Hey there, little neglected review blog. Life’s been crazy, right? Right. Well, no time like the present to start gushing about stuff again. Let’s kick it back into high gear with a doozy, shall we?



I’m not even kidding about kicking this off right. Yesterday I finished the audiobook of Meg Gardiner’s Into the Black Nowhere, the sequel of UNSUB, and second in an installment by the same name.


Before I start gushing about the book, let me gush about the narrator. I fell in love with Hillary Huber’s voice during my first (of, like, 6) listen-through of Kieran Shea’s Koko Takes a Holiday. Her voice is rich and captivating, her narration evenly paced and flawless. I was excited to hear her reading UNSUB, and she brought it home again on this one. Now I’m listening to The Library at Mt. Char, recommended by Huber herself after I gushed a bit at her on Twitter, and I’m hooked. Check out her work, you won’t be disappointed.

Back to Into the Black Nowhere–we rejoin Caitlin Hendrix, now a rookie FBI agent, as she gets assigned to solving a series of disappearances in rural Texas feared to be the work of a serial kidnapper. When they find the first two bodies, and pictures of many more women, they start desperately searching for the killer before he can strike again.

What evolves is first a game, and then a chase. Whereas UNSUB was a puzzle of both the killer’s clues and the identity of the killer themselves, we learn who the killer is relatively early on in Into the Black Nowhere. The reader struggles alongside Caitlin and her team as they work to find irrefutable proof their suspect is the right man, only to be thwarted by his caution time and again. Later, we join the chase as they race to get ahead and stop him and his accomplice’s multi-state killing spree.

When I realized we had the right guy early on, I had a moment of skepticism. If we found him, can the book maintain its intrigue and excitement the rest of the way through? I wondered. Well, friends, let me tell you–I’ll never doubt Gardiner again. Not only was I absolutely, without a doubt riveted through the rest of it, I think I need a cardiologist now to deal with what the stress did to my heart.  This book is is intense, fast-paced and exciting from start to finish. It ran the crime fiction gauntlet of emotions and left me feeling satisfied but rung-out. I was so invested I was drained by the end and honestly had to sit down for a minute.

I’ve never been so thankful to have a novel on audiobook. It kept me from, first of all, flipping to the end just to relieve tension and, second, staying up all damn night to finish it.

One aspect in particular that I appreciated: When Special Agent in Charge Emmerich takes on the case, he chooses Caitlin and another female agent, Brianne Rainey,  for his team. Their first interaction almost left me soured. I misread it entirely, waiting for the standard, tired cliche of two women competing to be tops, enemies on the same team. Again, it’s the last time I’ll doubt Gardiner. Even when they disagreed, even with Rainey being the more experienced agent, the two women supported each other throughout the novel. Rainey’s only criticism/advice came from the heart and despite her occasional skepticism of Caitlin’s leads, she supported and backed her up at all points.

It was a relief to have two women not only in the lead, but written with such heart and kindness. I want this. I want this in all my books. Women lifting each other up instead of bringing each other down. It patches something inside of me that has just felt defeated from novel after novel of catty women written because…that’s how you write women? We can do better, and Gardiner knocked it out of the park.

On that note, I appreciate all the lead protagonists. They’re still feeling and flawed humans, but the good guys are the good guys and very distinct from the bad. They’re not self destructive, they’re not doing as much harm as they’re healing, they’re not ripping their lives apart just because that’s who they are. There’s a place for that, and I won’t decry books that feature characters as such. I enjoy those in their own right, but these characters are a refreshing change from what I normally read.

That epilogue, though. It started and my brain went, “Here’s where Gardiner will mend that one little thing left broken!”

Silly me. She blew a hole in, served it up like a clay pigeon and nailed it with an RPG. I gotta say, I glared into thin air a long while at the end of that epilogue. Book 3 could be out tomorrow and I’d still find it a tortuously long wait.

All in all, 5 stars, four thumbs up, ten porgs out of ten, buy it yesterday, whatever your scale is. I could gush all day about this one so yeah, I dare say I strongly recommend it.