Unseen (Will Trent Series #8)by Karin Slaughter
Bill Black is a scary guy: a tall ex-con who rides to work on a Harley, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. In Macon, Georgia, Bill has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer and his cunning girlfriend. They think Bill might be a useful ally. They don’t know that Bill is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent named Will Trent. Or that he
Bill Black is a scary guy: a tall ex-con who rides to work on a Harley, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. In Macon, Georgia, Bill has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer and his cunning girlfriend. They think Bill might be a useful ally. They don’t know that Bill is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent named Will Trent. Or that he is fighting his own demons, undercover and cut off from the support of Sara Linton—the woman he loves, who he dares not tell he is putting himself at such risk.
Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: her stepson Jared has been gunned down in his home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: The female detective has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and it’s not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara gets involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.
In a novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists, two investigations collide around a conspiracy on both sides of the law. Karin Slaughter’s latest is both an electrifying thriller and a piercing study of human nature: what happens when good people face the unseen evils in their lives.
“Compelling . . . [Slaughter] balances a complex plot with believable twists while sensitively exploring her realistic characters’ emotions and problems.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“An emotional roller coaster ride . . . fast-paced and edge-of-your seat . . . Slaughter is brilliant.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
“Superb and emotionally wrenching . . . The despicable nature of the crimes being investigated only serves to enhance Will’s innate goodness and humanity. Current series fans will be delighted, and newcomers to Slaughter’s work will find a new obsession.”—Library Journal
“Slaughter plunges readers into the action from the get-go with her electrifying ability to write suspenseful, riveting confrontations between cops and criminals, all while deepening the backstories of her longtime series leads. Another intense read, on multiple levels, from the ever-reliable Slaughter.”—Booklist
“Tense and densely plotted . . . The twisted plot and shocking reveals remind readers why Slaughter remains a dominant voice in crime fiction.”—Publishers Weekly
Read an Excerpt
Detective Lena Adams winced as she pulled off her T-shirt. She took her police badge out of her pocket, along with her flashlight and an extra clip for her Glock, and tossed them all onto the dresser. The time on her phone showed it was almost midnight. Lena had rolled out of bed eighteen hours ago and now all she wanted to do was fall back in. Not that she’d done that much lately. For the past four days, just about every waking hour had been wasted sitting at a conference room table answering questions she’d answered the day before and the day before that—navigating the usual bullshit that came from having to justify your actions to Internal Affairs.
“Who led the raid into the house?”
“What intelligence were you acting on?”
“What did you expect to find?”
The internal investigator for the Macon Police Department had the dour, lifeless personality of a career pencil pusher. Every day, the woman showed up dressed in the same style black skirt and white blouse, an outfit that seemed more appropriate for greeting diners at an Olive Garden. She nodded a lot, frowned even more as she took notes. When Lena didn’t answer quickly, she’d check the tape recorder to make sure it was picking up the silences.
Lena was certain the questions were designed to provoke an outburst. The first day, she had been so numb that she’d just answered truthfully in the hope that it would soon be over. The second and third days, she’d been less forthcoming, her level of irritation rising with each passing minute. Today, she had finally exploded, which seemed exactly what the woman had been waiting for.
“What do you think I expected to find, you miserable bitch?”
If only Lena hadn’t found it. If only she could take a razor and slice the images out of her brain. They haunted her. They flickered into her vision like an old movie every time she blinked. They filled her with a constant, unrelenting sorrow.
Lena started to rub her eyes, then thought better of it. Six days had passed since she’d led her team on the raid, but her body was still a walking reminder of what had happened. The bruise fingering its way across her nose and underneath her left eye had turned a urine-yellow. The three stitches holding together the cut in her scalp itched like a rash.
Then there were the things that no one could see—Lena’s bruised tailbone. Her aching back and knees. The roil in her stomach every time she thought about what she’d discovered in that desolate house in the woods.
Four dead bodies. One man still in the hospital. Another who would never wear the badge again. Not to mention the terrible memory she would probably end up taking to her grave.
Tears came into Lena’s eyes. She bit her lip, fighting the urge to let the grief have its way. She was exhausted. The week had been hard. Hell, the last three weeks had been hard. But it was over now. All of it was over. Lena was safe. She would keep her job. The rat squad investigator had scurried back to her hole. Lena was finally home where no one could stare at her, question her, probe and prod her. It wasn’t just Internal Affairs. Everyone wanted to know what the raid had been like, what Lena had found in that dark, dank basement.
And Lena wanted nothing more than to forget all about it.
Her cell phone chirped. Lena exhaled until her lungs were completely empty. The phone chirped a second time. She picked it up. There was a new text message.
VICKERY: u ok?
Lena stared at the letters on the screen. Paul Vickery, her partner.
She tapped reply. Her thumb hovered over the keyboard.
The distant rumble of a motorcycle shook the air.
Instead of typing out a response, Lena held down the power button until the phone turned off. She placed it on the dresser beside her badge.
The roar of the Harley-D’s twin-cam engine vibrated in her ears as Jared gunned the bike so he could make it to the top of their steep driveway. Lena waited, following the familiar sounds: the engine cutting, the metallic groan of the kickstand, the heavy tread of boots as her husband made his way into the house, tossed his helmet and keys onto the kitchen table even though she’d asked him a million times not to. He paused for a moment, probably to check the mail, then continued toward their bedroom.
Lena kept her back to the door as she counted off Jared’s footsteps down the long hallway. His stride sounded tentative, reluctant. He’d probably been hoping Lena would be asleep.
Jared stopped at the doorway. He was obviously waiting for Lena to turn around. When she didn’t, he asked, “You just get in?”
“I stayed late to finish.” It wasn’t a complete lie. She’d hoped Jared would be asleep, too. “I was about to take a shower.”
Lena didn’t go into the bathroom. Instead, she turned to face him.
Jared’s gaze flickered down to her bra, then quickly back up again. He was dressed in his uniform, his hair twisted into a peak from the helmet. He was a cop with the Macon PD, too—a motorman, one rank below Lena and twelve years younger. Neither one of these things used to bother her, but lately, every inch of their lives was a provocation.
He leaned against the doorjamb, asking, “How’d it go?”
“They cleared me to go back to work.”
“That’s good, right?”
She replayed his words in her head, trying to decipher the tone. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
Jared didn’t respond. There was a long, uncomfortable silence before he asked, “You want a drink?”
Lena couldn’t hide her surprise.
“I guess it’s okay now, right?” He tilted his head to the side, forced his lips into a tight smile. He was a few inches taller than Lena, but his muscular frame and athletic grace made him seem larger.
Jared cleared his throat to let her know that he was waiting.
She nodded. “ ’Kay.”
Jared left the room, but his need lingered—surrounding her, almost suffocating her. He needed for Lena to break down. He needed for her to lean on him. He needed her to show him that what happened had affected her, had altered her in some tangible way.
He couldn’t see that not giving in was the only thing that kept her from falling completely apart.
Lena took her pajamas out of the dresser. She heard Jared moving around the kitchen. He opened the freezer door, rummaged around for a handful of ice. Lena closed her eyes. Her body swayed. She waited for the cubes to hit glass. Her mouth watered in anticipation.
She clenched her jaw. Forced open her eyes.
She wanted the drink too badly. When Jared came back, she would put the glass down, wait a few minutes, prove to herself that she could do without it.
Prove to him that she didn’t need it.
Her hands ached as she unbuttoned her jeans. The day of the raid, she’d gripped her shotgun so hard that her fingers had felt like they were permanently curled. She wasn’t sure why everything still ached. She should be better now, but her body was holding on to the hurt. Holding on to the poison that was eating her up inside.
“So.” Jared was back. This time, he came into the room. He poured a large vodka as he walked toward her, the bottle gurgling as the liquid splashed into the glass. “You’re back on duty tomorrow?”
He handed her the glass. “No time off?”
Lena took the drink and downed half of it in one gulp.
“I guess that’s the same as when . . .” Jared’s voice trailed off. He didn’t have to say when. Instead, he looked out the back window. The dark panes showed his reflection. “I bet you get your sergeant’s stripes off this.”
She shook her head, but said, “Maybe.”
He stared at her—waiting. Needing.
She asked, “What are they saying at the station?”
Jared walked to the closet. “That you’ve got balls of steel.” He dialed the combination on the gun safe. Lena watched the back of his neck. There was a pink line of sunburn where his helmet didn’t protect the skin. He must’ve known she was watching, but he just took his holster off his belt and stored his gun beside hers. Near hers. He didn’t even let their guns touch.
She asked, “Does it bother you?”
He shut the safe door, spun the combination. “Why would it bother me?”
Lena didn’t say the words, but they were screaming in her head: Because they think I’m tougher than you. Because your wife was taking down some very bad guys while you were toodling around on your bike giving tickets to soccer moms.
Jared said, “I’m proud of you.” He used his reasonable voice, the one that made Lena want to punch him in the face. “They should give you a medal for what you did.”
He had no idea what she’d done. Jared only knew the highlights, the details Lena was allowed to share outside closed doors.
She repeated the question. “Does it bother you?”
He paused for a second too long. “It bothers me that you could’ve been killed.”
He still hadn’t answered the question. Lena studied his face. The skin was unlined, fresh. She’d met Jared when he was twenty-one, and in the five and a half years since, he’d somehow started looking younger, like he was aging in reverse. Or maybe Lena was getting older more quickly. So much had changed since those early days. In the beginning, she could always tell what he was thinking. Of course, since then, she’d given him plenty of mortar to build up a wall around himself.
He started unbuttoning his shirt. “I think I’m gonna go put those cabinets together.”
She gave a startled laugh. “Really?” The kitchen had been torn apart for three months, mostly because Jared found a new reason every weekend to not work on it.
He let his shirt drop to the floor. “At least Ikea will know I’m still the man of the house.”
Now that it was out there, Lena didn’t know how to respond. “You know it’s not like that.” Even to her own ears, the excuse sounded weak. “It’s just not.”
Lena didn’t answer.
“Right.” Jared’s cell phone started to ring. He pulled it out of his pocket, checked the number, and declined the call.
“That your girlfriend?” Lena didn’t like the thinness in her tone. The joke wasn’t funny. They both knew that.
He rummaged through the dirty-clothes basket and found his jeans, one of his T-shirts.
“It’s almost midnight.” Lena looked at the bedside clock. “Past midnight.”
“I’m not sleepy.” He dressed quickly, tucking his phone into his back pocket. “I’ll keep the noise down.”
“You need your phone to put the cabinets together?”
“The charge is low.”
Meet the Author
Karin Slaughter is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of over a dozen thrillers, including Fallen, Broken, Undone, Fractured, Beyond Reach, Triptych, and Faithless. A long-time resident of Atlanta, she splits her time between the kitchen and the living room.
Kathleen Early is an award-winning television, film, and stage actress living in Los Angeles. Originally from Euless, Texas, she studied at the University of Oklahoma, the Oxford School of Drama, and the Actors Theatre of Louisville before moving to New York City. There she understudied Rebecca Gayheart in Steel Magnolias on Broadway and toured nationally with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin in the Broadway production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Her television credits include recurring roles on Miami Medical and Grey’s Anatomy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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In her last novel, CRIMINAL, Slaughter's writing soared to new heights. The plot twists dazzled this long time fan, and the read was incredibly satisfying. It sealed the deal that Will Trent is the hero to root for. To follow up with anything less would have been a huge letdown. But UNSEEN does not disappoint. In fact, it delights. Long time readers will remember what they love or hate about Lena Adams. Watching Sara continue to grieve Jeffrey reminds readers how strong the two were together. But also displays why Will is her new perfect match. One wouldn't think that there was room for improvement, yet Slaughter's impeccable storytelling continues to get better with each book. Slaughter fans will be gratified. Thriller fans who've not yet read Slaughter will be hypnotized. Readers who fell in love with Gillian Flynn last year but never considered themselves thriller readers will be converted. This one is unputdownable and not to be missed.
How is it she keeps getting better and better? Normally, after a few books in a series, I get bored, but Slaughter has me riveted from the opening pages (what a shocker!!!) to the end. She is a master of this genre and frankly, outshines all others. LOVED!!!
Karin Slaughter books just keep getting better! Unseen has several twisting plots that are unseen until the end! If you want an exciting read with great characters that keep you entranced until the end, this is it! She brings past characters along with some new evil and new good ones into an awesome crime plot! This is not for the faint of heart though. Her writing shows her researched knowledge in forensics, and just like true crimes, some can be graphic. Slaughter is one of the best (if not THE best) mystery crime authors of our time! Caution: Unseen will leave you wanting more of the characters, and may make you want to read the series from the very beginning of it all!
The best yet! loved it!
Being a avid reader this book took me a long time to read it. Had a real hard time getting into it.
Unseen is the seventh book in the Will Trent series by popular American author, Karin Slaughter. GBI deputy director, Amanda Wagner has her agent, Will Trent working undercover in Macon, but he is reluctant to tell Sara Linton just what he’s working on: he knows she’ll be furious. It is no coincidence that Lena Adams, the woman many believe caused Chief Jeffrey Tolliver’s death, works for Macon PD. The story revolves around a shooting at Lena and Jared’s house. Events before the fateful attack are presented from Lena’s perspective, which allows the reader to get inside Lena’s brain. Events after the shooting come from Will’s and Sara’s perspectives. Undercover Will demonstrates some unsuspected talents: alter-ego Bill Black is quite something else. Will does, however, have to endure being cut, kicked, punched, tasered, tied up, slapped, scratched, strangled, and bitten. As always, there is plenty of action: murder, kidnapping, paedophiles, sex trafficking, drug theft, child pornography, corrupt cops, cops working off beat, snitches and suicide. The range of weapons includes pistols, shotguns, a knife, taser, hammer, fists and boots. And apart from all that, there’s even a bit of humour and heartache. The long awaited confrontation between Lena and Sara finally happens (definitely worth the wait) and Slaughter ties up quite a few loose ends in this book, which will have some readers wondering if this is the last Will Trent/Sara Linton we will see. Each time I pick up another Karin Slaughter book I wonder if she can maintain the high standard she has set for herself: she can and in this book, she certainly does. Unputdownable!
Read one of her books on a whim and have since read both Grant County Series and the Will Trent series! I would suggest reading them all in order. Can't wait for her next Will Trent book to come out.
Loved it! The only thing I am upset about; that I have to wait a year for the next book.
Macon Detective Lena Adams returns as she and her husband, Jared become the victims of a brutal home attack that may be retaliation for a raid headed by Adams only days before. GBI Agent Will Trent is working undercover in Macon in an attempt to uncover and capture the mysterious Big Whitey, an underworld kingpin who leaves a trail of drugs and death in his wake. Dr Sara Linton, still holding a grudge against Lena is Jareds’ stepmother, their feud is re-fueled and burns hot, once again. To make things worse, Will cannot tell Sara what he is doing, in spite of their relationship. His secrets could mean the end of them and he knows it. True to form, Karin Slaughter’s <b>Unseen</b> is raw with emotion, the action is gritty and brutal and the tension runs high as the twist and turns leave the reader guessing at the final outcome! Using the POVs of Lena, Will and Sara, Ms. Slaughter has once again, pulled together a fully rounded tale that runs high on tension-filled adrenaline as Lena and Sara face off once again. Meanwhile, there are crimes to solve, will Big Whitey be identified and captured? The ups and down of the pace made the anticipation to the final resolution run high for me, although I did find that I worried that Sara and Lena’s feud would overpower the main plot too much. An ARC edition of <b>Unseen</b> was provided by NetGalley and Bantam-Dell in exchange for my honest review.
The story sounded promising but this book was about 200 pages too long. In addition, it wasn't a smooth read because of the jumping back and forth in time. I lost interest after a while. Disappointed.
Does the author realize Sarah is gross, boring, and tedious? Story is melodramatic to the point of silliness.
Wish I could give it 4.5 stars. I must read in a series that just keeps getting better. Unseen is listed as the 7th book in Karin Slaughter's Will Trent mystery/thriller series, although it is actually the latest in the series of books that combines both the Grant County characters and the Atlanta characters. As the book begins, we find Will working on an undercover assignment in Macon, Georgia. Interestingly enough, Macon just happens to be where our old friend Lena Adams has settled after she left Grant County. Things begin to heat up as Will and Lena's paths cross. As any fan of the series knows, if Lena is involved, there is bound to be plenty of trouble. This book is no different in that respect, and as the story continues, Will and Lena's seemingly unrelated story lines merge, though not necessarily in the way that I expected. Slaughter is a master in the use of twist and turns in the plot of her stories, and many of her books contain those "Ah Ha," moments that make a good mystery so much fun to read. Her stories are action packed, and although there is violence and evil, as all good thrillers must have, it is not over the top or gratuitous, just the right level of both to make the story believable. One of the things that I have come to love the most about Slaughter's books are her characters. Slaughter's characters are all undeniably human with all the complexity that suggests. In fact, reading this book was like going home for a visit and getting caught up with family and friends. You know they are going to make you laugh, or shake you head in wonder when they make a decision that doesn't seem to make sense. I found myself, once again, being amazed by their actions, yelling at them when I could see they were making the wrong decision, crying with them, celebrating with them, and in the end, feeling like they haven't changed a bit. Will is still a troubled soul, Sara is still too nice, Lena is still clueless about what really matters, Faith is still trying to hold them all together, and Amanda was still the ball buster I have come to count on. I was glad that Angie did not make an appearance in this book, but I am willing to bet that she is not far away and will make her presence known in an upcoming book. If you are a fan of the mystery - suspense - thriller genre, I cannot recommend these books highly enough. As series go, both the Grant County books and the Atlanta books are top notch, and as mystery/thrillers go, they are among my favorites. If you are a fan of Karin Slaughter and have read the other books in her series, then I am probably preaching to the choir. If you have not, I recommend that you start with the Grant County books to get the background of the characters from that series, and continue with the Will Trent books, where Slaughter really comes in to her own. Thanks to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for making this book available to me in exchange for a review.
Love the character Will Trent and hope to see more of him. Hope to see more of his partner Faith also - please give her a manly man to love!!
This is my 3rd book by Karin Slaughter and I've enjoyed all 3. Normally, I don't enjoy going back and forth with each chapter. But I really enjoyed the story and recommend.
I did not read a Karin Slaughter book in a while. I forgot how good a writer she is. If you like Sandra Brown, read Karin Slaughter. I am sure you will enjoy
Karin Slaughter’s UNSEEN, a compelling and suspenseful novel of cops and criminals of the South, in her Will Trent Series #7—an emotional roller coaster crime fiction thriller of evil and romance! Set in the southern town of Macon, GA, Will Trent is working undercover as an ex-con trying to infiltrate a drug and sex trafficking ring in order to get to a powerful and elusive man called Big Whitey (Florida gangster), who has expanded business in the Macon area. However, Will’s friends in the Macon police department are not aware of his undercover work. When three men break into the home of two Macon officers, Detective Lena Adams and her husband Jared Long, it gets complicated. Lena is now married to Jeffrey’s son from his first marriage, and is hot on the trail of a local drug kingpin, Sid Waller. Will adopts the persona of tough ex-con and bad boy, Bill Black, all unbeknownst to Sara. Will can't share his case with girlfriend Sara, because going undercover is too dangerous. But Will’s secret suddenly becomes harder to keep when Lena and her fellow officer husband, Jared, are attacked in their home, leaving Jared in bad shape, bringing Sara from Atlanta to Macon to see her stepson. Neither Will nor Sara realizes the connection (the two investigations collide) —they are both targets and in danger. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a stubborn detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved has gotten caught in the crossfire. (I am trying to catch up with all the players and their past). As Will makes his way through the dark world of drug dealers and pimps, he must also balance his job and his romance with Sara Linton, which becomes involves in the case, as well. Some nasty and dark human trafficking and drugs in the South. Yes, the south has its share of crime rings, and who better than Karin Slaughter to uncover the scums hiding in the dark alleys. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Kathleen Early, with a stellar performance. Unfortunately, I started with Slaughter’s most recent release, COP TOWN (which I loved) and my first read by Karin. I am working my way backwards, as have heard so much about the Will Trent series. I probably should start with book one instead of latest; however, what can I say, I like to start from newest and work my way back to the oldest. I tend to do this when I find an author I love, and cannot wait to read all their previous books. The problem with doing this is the latest is a 5 star, and hard to compare the others to the best. Loving the Will Trent character and see why all the rave reviews, and Karin’s reputation for her riveting novels of cops and robbers. Having lived in Atlanta for years, and moved to South Florida—always nice to re-visit Georgia! Looking forward to learning more about the famous and complex Will Trent with CRIMINAL (Will Trent, #6) next.
I couldn't put it down. Did I enjoy this book: I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. Unseen is one of Slaughter’s Will Trent mysteries. He’s working undercover in a violent criminal operation known for killing police officers who get in their way. It’s easy to see how this creates lots of opportunities for conflict. The book opens with Will serving as a look-out when the hit men enter the home of his lover’s step son with a plan to murder him (a motor cycle cop) and his wife (lead investigator). It’s the first in a series of explosive battles as Will wrestles with the internal conflict between keeping his cover secret while maintaining an intimate relationship with the victim’s family member. Would I recommend it: Yes, with a word of caution regarding violent content. As reviewed by Belinda at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.