Book Review | Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

August was a month of firsts.

I created my first ever randomly generated TBR and I read my first piece of crime fiction.

This isn’t the first crime fiction book I’ve read, but that’s because this is a second book in a series. So obviously, I had to read the first book, well, first. I read Missing, Presumed before reaching for this, but I’ll just say this: you don’t need to do this. It helps to understand who Manon’s son is, but you don’t necessarily need to read Missing, Presumed before this.

On to the review!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The sequel to Susie Steiner’s bestselling MISSING, PRESUMED

Manon has settled back into life in Cambridgeshire with her adopted son Fly. She’s perfectly happy working on cold cases until a man is stabbed to death just yards from the police station, and both the victim and the prime suspect turn out to be much closer to home than she would like. How well does Manon know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

The Writing

I really like Steiner’s writing. It’s engaging and enjoyable. I think she drives her plot with her characters. I don’t need descriptions when it comes to her characters because their personalities really shine through her writing.

For example, the only description of Manon I can remember is she’s not petite. But I don’t need to know that to know Manon is a no-nonsense, take no shit, straight-laced detective. She’s hard and that really shines through how Steiner writes.

This is probably one of the most enjoyable elements of this novel, in my opinion.

The Plot

Okay, the plot for this one was SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING than in Missing, Presumed. I mean, we have one of Manon’s loved ones accused of murdering a man in a park near their house? Obviously, I’m intrigued!

One thing that was hard for me is the mystery element though. I’m so used to reading mystery/thrillers that it was a bit shocking to get so much information up front from side characters. It was interesting to read about the police force trying to solve this murder, but at the same time it was irritating to KNOW who was behind the crime.

However, there was a plot twist toward the end that shook me, so I’m overall pleased with this.

The Characters

I didn’t really like Manon in Missing, Presumed – she just seem too brusque for me to enjoy her character. That changed with this one. I think her being pregnant throughout this novel made her much more likable and human.

Side characters in this were super important as you get a lot of information through these characters – particularly Birdie. But my favorite is, and probably always will be, Davy Walker.

Davy was under Manon on the Hind investigation in Missing, Presumed, but in Persons Unknown he is taking the lead. I loved seeing the growth of his character over the course of this book. I hope he makes an appearance in the next installment!

Fly, Ellie, Solly, Harriet, Bryony, Gary, Mark – they’re all important for telling this story, but I especially loved the snippets of the story from Birdie and Angel’s points of view.

Overall Thoughts

I can honestly say I enjoyed this one much more than the first one. The writing improved, the plot was more interesting, and the character growth was incredible.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟💫

I’d recommend it. It was enjoyable, just wasn’t able to read huge chunks at a time!

Let’s chat!

Do you have a favorite crime fiction novelist? Share in the comments!

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