Your chance to win new thriller Unforgiven

Picture: HarperCollins

Picture: HarperCollins

Lexi Winter was once a victim - but now she's a vigilante - in Sarah Barrie's latest thriller Unforgiven.

The new book comes out this month, and to celebrate, Australian Community Media has five copies to give away thanks to our friends at HarperCollins.

Lexi is a tough and street-smart, and has been independent since childhood, when she fell victim to a paedophile known as the Spider.

As an adult she relies on drinking and poor choices to get through the day - but she's also an 'ace hacker', tracking and trapping paedophiles to turn them into the police.

But that dangerous lifestyle sees her become witness to a killing.

Meanwhile, detective Rachel Langley fears she put the wrong man behind bars for Spider's crimes - or else she's dealing with a copycat.

Barrie said she worked hard to make sure she did her characters - and their trauma - justice.

"Writing Unforgiven involved months of heartbreaking research," she said.

"I have to admit I lost some of my faith in humanity after realising how common and widespread the problem is.

"But the story doesn't dwell there - Unforgiven is the ultimately positive, uplifting story of Lexi Winter; a strong, courageous survivor turned vigilante by the events of her past to bring down a monster."

She said Lexi was a remarkable, and realistic, character.

"In Lexi I've attempted to create the sort of resilient, compassionate, independent character we'd all like to think we could be after surviving what she's survived - with a few major flaws thrown in," Barrie said.

"She's not unscathed by her past. No one could be.

"Her experiences have moulded her into a tough, street-smart individual who's broken plenty of laws in order to survive.

"Her actions as she works out who she really is are questionable at times, but her thoughts, reasoning and motives are based firmly in the greater good."

The author said she was drawn to darker subject matter as that was the type of content she loved reading.

"I love to pick up a book that has you feeling that sense of dread almost from the get-go, something packed with suspense that has you madly piecing together clues in an attempt to solve the crime and figure it all out," she said.

"A story that won't let you put it down until you have the answers. I like the challenge of creating the sort of suspense and tension in my own stories that keeps readers turning pages."

Barrie said she set out to write a story that was "entertaining, inspiring and hopeful".

"Lexi is the personification of every victim who fights every day to turn their lives around," she said.

"She's flawed, at times humorous, has challenges to overcome and she's as 'real' as I can make her.

"And it's going to take a while but she's going to succeed.

"Unforgiven is a story for those who want to see a tough-shelled, soft-centred heroine take on the bad guys and win - her way."

Australian Community Media has five copies of Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie to give away.

For your chance to win a copy, simply fill out the form below and tell us in 25 words or fewer which fictional detective you'd want solving a case for you and why.

Entries close midnight Tuesday, December 21.

Please read the terms and conditions.