Gardiner, Meg. “Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel, Dutton, 2018.
A Serial Killer
Women in southern Texas have been disappearing on Saturday nights. Some of you might think that this is a strange way to begin a review but it is actually a summary statement about the plot. There is nothing in common as to how they disappear and
Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, is afraid that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin. Caitlin and her crime unit discover the first victim’s body in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown in the woods. A second victim wears a white night gown and is found deeper in the woods. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos of a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style.
Caitlin knows that to find the UNSUB, she must get inside his mind and find out how he is selecting these women. She and a legendary FBI profiler search for the elusive point where character and action come together. “She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy.” Caitlin’s profile focuses on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. However, there is only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders and so the police allow him to escape. As another Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI are in game of cat and mouse, rushing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.
Some of you might recognize that the plot is based on serial killer Ted Bundy. The plot moves quickly and we also learn about profiling.