Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Publication date: 1 December 2021

‘There’s nothing fragile about who I am.’

Meet Lexi Winter. She’s a survivor: once a victim of notorious paedophile ‘The Spider’, now a vigilante looking to protect other children. Lexi earns some money as a sex worker and knows that she should drink less. But her main focus is on tracking down paedophiles and ensuring that the police know about them.  Lexi helps her sister Bailee, a child protection officer, by checking out people they suspect might be abusing children. There’s one offender she’s keen to have put away but her usual methods don’t work to capture the evidence needed. And when Lexi tries to gather evidence from his home, she becomes a witness to his death.

Eighteen years ago, Detective Inspector Rachael Langley cracked the Spider case. But she failed to save Lexi, and lives with her regret. As the Spider languishes in gaol, another man (claiming to be the real Spider) comes to the attention of police. A girl is found murdered, using the Spider’s signature positioning. Is he the real Spider, or a copycat? Some of Rachael’s colleagues think she may have made a mistake 18 years ago, and the media are keen for answers.

I really enjoyed this novel. Lexi is a terrific character as is Rachael. And Lexi’s neighbour Dawny is, well, a very rough (and helpful) diamond. There’s a twist near the end that didn’t quite work for me, but the story held my attention from beginning to end. There are some terrific secondary characters as well, and I would really love to read another novel (or more) featuring Lexi and Rachael.

Recommended.

‘Don’t think of it as leading, think of it as finishing.’

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia HQ for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

#AWW2021

#AussieAuthor2021

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