‘Into the Black Nowhere’ By Meg Gardiner. Dutton, 384 pages, $26
Meg Gardiner’s second novel in her new “Unsub” series continues the robust character study mixed with an engrossing police procedural. The aptly named “Into the Black Nowhere” plunges new agent Caitlin Hendrix into the worst of human nature as part of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Caitlin’s skills as a new FBI profiler get a workout in her latest assignment. Five women have disappeared on Saturday nights during the past six months near Austin, Texas. The women seem to have little in common except that each was in a supposedly safe place when they vanished. Caitlin and the FBI team must find the connection. The clues seem to suggest the kidnapper — or unsub — charmed his victims into leaving with him. While the criminal is identified fairly quickly, making the case and uncovering vital evidence makes for a tense plot in “Into the Black Nowhere.”
Gardiner melds character and action, delving into Caitlin’s psyche as the FBI agent concentrates on her job as well as dealing with a long-distance relationship. The brisk plot is enhanced by Gardiner’s assured look at the science behind profiling, as well as how the profilers deal with such despicable villains while keeping their sanity.
Gardiner knows how to push the terrifying envelope yet never indulges in gratuitous violence in “Into the Black Nowhere.” Gardiner is just getting started with her Unsub series, but viewers may get a jump on her characters. CBS is planning a TV drama based on Gardiner’s series.
Meet the author
Meg Gardiner will discuss “Into the Black Nowhere” at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach, 561-279-7790, murderonthebeach.com.
Oline H. Cogdill can be reached at email@example.com.