I feel so trite, so blurby, but I just have to say: I think this is her best one yet!
Could be the successor to Stieg Larsson!
Don’t you hate when you’re following a series and the author and the characters sort of wind down after a while? Not here: Slaughter cranks them up, and delivers a darned good story. This book is intelligent, very well-crafted, with great characterizations (including much more of the appealing Will Trent than in previous books) and has a good, sustained level of tension.
Most of the focus of this book is on Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Will, his partner Faith, and their boss Amanda. The interactions between Faith and her mother, and Faith and her children are so well-done and natural-seeming, you have to pinch yourself to ensure you’re not in a room watching actual people. [Then again, it’s kind of dangerous to be around these people so if you were in the same room you would probably want to get behind a very large reinforced steel barrier of some kind…] And the problems evinced by Will with relationships, which stemmed from the awful experiences of his childhood, in my opinion are drawn to perfection.
Dr. Sara Linton has finally recovered from the murder of her husband four and one-half years previously. She is no longer sniveling and moping around, but is once again the incisive, caring, sexy woman we loved so much in the earlier books.
I realize I’m not telling you anything about the plot. But the spoilers start right away. Suffice it to say it is a police procedural that pays strong attention to the crime but even more so to the character portrayals. If you like Karin Slaughter, you’ll love this latest in her Will Trent/Sara Linton series. And the best news of all? It can be read as a stand alone!
Discussion: Why I like Karin Slaughter’s books so much is a mystery to me, so to speak. Generally, the plots involve things I can’t stand: either very bad violence toward women, or drug gangs and drug wars. Her protagonists are for the most part very good looking, something that usually turns me off [too unrealistic]. But then there are all the appealing aspects: while her author newsletter, to which I subscribe, is funny and charming and full of pet news, in her books, Slaughter is tough as nails. She doesn’t waste any prose by taking breaks from the action, but rather just switches the storylines at intervals. Her women are a terrific combination of rock solid and soft, written in a way that doesn’t exaggerate either element. Her heroes may be good looking, but they are flawed in charming ways that are creatively different than most detective books. And some of her terrific sense of humor does manage to leak into her books, in spite of their serious nature. It makes the dialogue and action seem more realistic.
Evaluation: I love Karin Slaughter as an author, and I liked this book even more than her others!
Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House, June 2011
Notes for the record:
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Faith Mitchell, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Age 34, diabetic, unmarried mother of 20 year old Jeremy and four-month-old Emma (by different fathers)
Dr. Sara Linton, Pediatric Attending Doctor in Emergency at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital, 39, widowed, 5’,11”, auburn red hair, has two greyhounds and a cat
Will Trent, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Age 34, 6’3”, grown up in a children’s home and never been adopted, dyslexic, married to Angie, has a Chihuahua named Betty
Amanda Wagner, Deputy Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, probably in the vicinity of 60
Evelyn Mitchell, Faith’s mother, retired Captain of the narcotics squad at the Atlanta Police Department