Book Review: Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie

I’ve read one of Sarah Barrie’s titles and enjoyed it a lot. It was what I would call a rural mystery but Unforgiven has an urban setting and is a much grittier story.

Lexi is an alcoholic prostitute who, in her spare time, hacks into the dark web, infiltrating paedophile rings. Lexi was a victim of one such ring as a child until her main abuser, a man who also murdered several young girls and went by the name of Spider, was caught. Now, 18 years later, a young girl’s body has been found in similar circumstances of those original crimes.

Detective Inspector Rachel Langley is sent to lead up the investigation and is soon contacted by a man claiming he is not only the killer now but was also responsible for the original murders and the man convicted was not the real Spider. This casts a shadow over Rachel’s entire career, considering she was directly promoted due to her cracking the original case.

I usually avoid books featuring crimes against children. Barrie managed to present the horrors of the crimes without too many graphic details but they were still unpleasant enough for me to pause reading when little Chloe was in the news. The one redeeming factor on this score was Unforgiven’s humour. Yes, I know that sounds insane but, at times, this was one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

This comic relief mostly comes from Lexi’s neighbour, Dawny. I can’t give too many details without spoiling but Dawny really stole the show. (I imagined Jackie Weaver the whole time as I read.) Lexi also had great chemistry with Rachel’s nephew, Finn, who was also a detective working the case and Jim, a young police IT expert.

I highly recommend this fast paced Aussie thriller and I can’t wait for Lexi’s next adventure as, although most of the mystery plot was resolved, this is obviously going to be a series.

4 ½ stars

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