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Unseen    by Karin Slaughter order for
by Karin Slaughter
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Unseen follows Criminal in Karin Slaughter's often gruesome, compelling thriller series starring Dr. Sara Linton and (in recent episodes) dyslexic Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Will had an atrocious childhood that left him deeply scarred in mind and body. Sara's husband, Grant County, Georgia Police Chief Jeffery Tolliver was murdered (this author does not go easy on her characters, especially the leads!) and Sara is now romantically involved with Will.

As Unseen opens, Will is working undercover as ex-con biker Bill Black, unbeknownst to Sara. He's after a high roller, Big Whitey, who's 'making a move into Macon.' And Lena, whom Sara still blames for Jeffery's death, is involved. Lena has just spent tough days with Internal Affairs after a raid that went south. She's married to Jeffery's son Jared, also a cop, but demons haunt her, sabotaging their relationship. And she has just miscarried their child. Jared is comforting her when he's shot in a home invasion. Lena takes down two shooters and then a third man shows up ... Will.

Will's partner Faith Mitchell leads the investigation into Jared's shooting. Faith shares Sara's distrust of Lena. Karin Slaughter takes us back and forth in time to revisit Lena's raid and all that led up to Jared's shooting. As Will gets more and more embroiled with sleazy Tony Dell (who was with him the night of the shooting) and Cayla Martin (a pharmacy nurse with a DUI conviction), a Macon cop goes after Bill Black, convinced that he was part of the attack on Jared. Faith warns Will that he has to tell Sara what's going on and that he'll lose her if he doesn't.

Tensions escalate after another cop dies. Lena and Sara clash, knowing each other well enough to cut deeply with their words. And the investigators finally find someone who can identify Big Whitey, a kidnapped and terribly traumatized boy - can Sara get through to him? It becomes a race against time to save a child. As always, Karin Slaughter delivers a gripping and convoluted chiller in Unseen, with the bonus of a degree of redemption for damaged Lena, one of my favorite series characters.

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