The Unknown Beloved by Amy Harmon (review)

Author Amy Harmon has been on my reading wishlist for quite some time and the premise of her latest novel, The Unknown Beloved, had me intrigued with the title and hooked by the premise. Starting in 1923, then picking up 15 years later during the Great Depression, this story of an undercover operative and the woman he had met while a police officer when her parents had been murdered is firmly rooted in the history of Chicago, Eliot Ness, and the hunt for a depraved killer.

This story that does not flinch from the brutality of the “torso killer” is very much the story of the growing relationship between 40 year old Michael Malone and 25 year old Daniela Flanagan. He’s damaged and closed off, intent on completing his assignment and catching the elusive killer. Telling himself that the young and beautiful Dani is off-limits, her persistence and her talent at seeing too much set them on a collision course with each other and the killer.

I was unsure, going in, about Michael as a main character, their history and the age difference. As the story unfolded, however, all of that fell away and I was simply fascinated by the characters, the relationships, and the pursuit of an elusive killer by honorable people in a city rife with corruption.

While The Unknown Beloved has all the ear-marks of a romance – though at times I questioned if it was one – it will also appeal to those who enjoy fiction based on historical true crime with real historical figures, a Depression Era setting, or a mystery/thriller with characters to root for. 

Highly recommended with a note that this is general market with fade-to-black intimacy and suicidal thoughts.

This review refers to a Kindle Unlimited ebook, though I was fortunate enough to be approved for a NetGalley copy by the publisher. A positive review was not require and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

From the bestselling author of Where the Lost Wander and What the Wind Knows comes the evocative story of two people whose paths collide against the backdrop of mystery, murder, and the Great Depression.

Chicago, 1923: Ten-year-old Dani Flanagan returns home to find police swarming the house, her parents dead. Michael Malone, the young patrolman assigned to the case, discovers there’s more to the situation—and to Dani Flanagan herself—than the authorities care to explore. Malone is told to shut his mouth, and Dani is sent away to live with her spinster aunts in Cleveland.

Fifteen years later, Michael Malone is summoned to Cleveland to investigate a series of murders that have everyone stumped, including his friend and famed Prohibition agent Eliot Ness, now Cleveland’s director of safety. There, in a city caught in the grip of a serial killer, Dani and Malone cross paths once again.

Malone is drawn to Dani and her affinity for the dead and compassion for the destitute. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that she could help him solve his case. As terror descends on the city and Malone and Dani confront the dark secrets that draw them together, it’s a race to find the killer or risk becoming his next victims.

A Note From the Publisher

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author. Her books have been published in more than two dozen languages around the globe. Amy has written eighteen novels, including the USA Today bestseller Making Faces. Her historical novel From Sand and Ash was the Whitney Award–winning Novel of the Year in 2016. Her novel What the Wind Knows topped the Amazon charts for thirteen weeks and was on the top 100 bestsellers chart for six months. Her novel A Different Blue is a New York Times bestseller, and her USA Today bestselling fantasy The Bird and the Sword was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts, and more, join Amy at