Unseen: Evil Lurks Among Us, a Sophisticated Crime Thriller by Jeffrey James Higgins

The Bottom Line: A sophisticated crime thriller that simmers with menace, passion and heart.

Malachai Wolf had planned to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a PhD in economics. But when his father was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, he decided to dedicate his life to the pursuit of justice. As Unseen begins, Wolf has transformed into a D.C. detective hungry to solve his first homicide.

Opportunity knocks when he hears a gunshot near Georgetown’s C&O Canal, discovers the victim and pursues the killer. Wolf narrowly escapes being shot himself. He soon discovers that the victim is a wealthy political financier, a fact that readers learn in the prior chapter. Author Jeffrey James Higgins, author of the excellent Furious, alternates the book’s point of view between the killer and Wolf, ensuring that readers are often one step ahead of the hungry detective. While Higgins keeps a few surprises about the killer’s identity until the book’s midpoint, much about his ideology and motivation are revealed up front.

The book’s suspense stems from Wolf’s inner turmoil as he discovers that the curious string of homicides are connected to an insidious terror plot. He has no qualms about pursuing vigilantes, but is he also one himself? By his own admission, he fantasizes about murdering his father’s killers.

In addition, Wolf is dealing with the fallout from his wife’s affair and its halo effect on his family life. Riding along with Wolf as he ponders investigative theories and juggles his personal emotional journey is gratifying, even if we already know many of the answers he seeks. Throughout, the action never lags, and the narrative simmers with menace, passion and heart.

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