Unforgiven, a review by Joanna

posted in: Joanna | 1


Sarah Barrie

Harlequin Australia

384 pages


Unforgiven is a tense Aussie police thriller, about a young woman who survived horrendous childhood abuse and now helps catch paedophiles in her spare time while working as an escort. I bought it because I was offered an ARC of the sequel and saw all the 5 star reviews – and I do have a weakness for female vigilante plot lines. I found it to be well written and exciting with three likeable main characters, but nothing I haven’t read before, and it had a very predictable plot and outcome.

Lexi Winter is a skilled hacker, who numbs the pain of her past with Jack Daniels and entraps predators online, while doing whatever she must to pay the bills. Rachael Langley is a successful detective in Gosford, New South Wales. Eighteen years earlier, she caught a serial killer known as The Spider, but now a copycat has struck, and is calling her directly, making her question whether she put the right man away. Rachael, and her nephew Finn, need Lexi’s help to stop more young girls being taken, but can she overcome her distrust of the police and will they let her use her special – if illegal – skills to do so?

If you think Lexi sounds like an Australian Lisbeth Salander, you’re right, but with more of a sense of humour. “That scene in Fifty Shades of Grey comes to mind: the one where the f***ed-in-the-head rapist-slash-romantic hero purchases masking tape, cable ties and a length of rope and convinces the twit serving him that it’s a turn-on.” Her sarcasm cracked me up and lightened what could’ve been an otherwise grim read. While this covers dark topics, it spares us any graphic details and all the abuse happens “off-camera”.

The chapters mostly alternate between Lexi in first person POV narration, and Rachael & Finn’s third person past. There are frequent flashbacks to the past, which got confusing a times, as they are not dated – some “Then” and “Now” headings would fix this. I loved Lexi’s shady elderly neighbour Dawny, and attachment to her only “pet”, Mojo. While I saw some parts of the plot coming a mile off, there were twists that surprised me and I liked the way the ending wrapped matters up while leaving some questions for the next book to answer. A solid 4 stars from me.

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