THE UNKNOWN MAN – Book review

Hey everyone! As you know, I recently started getting involved with LovesBooksTours and I volunteered last minute to do a little review/AD for this new book.

Please see below this excerpt the team kindly gave me to help spread the word on this new novel by Natalie Hanson;


Zalla found herself in a familiar place: stuck between two hells. The current version of damnation meant a contentious conversation with her boss. The next would involve starting a relationship with a stranger on the worst day of their lives.

She stole a glance towards the conference room. Inside, an athletic Asian man in a green sweater, Mr. Chen, paced anxiously. He turned and made eye contact with her. Dear Jesus, why did the office need to have all glass walls?Part of the FBI’s attempt at translating ‘transparency’ into action. What it really meant was employees didn’t even have the privacy afforded by a typical cubicle. No plucking of eyebrows, shopping online or talking to your doctor about that annoying rash.

Even though it was just an intake interview with Mr. Chen, she needed to get to it. Now.

Unfortunately, her boss, Jessica Diaz, didn’t seem to be aware of Mr. Chen or anyone else in the universe as she walked to the window and looked out over the Seattle skyline. 

“How long has Mr. Chen been here?” Zalla asked.

“I don’t know,” Jessica said. “But I need to talk to you before you start.” Her brown hair flowed over her shoulders. Everything about her was coordinated and trendy. Aesthetics were the details Jessica dealt in.

Zalla caught a glimpse of herself in the reflection of the office door. It didn’t take a detective to know which one of these women was the manager and which one was the field hand. Her own hair was pulled loosely into a ponytail, no earrings. She was wearing black pants and an oversized sweater. At least her shoes were fashionable, which was a word she would never normally associate with her own wardrobe. But her left pinky toe felt like it was in a vice. When she’d been little, her mother would switch out a larger shoe size for her left foot when they were shopping. Those were the days before electronic sensors that had to be manually removed by the clerk. Now, Zalla had to buy up or down. Size nine would be too small for her left foot. Size ten would leave her right foot swimming in extra space. One foot always hurt. One of the many consequences of having full body asymmetry.

Use the pain to get through this.

“You read the report?” Jessica asked.

“If you could call the three sentences in his file a report, then yes. But the incident location was listed as Almeda. Why are we doing the intake?”

A text message an hour ago had instructed her to read the report and get to the office. The file had only included Mr. Chen’s age, address and family statistics. Priscilla, his wife, was thirty-six. They had two daughters, twins, Megan and Tai, age eight. The last line was the heart of the matter. ‘Children abducted Sunday, December 1st, approx. 7 p.m.’ 

“He’s one of our Criminal Informants. We should take the first report,” Jessica said.

“OK. And then who do I pass the details off to?”

“We’re not passing it along. We’re working it as back-up.”


“Mr. Chen has been helping us with the Hi Sang Tong gang. He was in the process of moving his family from Seattle to Almeda. But he’s still under our care.”

Typically, a low-level intern would have managed this task. Or the CI handler. Zalla’s mind raced with reasons why she had really been called in.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in reading this book. The characters were so easy to relate to and I love a good mixture-POV story. The way Natalie manages to tell the story from different angles is great. I didn’t know where I was expecting the story to go when I first started reading it. But it definitely took me by surprise!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s in the mood for a good little mystery!

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