Review: Into the Black Nowhere

WOW! Suspenseful, terrifying and hard to put down: Into the Black Nowhere is a heart thumping standalone thriller on its own and a fantastic sequel to Unsub.  I couldn’t get through this one fast enough!  I devoured Unsub and eagerly awaited it’s follow up in Into the Black Nowhere, sure that my high hopes could only lead to disappointment and boy was I wrong! Into the Black Nowhere is the perfect serial killer guilty pleasure read for anyone who loves a good murder (that’s me!).

Title: Into the Black Nowhere

Author: Meg Gardiner

Pub Date: 1/30/2018

Publisher: Dutton

Synopsis, via Goodreads:

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.

My Review: 

First off, I never did a review of Unsub which I humbly apologize for, but I did include it as one of my Top 9 Reads in 2017.  I picked it up because I found a copy for $1 and it was the current pick of @criminallygoodbookclub.  I tore through this one on a trip to the beach and immediately started recommending it to my thriller loving friends. I describe this one as a full season of Dexter in one book – who doesn’t love a good serial killer plot?

Do I think you need to read Unsub before you read Into the Black Nowhere?  No.  It helps you understand Caitlin a little better if you have that background, but it is absolutely not necessary to enjoy this book.

Now, back to Into the Black Nowhere — we return to Caitlin post-Unsub soon after she’s been plucked from California to join the FBI’s BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) to profile criminals.  Quickly the high profile case of a kidnapper turned serial killer and the manipulating and charming ways he is snatching young women wraps up Caitlin and consumes her, pulling you along for the ride.  And just when you think this book is over, it isn’t folks!  Into the Black Nowhere kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat.

One thing I love about this series so far is that you learn a little bit about police protocol and terminology without it sounding too researched or rehearsed.  Gardiner excellently walks the line of explaining the investigation and accurately describing a high profile case while letting you live in Caitlin’s mind and experience the intense pressure and frustration that comes with trying to catch the uncatchable.

Is this book for everybody? No.  But I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys true crime, hearing about or reading out murders (real and fiction) and/or enjoys a good crime series.  Personally, this one was right up my alley – I love to listen to My Favorite Murder, I binge watched Dexter and so many others, I can’t turn off any documentary about a serial killer and I am drawn to thriller murder mystery books.  If that sounds like you then I can’t recommend this series highly enough.

Interestingly, while all of the information on this book indicates it is based off of the true story of Ted Bundy I don’t think I know enough about him or his story to draw the connection until I read that after the fact.  I’ll have to learn more now – if you have any true crime read recommendations or podcast recs to remedy that let me know!

I also loved that this book took me from Virginia (FBI) through Arizona and to Oregon, both of my stomping grounds.  It just added an extra layer of excitement and authenticity for me.

I am so excited that this is listed as UNSUB #2 and eagerly await more books in this series.  I won’t say much, but this one ends on a doozy and I can only hope we don’t have to wait too long for installment #3.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton books for the advance copy of this book to read and review; while I was provided with an advance copy in exchange for my honest opinion of the book all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have you read this? Unsub?  What did you think?

As always: Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!

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