#CJSReads2018 – Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner

Happy (now belated) release! Isn’t it fun when you schedule a blog post and then you realize you did it for the wrong day. Oops!

Thanks to Dutton Books for the advanced copies in exchange for our honest reviews.

INTO THE BLACK NOWHERE – Meg Gardiner (out yesterday)

This is the follow up to UNSUB (see our reviews here)

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Chandra’s Thoughts: 5/5 stars

I absolutely love stories dealing with behavioral analysis.  The UNSUB series absolutely delivers… in every way.  These books have been compared to the show Criminal Minds and for good reason.  I especially love that this book takes place in Gideon County… a nod to the original CM character, Gideon?  I’m just going to believe that this is so.

One of the things I love best about this book is that while we are deep into Caitlan’s POV, we also get the POV of the killer.  And even better – we know early on who the killer is so now it’s just a matter of cat and mouse and how they’re going to catch him…. if they do.  Put me inside the head of the killer… ALWAYS.  I absolutely love getting into the nitty gritty.  I also love Caitlan’s bad ass but flawed character…. relationship issues topped with past family issues topped with having to catch bad guys?  I’d say she has her hands full for sure!

Action packed and hard to put down, this book is absolutely fantastic.  With the popularity of UNSUB last year, I can see some people thinking maybe this one didn’t quite do it for them as much as the first.  You know why?  Because when a first book comes out and WOWS you, a follow up is always hard to top that one.  Ladies and Gentlemen…. readers of all kinds…. for me, this one was just as good as book one.  One death in particular hit me kind of hard… and I love it when a book makes me feel this way… especially for a tertiary character.

Basically, read this.  Just do it.  Even if you don’t love it as much as I do, I bet you end up enjoying it. And on that note, I’ll just leave you with a wave and a smile….

Sam’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars

Last year, I was completely obsessed with Unsub, the start of a new series by Meg Gardiner that featured FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix.   Heart pounding, dark and visceral, Unsub had me holding on to the edge of my seat and screaming for more.  So, of course, I was extremely excited when I found out that the second book in the series, Into the Black Nowhere, would be publishing in January 2018!

Now, without giving away any plot points or information (because I absolutely consider Unsub to be a MUST READ), Unsub left off with quite a few open-ended questions and with a bit of a cliffhanger ending so I was desperate to read the next book.  WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN??!  I NEEDED ANSWERS!  I dove into the book and, I am going to say, Into the Black Nowhere left me feeling a little bit disappointed.

It was absolutely not the writing style; Gardiner’s prose is just as smart and fast paced as I have come to know and love.  The book was brilliantly written and filled with witty, smart banter between police, excellent character development and a game of cat and mouse between protagonist and antagonist that kept me turning the pages.

This novel doesn’t really touch on any of the questions I had from the first novel; skimming over the issue, the characters jump right into a new case and move quickly away from the events from the first novel.  While I understand that this is an excellent tactic for a sophomore novel in a series (it keeps the readership going and pushes the issues into further novels), I really was looking forward to having some answers!!

Also, notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, inspires this novel’s antagonist.  I am not sure whether or not it was because I knew much more about Ted Bundy than I knew about the Zodiac killer (which is the antagonist that inspired Unsub), but I felt like I wasn’t surprised by anything he did.  I knew his MO and I knew the general direction the story would take (I knew he would likely escape police custody, I knew he would likely attack a sorority).

Regardless of this, I really did love the novel for its entertainment value and I will be anxiously awaiting the third novel!

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

I read UNSUB last year with the #CJSReads trio, and of course we had to read book two! I absolutely loved UNSUB. Serial killer thrillers are some of my favorite and I loved the Zodiac similarities in the novel. Now FBI Agent Caitlin Hendrix is back and has been newly assigned to the elite Behavioral Analysis Unit within the FBI. With a new serial killer on the loose in Austin, she must race against the clock to stop them before more lives are claimed.

Southern Texas has been plagued with women being abducted. On Saturday nights women have disappearing – from their homes, cars, and outside of theaters. The first victim is found in the woods and the second victim is found further into the woods. Both are dressed in white nighties and are surrounded by Polaroid photos of a woman posed like Snow White (when waiting for her Prince to save her with a kiss) in a white negligee with her wrists slit.

In order to catch him Caitlin must dive into the mind of this killer. She tries to figure out his pattern and how the women are selected. Her profile leads the FBI to focus on a man that is charismatic and a successful businessman. Their main problem is that there is no physical evidence to link him to the murders, so they have to let him go. As Saturday approaches the FBI is in a cat and mouse race to catch the killer before another body is discovered.

Just like with book one this one had me sucked in from the beginning! Whenever the author pulls the reader into the mind of a sociopath serial killer it grabs my attention. The comparisons to Ted Bundy are so apparent that it’s almost eerie. The handsome and charismatic man that pulls in his victims by making them feel safe with his charm, but then brutally kills them.

While this one didn’t exactly pick up where the first novel left off, I think it was an interesting tactic to leave some of that open-ended going into book two and a new investigation. I can see this being frustrating to some readers, but I think the rest of the book makes up for that!

Overall, if you loved UNSUB then I highly recommend reading this one! I’m impatiently waiting for a book three now. If you want to dive into the mind of a serial killer, then this needs to be on your TBR.

 

What did you think of this series?

–Jess

 

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