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UNSOLVED is a cut above its shelf mates. This sequel to James Patterson and David Ellis’ INVISIBLE features the more-than-welcome return of FBI analyst Emmy Dockery with a set of interconnected, puzzling mysteries and a bevy of ticking clocks that make pausing before story’s end nearly impossible.

Dockery, who is physically and emotionally damaged from events that took place in INVISIBLE, is both blessed and cursed with the ability to see connections others cannot. This variation of pattern recognition has brought her attention, both desired and otherwise, from within and outside of the Bureau. In UNSOLVED, however, Dockery discovers that a series of murders being committed across the country are resembling accidents or appear to be due to natural causes. There is nothing in particular that connects the victims, other than the fact that many of them (though not all) are elderly or homeless.

"UNSOLVED is much more than a perfect summer read. It is complex, clever and intelligent while also being full of twists, turns and misdirections."

It takes the death of a law enforcement officer who had been working with Dockery on one of these cases and a social activist in New Orleans to confirm to Dockery that she is on to something. The lone clue --- at least initially --- is a pair of all but unnoticeable and unexplained puncture wounds present somewhere on each victim. The killer, who refers to himself as “Charlie,” operates in plain sight, even as he finds a way to stay one step ahead of Dockery without her knowing it.

Meanwhile, Dockery has her own problems. The Bureau is tasked with hunting a domestic terrorist calling himself “Citizen David,” who has claimed responsibility for a series of acts of civil disobedience and domestic terrorism. There are those in the Bureau who believe that its investigation into these activities is being compromised by a mole within the organization who is leaking information to an investigative reporter and to David himself. The trail of the leaks appears to lead directly back to Dockery.

Harrison “Books” Bookman, a retired FBI agent who is engaged to Dockery as the book begins, is quietly recruited by the Bureau to determine if Dockery is responsible. That she is also conducting her own investigations --- and misrepresenting her status with the FBI --- with respect to the murders that the Bureau refuses to acknowledge have even occurred causes her additional problems.

For the majority of the novel, Dockery faces opposition from the Bureau and danger from a murderer who is much closer to her and those she cares about than she realizes. As Dockery tenaciously pursues the investigation of a killer only she can detect, she finds that she is in danger of losing far more than her career.

UNSOLVED is much more than a perfect summer read. It is complex, clever and intelligent while also being full of twists, turns and misdirections. In this summer of blockbusters, Patterson and Ellis have created yet another one to call all their own that should catapult the Dockery books onto must-read series lists everywhere.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on June 7, 2019

by James Patterson and David Ellis

  • Publication Date: February 11, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538731630
  • ISBN-13: 9781538731635