In 2017, author Meg Gardiner released Unsub, the first book in what has become a fascinating and fabulous new series starring Caitlin Hendrix, who at the time was an LAPD narcotics detective working the very case that nearly did her father, a former detective who spent the bulk of his career chasing a notorious serial killer, in during her childhood.
A year later, in January of 2018, Gardiner released her much-anticipated follow-up, Into the Black Nowhere, which saw Caitlin make the jump to the FBI, where she joined the Bureau’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Now, book three in the series, THE DARK CORNERS OF THE NIGHT, is finally set to come out, just over two years since her second last go-around . . . making this the longest fans have had to wait between new books since Caitlin Hendrix first burst onto the scene.
Good news: It’s well worth the wait and then some. Trust me!
For her latest thriller, Gardiner brings her A-game like never before, putting Caitlin up against a deranged but calculated killer who calls himself the Midnight Man—a ruthless murderer who kills parents but leaves the children behind as young, innocent witnesses to his vile, unspeakable horrors. Opening with a thundering bang, Gardiner doesn’t let her foot off the gas pedal until the final page, and her shocking conclusion will have readers talking about this one for a long, long time.
I absolutely loved this book and hope Rogue readers will too. Before I go, a bit of advice: Read this one with the lights on . . . Meg Gardiner is scary good!
My Inspirations: Southern California Crime
He unlocked the cruiser’s floor-mounted shotgun, got out, and ran toward the bank.
I was fifteen. I was getting school credit for doing a ride along with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Hours earlier, the deputy had assured my parents he’d watch out for me. He joked that his job was ninety percent paperwork, but promised that at the first sign of danger, he’d drop me at a safe location. Taco Bell, maybe.
The patrol had been uneventful, until his radio crackled. 211 in progress. Armed robbery. And he roared toward the Crocker-Citizens Bank, with me along.
This was Southern California—bank robbery central back then. At the Fairview Shopping Center, we raced past a busy Safeway and screeched up at the bank. Sheriff’s cars surrounded it. A uniformed sergeant stood with his back against the outside wall, shotgun raised, creeping toward the doors.
This was infinitely cooler than getting dropped at Taco Bell.
I ran behind the cruiser, crouched low, and peered over the trunk to watch the assault on the bank. My heart was pounding. The sergeant approached the doors.
And behind me, a voice said, “Meg?”
I turned. My mom stood a few feet away, pushing a Safeway shopping cart.
“What are you doing?” she said.
“I’m ducking down.” That didn’t seem to impress her. “And not moving.”
I think at that point she set a hand on her hip and glared. Yes, definitely glared. I kept on crouching, like a squirrel.
The sergeant reached the bank doors. A teller opened them and came out.
Someone had accidentally tripped the silent alarm. There was no robbery. Everyone stood down.
Except my mom. The deputy got the stink-eye, and an earful.
Readers ask where I get my ideas. What’s my inspiration for a story?
The spark for The Dark Corners of the Night came from the crimes of the Night Stalker, whose rampage cast a pall of dread across Southern California in the Eighties. I recall the fear we all felt. A home invasion killer was striking at will. It seemed like there was no way to keep him out, and nowhere to hide from him. He owned the night.
That’s the seed of fact behind the novel, in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix tracks a Los Angeles killer known as the Midnight Man.
But on a more granular level, inspiration came from my experience on that ride along. Caitlin started out as a sheriff’s deputy, and in The Dark Corners of the Night, she recalls a lifechanging event early in her career: a bank robbery—during which she gets shot. The fictional robbery occurs in the Bay Area. But when I wrote the scene, I envisioned that Crocker-Citizens Bank in Santa Barbara County. And the clustered deputies, weapons out. The sharp morning sunlight that glinted from the windshields of their cruisers, the swirl of activity, the heart-pounding uncertainty, and the electric pulse of adrenaline.
When I write a novel, I do a ton of research. I’ve attended FBI and ATF seminars. I went on a ride along with the Austin police, where a guy being searched actually blurted, “These aren’t my pants.”
That’s how I get ideas: through study, experience, memory, and, sometimes, absurdity.
Because you never know what’s going to stick, and translate to the page. And you never forget your first bank robbery.