UNSUB, by Meg Gardiner – Book Review


UNSUB: A Novel - Meg Gardiner

Ever since the publication of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS thriller authors have been trying to recapture the magic of Thomas Harris’s masterpiece by working from the same playbook. Likewise with David Fincher’s nihilistic, deadly-sins-themed film SE7EN. In UNSUB, Meg Gardiner blends the two to create a pretty basic stew that you’re gonna see coming like the final minutes of a bukakke telethon.


Caitlyn Hendrix is your every-woman with daddy issues. Nothing new there. The daddy who gave her issues is a disgraced cop who came super close to catching the killer Caitlyn is now tasked with catching, and you’ve seen all this before. Ya got your journalist/red herring, your fuck buddy/dude-in-distress, your AP Lit-studying serial killer, and you’ve. read. this. book. before.


What Gardiner gets right is the blistering pace and the machine-gun prose. She doesn’t waste any time with needless information, and instead face-fucks you with a continuous stream of murders, bait-and-switches, and one cool-as-polar-bear-testicles beat-the-clock scene that had me sweating profusely and panting like a dog locked in a car under the Arizona sun with all four winders up and the heater’s dial crunk to Satan’s Taint.


The supporting characters are serviceable, and the deaths/crimes scenes are interesting enough to warrant a read, but the main reason to give this one a try is that it’s brainless summertime fun. You’re not gonna have to think too hard while chillaxing and sipping daiquiris under your garishly-colored sun-brella. You’re not gonna wanna throttle your kids when they interrupt your reading to tell you they dropped a Baby Ruth in the pool and now the CDC is on site. In fact, if you do find yourself thinking whatsoever, you’re gonna figure out everything before Gardiner wants you to, so try and log off, ya dig? Just shutdown and go with the flow and you should have a good time.


There’s a sequel called INTO THE BLACK NOWHERE and I will be reading it because I didn’t hate the MC and people told me that it’s much better than this one, so once it hits paperback we’ll see what it do, Perdue.


In summation: If you’ve ever read a popular thriller, you’ve read this book. But that’s the thriller genre in general. If you’re a fan of the genre, you show up expecting interesting crime scenes, strict adherence to formulae, and white-knuckle pacing, not deep character development and originality. Books like this are the natural evolution of the dime-store pulp detective novels of yesteryear, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you dig this kinda thing, get you some.


Final Judgment: Somewhere between James Patterson and Michael Connelly.

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Gun Love Review


Gun Love - Jennifer Clement

GUN LOVE is a fantastic piece of literary fiction. The story follows a young girl whose mother ran away from home after becoming pregnant with her. For the past fifteen years, they’ve lived in a car outside of a mobile home park. When an enigmatic stranger comes calling, the mother falls in love, and thus begins the heartbreak.

Jennifer Clement’s prose is poetic and gorgeous. If you do not read this book for any other reason, please pic it up for the beauty of the language. I had heart-eyes for most of this reading experience.

I appreciate that Clement did not bash the reader over the head with her own politics, whatever they may be; I don’t know what they are because she allows the story to evolve naturally instead of forcing the story to answer difficult questions. I was concerned that this book would be extreme in its anti-gun, or pro-gun, message, but that was not the case. Good people and bad people alike own and use guns in this story, so the final judgment is left for the reader to decide. I dug that.

Where this book truly shines though is with the diverse cast. I hated some and absolutely fell in love with others, but my own personal favorites were the Sergeant and Corazón, even though I’m not 100% sure I should have liked either. I loved when they were on the page and I missed them when they were gone. Whether or not I was suppose to have fallen in love with them, who knows, but they were the most interesting characters in the book for me, which is not to say that the rest of the cast was uninteresting, they were, but I preferred reading about the Sergeant and Corazón most of all.

The ending was exceptional. This is one of those books that fulfill every promise it makes early in the read, and that’s all it took for me to five star this joker. 

In summation: I’m new to Jennifer Clement but this book has made me a fan. I’ll be looking up her back catalog soon. Highly recommended.

Final Judgment: The only preaching in this book is done in church.

Video review: https://youtu.be/iu51wfMA_14

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