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I was aware of Meg Gardiner's crime-writing calibre before I read this book but have never reader her before. It wasn't until Stephen King recommended this book that I felt the need to pick her up. Caitlin Hendrix is a detective in San Francisco. She follows in her father's footsteps, he was a Homicide detective whose life fell apart during the investigation of the infamous Prophet case. The Prophet was never caught and Mack Hendrix was left broken, retired and ill - yet still always obsessed with catching the Prophet.

 

Now, The Prophet has returned, and Caitlin, a somewhat, forced upon expert is invited to help the investigation. This rakes up bad memories as her father abandoned her and her mother for the Prophet investigation the first time round. And she risks her father's mental state now. On the other hand she does have an internet, amateur sleuth come mother of three and housewife, Deralynn helping her out.

 

This was a solid crime read, keeps you turning the pages and the crimes are gruesome. The characters are even pretty well realised, but, and this is a big but, it feels like crime by numbers. Inexperienced cop with traumatic background? Check. Serial killer with a cool nickname? Check. Inventive MO? Check. Literary allusion? Check. I know most crime novels are formuliac, painfully so, but each successful one finds the elusive X, something that just grabs you and drags you in. Unsub doesn't have X. It was enjoyable but I fear I will forgotten it by the middle of my next read.

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