Meg Gardiner



Dutton | 2018

Filed Under: Physical satisfaction


And second: I’m so depressed this is over.

I’m not religious, but over this Easter weekend, I’ve decided I worship at the printing press of Meg Gardiner. And her books are my bible.

If you’re interested in my new religion, let me know. Maybe I’ll make some pamphlets.

I’m completely blown away by this instalment in the UNSUB series. I think I literally peed my pants over the first one. And it seemed a completely impossible task that an author would deliver an equally pee-pants worthy follow-up.

But, I’m peeing my pants right now. (Not really. I’m at work. No one would appreciate that.)

Still, this is a completely solid five-star rating, and my only little tiny, itty-bitty teeny issue is a completely personal one that comes from the fact that I know everything about Ted Bundy. He’s my favourite serial killer. Not in a weird way. You know what I mean.

Look, I’m not apologizing. It is what it is.

Gardiner pulled pretty heavily from Bundy’s biography for this book, so while someone who isn’t a true crime weirdo like me might find the plot points super unexpected, I spent a lot of the book going “he’s obviously going to do a jailbreak now….he’s obviously headed for a sorority now…

The literary quality of this novel is outstanding though. Don’t let that little personal hangup sway you. Gardiner is hands-down my favourite author and for very good reason.

Again, let me know about the new religion thing because my gears are already spinning on some good cult names and pamphlet designs. Maybe some robes.

Picking up just close enough to where we left off in UNSUBInto the Black Nowhere finds new FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix uprooted from her California life and transplanted to Virginia, a rookie profiler with the Behavioural Analysis Unit.

Her small team is called out to Texas where women are being abducted on Saturday nights and turning up dead and displayed in a ritualistic fashion.

I loved that this book didn’t take an expected route; one where the killer is revealed at the end of the story and the investigators spend most of the novel trying to solve the crime. The killer here is known to the reader about 35% of the way through, and while that might seem like a rip-off, trust me it’s not. The rest of the novel is twisted up in non-stop action sequences as Caitlin and the team attempt to catch a complete psycho on a path of death and destruction.

This is less a procedural mystery and more an all-out-action novel centred around a cunning, charming, sadistic killer.

Honestly, just A+ writing and plotting.

Caitlin’s character development is right where you need it to be after what happened in UNSUB. She’s moving forward, doing what she believes is her calling in life, and doing it well – but she hasn’t completely let go of the more traumatic parts of her past and they tend to influence her actions in the most twisted of ways, at the darkest of times.

While she’s a badass heroine, she’s also a little bit fucked up and I like that about her. She becomes less superhero and more human, endearing.

“I’ll slip into floating darkness. It’ll be like falling through a field of stars, into the black nowhere.”

Look, I’m fully aware that it is such a cliché to be like, “this book hooks you from chapter one and doesn’t let go…” and I hate clichés so much. But honestly, this book does actually hook you from the first chapter and I want you to know, as much as I hate that phrase in reviews, it’s completely fucking true here. When that woman wakes up and her baby is crying and…

…ugh, seriously. CHILLS.

I’m not a mother, so I don’t completely know that level of fear, but I imagine it would be similar to if my dog was doing his hurt-cry in a different room of the house in the middle of the night and I was home alone. I love that dog.

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This book is exceptionally researched. Gardiner does an expert job of explaining profiling terms and psychological terms without sounding like a textbook or going over a layman’s head. But she also brings you into the killer’s thought process and motivations without making the killer’s POV a prominent part of the novel. We are strictly moving through this story, learning and figuring out the killer, just as the profilers are, which I personally thought was a refreshing take. I’m not a huge fan of killer POV chapters because they are never original or emotionally fulfilling. You can tell they were written by non-serial killers, you know?

Like I get it, he had a bad mommy and now all women need to be punished as per almost every serial killer ever, blah blah blah. Kill about it, bitch.

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Personally, I think taking away the killer’s POV, and instead approaching it from the good guy’s perspective of “we can figure you out and stop you” is much more interesting to me, compared to mommy issues and killing their first dog. But like I said, I hate clichés.

And that epilogue! Too good.

This is a cinematic, action-packed, physically satisfying novel that, even if this genre isn’t your top choice, you will still fall in love with it. It is an intelligent, enthralling, completely perfect follow-up to its predecessor.


“We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere.” -Ted Bundy


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.

3 thoughts on “Review: Into The Black Nowhere (UNSUB, #2) by Meg Gardiner

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