Blackstone Publishing | 2018
Opening Hook: Scared a little pee out of me
Main Character: Badass and damaged
Plot Twisty-ness: A fucking salty, twisted pretzel
Alright listen, I know this rating is not coming as a shock to many of you. If you have been paying any attention to my reviews and posts, then you know this one novel truth (pun intended) about me: I FUCKING LOVE MEG GARDINER. I cannot control my bias when it comes to her books, apparently. I love all of them. I think they’re all the best things I’ve ever read until I read the next one. She’s a fucking BRILLIANT writer and I want to be her when I grow up. That’s just the way it is. I’m not sorry.
But I understand why you might want to take my reviews of her work with a grain of salt. Honestly, I can’t even tell at this point how much my opinion has been influenced by total infatuation. My critical style seems to completely malfunction when I read her books. Or, there’s just nothing to be critical of. Who can say? It’s all so subjective.
But there it is. I’m putting it all out there for you before I start writing the actual review. Always keeping it honest.
I’m a total Gardiner fan girl and so far she can do no wrong in my eyes.
That said, this book is fucking awesome and if you are not reading Gardiner’s UNSUB series then please change that ridiculous behaviour immediately. I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series before picking up this one because a large part of this series is really character-arc driven. You want to get to know the MC, Caitlin Hendrix, from the very beginning. Trust me.
I mean, it can be read as a standalone as well, but I think you would miss out on some of the magic that way. But you do you, book nerd.
The UNSUB series takes inspiration from real-life, big-name serial killers and uses that to spin a new disturbing and thrilling case for FBI Profiler, Caitlin Hendrix, to solve. In this third outing, you are getting all the Richard Ramirez, Night Stalker vibes mixed with some other creepy shit.
Known as the Midnight Man, a killer in LA is entering homes in the middle of the night, killing parents and leaving the children alive to forever live with their trauma and grief. And the killings are pretty brutal.
Nothing in a book has creeped me out more this year than the opening chapter of this novel, I swear to whichever god you believe in. I literally had to turn my home alarm system on before I could keep reading. And I think that’s part of Gardiner’s brilliance as a writer. She knows how to fucking scare you with real-life moments. Simple scenes. Concise writing and description. It becomes so immersive, your own personal space starts to feel less safe.
Gardiner’s writing is raw, honest and perfectly crafted. I’m not sure I’ve ever read an author whose writing I genuinely love and connect with more than her. The atmosphere is all-encompassing. Dialogue is sharp, scenes are crisp. There exists nothing in the details that does not belong. Every moment is propelling the scene forward, and the reader along with it like you’re in a goddamn rocket ship or on rollercoaster.
GODDAMNIT I LOVE HER.
There’s a lot to love in this novel if you are into thrillers because Gardiner never slacks on the action side of the genre. But, if you’re into the psychological side of a crime thriller like this, you’ll find a lot to satisfy you, as well. I also felt like Gardiner really dialled up the insider knowledge to 11 (Spinal Tap reference, what?) when it came to some forensics and profiling procedures, and law enforcement tools. But she did it without being too explain-y or coming off like a textbook.
While trying to avoid getting into spoiler territory – I will say that there are some darker, more frustrating aspects of law enforcement and the “blue wall” explored in this novel that added an extra layer to the intensity of the plot. And in that, it’s a bit more honest than most police-centered novels that wholly cast police as exceptional heroes, when we know that’s not always reality.
This book was right up my dark and twisty alley. It had everything I love in a serial killer thriller. Meg Gardiner truly never disappoints me… so far *knock on wood*
A gritty, gruesome thriller that knocked my tits right off.
I am the legion of the night …
He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows and fear—the Midnight Man. He comes for the parents but leaves the children alive, tiny witnesses to unspeakable horror. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, and the attacks are escalating.
Still reeling from her best friend’s close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation and do what she does best—hunt a serial killer. Her work is what keeps her going, but something about this UNSUB—unknown subject—doesn’t sit right. She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills but also her dedication, for within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin’s own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?