Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Unseen by Karin Slaughter is the seventh book in the Will Trent series, which you probably know is one of my favorites.
There is a SIGNIFICANT trigger warning, but I put it at the end of the review so that it isn’t a spoiler. If you are concerned about triggers, feel free to skip to the end of the review.
Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) agent who is undercover as an ex-con biker in nearby Macon. He’s playing the role well, and has fallen in with a drug dealer named Anthony Dell. But he’s stuck in Macon, and he misses Sara Linton, the beautiful doctor he’s been dating.
Meanwhile, Sara winds up in Macon because a cop has been shot. Not just any cop either, it’s her stepson Jared. The one who’s married to Lena Adams. You may remember her from Broken, book #4. She seems to always be in the center of a shit show, and this is no different. Sara is understandably angry that she’s dragged into a case that Will is working on without even knowing it, and things become very dangerous, very quickly.
Early on, I realize that this book is already going to live up to my usual high standards. When Karin Slaughter describes a motorcycle pulling up, I can practically hear it:
“The roar of the Harley-D’s twin-cam engine vibrated in her ears as Jared gunned the bike so he could make it to the top of their steep driveway. Lena waited, following the familiar sounds: the engine cutting, the metallic groan of the kickstand, the heavy tread of boots as her husband made his way into the house…”
The portrayal of what it is like on the way to a police raid had me on the edge of my seat, feeling as though I was in the van with them:
“The van slowed. Gravel crunched under the tires. Guns were drawn, magazines checked. Helmets and protective glasses were adjusted. The smell of testosterone got thicker. Nine men and one woman. All of them suited in Kevlar vests and black fatigues, loaded up with enough ammo to take down a small army.”
Even the style of writing changes when she describes the preparation for the raid. She goes from longer, fluid sentences to short, choppy, and fragmented descriptions. It put me on the edge of my seat, especially since we find out early on that the raid doesn't go down as planned.
This is an interesting series. The books can be read as stand-alone, although they make more sense if read in order as a series. Each book reveals more about the characters – their personalities, their growth, their motivations, and their background. By this point in the series, we’ve already learned a lot about Will, and quite a bit about Sara. But we haven’t really seen Lena in a flattering light, and we barely know anything about Jared, aside from a cameo he made in Broken.
If there's one thing I've learned from reading Karin Slaughter's books, it is that her characters aren't always portrayed in black and white. Often, a character is painted as a hero/heroine or villain in one or more books, but something happens or we learn more about them, and our point of view may change.
We see a really different side of Sara in this book than we are used to. We get to also learn a lot more about Lena in this book. It was really easy to view her as the villain, but there was a lot more to her story that we didn’t know before. This book gives us more insight into who Lena is, and some of her background. I started this book prepared to not like her, but my opinion of her changed dramatically while reading. She grew on me, and I actually ended up liking who she turned into.
The story jumps back and forth between the shooting and just over a week prior, giving us information leading up to a disastrous raid. There is never a dull moment in this book, and I couldn’t stop reading it. I knew it all connected somehow, but there were so many plot twists, I could never predict what the outcome would be. I love how these books always keep me on my toes.
There’s always a cool interplay of multiple storylines that come together to form a cohesive plot. There’s a small-town raid, an undercover operation, Lena’s cop husband getting shot, and the Will-Sara romance. The book pulled me in from page one, and didn’t let me go until the very last page. I love her style, and once I start reading a Karin Slaughter novel, I can’t put it down until I’ve finished. If you haven’t read one of her books, give it a shot. Just beware – there’s most likely going to be some gore involved.
Gasp factor – you know, when you’re reading a book, and the plot twist is so unexpected that you can’t help but gasp out loud. Karin Slaughter is a true master of the gasp factor for me.
Gasp Factor: 7
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
TRIGGER WARNING: This book involves graphic descriptions of violence, including use of guns as well as other weapons. There is mention of substance use and addiction, forced prostitution, child abuse, human trafficking, torture, murder, and police brutality.
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