If you like crime novels — I’m thinking Jeffrey Deaver, Preston/Child, Tami Hoag, all the ones I loved growing up — you should try this series out. Meg Gardiner has written two novels (so far) about Caitlin Hendrix, with a third and a procedural for CBS in the works.
“But fate was a myth constructed by fools—people who gamble or follow horoscopes, who believe the stars rule their lives.”
The first novel, Unsub, introduces us to Caitlin as a narcotics detective in the Bay area. She’s dragged into a murder investigation when a serial killer called the Prophet reemerges after 25 years. Based loosely on the Zodiac killer, he Prophet terrorized the Bay area during her childhood, and drove her detective father to ruin. He was never caught, and now he’s back…
Into the Darkness
“Crying Call nestled in a river gorge, with raw peas on either side. The red stone, the dark green of the pines, the white glaze of snow, and the arching, varnished sky spread around her. She stopped at the overlook and inhaled it all. Her heart was pounding, but with life. A hawk swooped past, screeching.”
After Unsub ends, Caitlin moves on to the FBI and begins investigating a serial killer in Texas. With the help of her new team, she hunts down a predator killing women along I-35 and dressing them up like dolls. Caitlin and her team from the FBI use behavior analytics to create a profile of a killer.
The plots are pretty basic crime thrillers, but damn the writing is good. Caitlin comes to life, full of intelligence and strength and fear. Particularly in the second book, Gardiner’s descriptions of the Texas landscape (and food) brought the state to life for me. I also love the way she explains the psychology behind behavior profiles. It made the nerd in me very happy.
I can see this series carrying on for a while, and I’m here for it. I can also see how it would translate well to a CBS procedural, although they’re going to have to clean the gore up quite a bit. Some of the murder scenes will not be for the faint of heart. Like I said, Gardiner does well at describing things…
P.S. The dog lives through both books.