Holy cow. This is a thriller in the true sense of the word; I was pacing the floor by page 40.
The story begins with the kidnapping of a woman, Dr. Michelle Spivey, while she was out shopping. A month later Michelle is finally spotted by Dr. Sara Linton, after Sara is kidnapped by the same group. Sara and her boyfriend, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agent Will Trent, were heading toward the sound of a huge explosion near the Emory Campus when they were blocked by a multi-vehicle accident in the road. After the men in one of the vehicles learned Sara was a doctor, they beat Will severely and abducted Sara. One of them said to Will before they took her, “We need a doctor. No offense, brother. Wrong place, right time.” Michelle was in the van with the men.
Will was concussed and in a lot of pain, but also determined to find Sara and get her back.
Strap in, because the roller coaster ride Slaughter takes you on is about to get even scarier.
In alternate chapters, we follow the efforts of Will and the GBI to find out where Sara is and who took her, juxtaposed with what is happening to Sara. The danger faced by both Will and Sara enables them to achieve a more solid understanding not only about how they feel about each other, but how they might face the death that is almost surely awaiting each of them.
Discussion: What makes this book even horrifying than a “thriller” might ordinarily be is that the story is taken right out of some of the more frightening developments in the country right now. The perpetrators are part of a group of white supremacists who are fearful about their place in life, easily manipulated, and have no moral compass. They are “basically fuck-ups and losers” looking for validation by being a part of a bigger movement that seems to value them. They have no interest in facts that contradict the worldview they have adopted. Wanting to feel powerful and successful, they don’t care who they hurt or what they destroy to achieve that.
But if you think the white supremacy movement is the worst (and unfortunately relevant) horror you will encounter in this story, you would be wrong.
As is usual with books by this author, the issues are real and well-researched but so well-integrated into the story you come to understand them as byproducts of the plot progression rather than as heavy-handed efforts to make a point.
Evaluation: Absolutely terrifying, and a great read!
Published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2019