Book Review: Unseen

Unseen (Will Trent #7)
Published By: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Page Count: 400
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Adult - Mystery, Thriller

I felt a little let down by Unseen. Usually the Grant County and Will Trent books by Karin Slaughter are excellent crime thrillers, featuring gripping investigations by Will and Dr Sara Linton. This time around the investigation stalled for much of the book, as the focus was shifted to the return of Detective Lena Adams, last seen a couple of books ago. Lena and Sara have a full on feud going, and this is the book where it all comes to a head. Sara blames Lena for the death of her husband, and when tragic events draw them together, the fireworks start up.

Sadly, I am not such a fan of this long burning feud. It has gone on too long, and although I did enjoy some of the scenes between Sara and Lena, I really wanted the focus to move away from those two and onto the investigation which has Will undercover, trying to break into a drug trafficking organization. I recognize that as far as the series is concerned, it was necessary to have the collision between Lena and Sara, but I feel that the weighting of that versus the investigation wasn't correctly proportioned this time, which is truly unusual for this author.

When the focus finally shifted into the investigation, my interest picked up and the pages flew by. Double dealing, dirty cops, human trafficking, violent crime... it got pretty exciting. I feel sad that there were very clues to pick up though, and I didn't feel that it was possible to piece them together and theorize on the real story, which is something I very much enjoy usually from Karin Slaughter reads. A number of chapters focused on days preceding a pivotal raid, and these were illuminating but also infuriating; they were positioned in such a way to initially cut the pace and then rapidly drive up my anticipation. The following chapters generally had little to do with them, and went on too long to sustain my enthusiasm for the plot developments. I suppose what I am trying to say is that, for me, a great story has moments of rise and fall in pace, but there were too many little peaks and long troughs here.

The previous book in the series, Criminal, was absolutely excellent, and I would strongly encourage fans of crime thrillers to start up this series if they haven’t already, with the totally chilling Blindsighted. Unseen is a rare dip in quality from my favorite author and I hope that the next book will see a return to form; this book didn’t feel quite done yet. Perhaps though the characters have reached a point where it simply isn't possible to run an investigation like they used to; a lot of water has passed under the bridge now. I will keep my fingers crossed for the next installment because even a slightly sub-par story from Karin Slaughter is still miles better than the closest competition. 

Karin Slaughter’s New York Times bestselling novels are utterly riveting and masterfully drawn. Her latest thriller, Unseen, pits detectives, lovers, and enemies against one another in an unforgettable standoff between righteous courage and deepest evil.

Bill Black is a scary guy: a tall ex-con who rides to work on a Harley and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. In Macon, Georgia, Bill has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer and his cunning girlfriend. They think Bill might be a useful ally. They don’t know that Bill is actually a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent named Will Trent. Or that he is fighting his own demons, undercover and cut off from the support of Sara Linton—the woman he loves, who cannot be told of the risk Will is taking.

Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s death is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.

In a novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists, two investigations collide with a conspiracy straddling both sides of the law. Karin Slaughter’s latest is both an electrifying thriller and a piercing study of human nature: what happens when good people face the unseen evils in their lives.