The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 24, 2014

Phyllis Seesengood: Readers won't care that 'Unseen' is seventh in a series

JOPLIN, Mo. — In "Unseen," by Karin Slaughter, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has gone undercover as Bill Black, a small-time but frightening ex-con.

Will, as Bill Black, is attempting to penetrate a drug ring and discover the true identity of crime boss Big Whitey.

During the course of his investigation, he comes across some evil people who commit atrocious crimes.

Recently, Detective Lena Adams of the Macon County, Ga., Police Department led a raid on a drug house in hopes of capturing Big Whitey's contacts, or even Big Whitey himself, but the raid went horribly wrong and some young women were kidnapped.

Will, in his motorcycle tough-guy undercover alterego, has managed to gain the confidence of some members of the drug organization.

He is employed as the lookout at the scene of a home invasion, interrupts an incredibly brutal and graphic planned hit on Lena and her husband, Jared.

Will was unaware that it was Jared and Lena's home until he came to their rescue.

Lena immediately goes into cop mode when Jared is shot.

Jared has been working on their home and a hammer is the closest weapon at hand, so Lena uses it to defend Jared and herself from two men who are determined to kill them both.

Lena kills one of the men, but Will stops her from killing the second man.

Jared is badly hurt and taken to the Macon County Hospital.

Only a few days earlier, the couple was looking forward to having a baby, but Lena had a miscarriage. Instead of bringing them closer together, it has put a real strain on their marriage, and they were arguing when Jared was shot.

Jared is the son of Sara Linton's dead husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, which makes Jared Sara's stepson.

Five years ago, Jeffrey was killed, and Sara has always blamed Lena for his death.

Lena was his partner at the time, and Sara cannot get over the bitterness and resentment that she feels for Lena over Jeffrey's death, plus the fact that Lena is married to Jared.

Sara has been trying to make a new life with Will despite the fact that he is still a married man.

He has avoided telling her of his undercover work and his involvement in the attack on Lena and Jared.

Sara becomes involved in the investigation without either one of them aware of her participation.

"Unseen" is the seventh novel in the "Will Trent" series.

Apparently, the Grant County series should be read first, although the author uses overlapping characters in both series.

I have to confess that this is the only novel by Karin Slaughter that I have read, but I found it so engrossing I could hardly put it down. The author's character descriptions and their complicated relationships are intriguing.

The plot is riveting and complex with one twist after another. Drugs and the underground child porn world intertwined with some unsavory characters make for a gritty novel. The crimes are gruesome and the violence intense. "Unseen" is not a novel for the squeamish.

"Unseen" is available in print, compact disc audiobook and downloadable audiobook formats from the Joplin Public Library.


Phyllis Seesengood is technical services librarian for the Joplin Public Library.

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