Big-city violence

I sometimes find books with one-word titles frustrating. In the course of reading them, I may find myself wondering how on earth the title connects to the story. Sometimes I can’t figure it out at all. Unseen is one of those titles that continues to puzzle me. Despite this minor flaw (if in fact that’s what it is, since I did actually buy and read the book nonetheless), Karin Slaughter‘s ninth installment in the Will Trent series is a masterful example of the crime-and-mystery genre. Even the minor characters are complex and self-contradictory, the suspense is hard to bear, the big-city violence is haunting, and the plot is worthy of court intrigue in the Byzantine Empire. I loved the book.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Will Trent is an Atlanta-based agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) with a dark past in a children’s home, a debilitating case of dyslexia that makes it impossible for him to read, a vicious ex-wife who refuses to divorce him, and a beautiful blonde pediatrician for a girlfriend. The doctor, Sara Linton, who figures in all the Will Trent stories, has issues of her own, of course. In Unseen, Slaughter’s intense portrayal of their love affair from both their points of view is brilliant. She captures all the heartache, anger, jealousy, and despair of an authentic affair.

Unseen (Will Trent #9) by Karin Slaughter ★★★★☆

A seemingly inexplicable murder attempt

With alternate chapters set in the past and the present, Unseen tells a tale that begins with a seemingly inexplicable murder attempt on two police officers, a married couple, in Macon, Georgia. Detective Lena Adams was a central figure in an earlier Will Trent novel, when she was held responsible for the death of Sara Linton’s beloved husband, the chief of police in a small rural town. Lena’s husband, the chief’s son from a high-school romance, is a cop, too. One night two men break into their house and, for no discernible reason, attempt to murder them. However, Lena manages to kill one of the attackers and grievously wound the other while her husband lies near death.

Meanwhile, Trent has been working undercover in Macon on a difficult case involving the theft of prescription drugs from the local hospital. There is no apparent connection between the invasion of Lena’s home and the drug scene, but Will begins to wonder as the violence mounts and the underworld characters involved in local drug trafficking reveal themselves. The story becomes progressively more complex as time goes on, with ramifications that spread far wider than the small Georgia city where the action unfolds.

Karin Slaughter is one of my favorite mystery writers.

At Karin Slaughter’s series of Grant County thrillers, I’ve reviewed all six novels in the author’s companion series. And for another superb small-town thriller set in the South, see All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby (Southern noir at its eloquent best).

You might also enjoy my posts:

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, on the Home Page.