Friday 14 January 2022

Book Review & Giveaway: Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Sarah Barrie
Once a victim, she's now a vigilante
Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication date: 1st December 2021
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 496
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected advance copy
Source: Courtesy of the publisher 

About the book
Lexi Winter is tough, street-smart and has stood on her own two feet since childhood, when she was a victim of notorious paedophile the Spider. All she cares about now is a roof over her head and her long-term relationship with Johnny Walker. She isn't particular about who she sleeps with ... as long as they pay before leaving.

Lexi is also an ace hacker, tracking and entrapping local paedophiles and reporting them to the cops. When she finds a particularly dangerous paedophile who the police can't touch, she decides to gather enough evidence to put him away. Instead, she's a witness to his death ...

Detective Inspector Rachael Langley is the cop who cracked the Spider case, 18 years earlier - but failed to protect Lexi. Now a man claiming to be the real Spider is emulating his murderous acts, and Rachael is under pressure from government, media and her police colleagues. Did she get it wrong all those years ago, or is this killer a copycat?

Lexi and Rachael cross paths at last, the Spider in their sights ... but they may be too late ...
My review
Unforgiven takes place over a three week period but the action is so full on it feels much longer.
Told through first person narration by Lexi, former victim now vigilante paedophile hunter. I feel this type of narrative gives the reader  a more personal look at Lexi, how she feels and why she acts the way she does. An alternating third person narrative is also given for DI Rachael Langley. The alternating narratives keep the story moving at a fast pace.
I did find the content of child abuse, paedophilia and child murder deeply disturbing and very hard to read at times.
Barrie highlights the complexity of the dark web with its numerous hidden portals and the difficulty police have with breaking into these sites and making arrests before they close down.
As Rachael and her team try to catch a deadly paedophile calling himself The Spider they are hampered by the stretched resources of police and community services and the limited power they have to act on information received.
Barrie does add a little humour into what is otherwise a dark read with Lexi's neighbour Dawny who has a few tricks up her sleeve when Lexi is in  need of help. Dawny was a fun character and a warning to us all to never underestimate the old lady who lives across the road. 
Unforgiven is a gripping, tension filled read that exposes the fragility of children and the extraordinary work of the people trying to protect them.
My rating 4.5 / 5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

About the author
Photo: Goodreads
Sarah Barrie is the author of eight novels, including her bestselling print debut Secrets of Whitewater Creek, the Hunters Ridge trilogy and the Calico Mountain trilogy. In a past life, while gaining degrees in arts, science and education, Sarah worked as a teacher, a vet nurse, a horse trainer and a magazine editor, before deciding she wanted to write novels. About the only thing that has remained constant is her love of all things crime.Her favourite place in the world is the family property, where she writes her stories overlooking mountains crisscrossed with farmland, bordered by the beauty of the Australian bush, and where, at the end of the day, she can spend time with family, friends, a good Irish whiskey and a copy of her next favourite book. 
Thanks to Harper Collins I have two additional copies of Unforgiven to giveaway. One here on my blog and one on Instagram @theburgeoningbookshelf  You can enter both. Australian addresses only. Giveaway closes at midnight EDST on 20th January 2022. 
This giveaway is now closed and the winners were announced HERE


  1. Love Sarah Barrie’s work, can’t wait for this one!

  2. I've loved her other books, think this one sounds intriguing too

  3. I've been hearing really good things about this tale of a vigilante pedophile hunter and would love to read it. Thanks for the chance.

  4. Have seen a lot of strong reviews for this one, very keen!

  5. Would love to read. A read page turner.

  6. Dawny was great fun - I would love to see her get a book of her own!

    1. Oh yes! She was awesome and much needed comic relief in an otherwise dark read.