Cari Hunter is relentless, which might just give her the title of her next book. Unbreakable hits the ground running and never looks back, but you already know that if you’re a fan. If you’re not or you haven’t read any of her work, you need to remedy that immediately. From her Dark Peak series to her standalones, you won’t be disappointed no matter which you choose.
As Dr. Grace Kendal leaves work for the day, she’s kidnapped by a badly wounded Elin Breckenridge, who was injured during a ransom dropoff for Elin’s kidnapped daughter, Amelia. But the origin of Elin’s injuries is of less concern to Grace than their severity. Grace manages to keep Elin alive, but as they bond, the larger problem of getting Amelia back looms. They have a satchel full of money and a dead man in their wake. Detective Sergeant Safia Faris finds the dead man, killed by an unknown assailant who also shot Elin during the drop, but what should be a simple case turns into something more complicated as she and her partner, Suds, chase after Grace and Elin, uncovering layers of complexity that build to a tense climax.
Hunter establishes the tension immediately–a trademark of hers–and then runs with it, dropping in bits of characterization here and there during dialogue and whenever she pauses to let the reader catch their breath. Once she has you caring about the pair of fugitives, you’re hooked in and totally unable to stop reading. Is this a formula? Yes, but Hunter is so skillful in executing it that you don’t even notice her manipulations and distractions.
She also has quite the way with character. Although Grace and Elin have the more obvious bond, I also enjoyed the interplay between DS Faris and Suds, who shatter the rules in order to let Grace and Elin play out their hand and catch the kidnapper. And the British-isms Hunter peppers throughout the book provide a solid sense of place without being burdensome or confusing.
Along with Cheryl Head and J.M. Redmann, Cari Hunter is one of my favorite mystery/thriller authors, and Unbreakable is a very solid notch in her column. It has action, heart, and suspense. Try reading a couple of chapters and going to bed. I dare you. Highly recommended.
© 2021 Jerry L. Wheeler