Book Review: Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same latter TW: murder, sy...

Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same latter

TW: murder, systemic racism, fat-shaming, prostitution

I've honestly had Persons Unknown on my kindle for two years, and just now got around to reading it (I really dislike ebooks, I'm telling you). I enjoyed the first in the series, Missing Presumed, well enough. It definitely held my interest, but there were definitely some problematic issues in the story. I didn't enjoy the way the first book wrapped up, but I felt like the second book took such a ridiculous turn.

The book continues to follow DS Manon Bradshaw, about a year after Missing Presumed ends. She's now pregnant, has adopted Fly (from the first novel), and is running cold cases. A man is found stabbed to death in a park near Manon's home and after following a few short leads, Fly (a 12 year-old Black boy) is arrested for the crime.  Simultaneously, a prostitute is hiding from someone which seems to be connected with the murder in the park.

I am all for stories that discuss race issues and bring to light societal and systemic race issues, but I felt it was done in a really juvenile way, and very ineffectively. It was centered in the story, while also being a side note somehow. Compared to Missing Presumed, the storyline was messy, the dialogue was confusing, and so much of the story seemed to just end without being wrapped up.

"But generally it's the very rich screwing the very poor. Isn't that how the world's going?" - Susie Steiner, Persons Unknown

Everything was just so sloppy, and the entire story was so dang slow. I figured it out incredibly quickly, so I felt there was absolutely no twist, though perhaps it was supposed to be quite shocking. This story pretends to be about systemic racism, but there are no efforts to dispel the issues being brought up. So, again the white folks just continue living their lives with no problems truly disrupting their lives.

I certainly wouldn't recommend this novel, or even the first novel at this point, and I definitely won't be reading anymore about Manon Bradshaw.

Goodread rating: ★★☆☆☆

*I received a copy of this novel free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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  1. Hm ... these sound like books I would like, but your hang ups sound like things that would bother me, too. I might give this author a try. Might not.

    1. Yeah. I wanted to love it, but I struggled with so much of it, unfortunately.