by Karin Slaughter is her twentieth book and the tenth book
with her stellar characters Will Trent and Sara Linton. Readers
beware, the story is dark and violent, but there are parts
that are also a love story. The romance and personal parts
help to balance the violence of the crimes. This spellbinding,
intense mystery is what Karin Slaughter fans have come to
expect from her psychological thrillers.
"This is my twentieth book and my tenth Will and Sara
book. I thought it would be really fun to bring back a cold
case that Jeffrey worked on. As someone who had been with
the same person for over thirty years, it was really hard
for me to imagine how someone goes on when they lose their
partner. I wanted to explore how did Sara move on and does
Will accept she moved on."
The plot has Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent
and his partner, Faith Mitchell, called to investigate an
inmate's claim at the state penitentiary that he has information
he will share if his case is reopened. He claims he is innocent
of the brutal attack and rape of Beckey Caterino eight years
earlier, and that a serial killer is raping and murdering
women. He also insists that Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver,
the now-deceased husband of Will's girlfriend, medical examiner
Sara Linton, framed him.
"We both respect police officers, and the ones I work
with have been amazing. But what happens when good people
make bad mistakes? I wanted to walk through that way of thinking
with Jeffrey, who is a police officer and a really good guy.
Although he does things that are not acceptable, as a reader,
we still root for him because he is a good guy. We want him
to catch the criminal. But what happens if he uses methods
that are wrong? He used methods that are not strictly legal."
The way Slaughter brings the past and the present into the
story is by having the narrative alternate back and forth
in time from the Grant County investigation eight years ago
to the current investigation with the investigations told
through several points-of-view. The past timeline follows
Jeffrey and the Grant County police force as they navigate
their way through some very twisted, gruesome crime scenes.
The second trails Will and the rest of the GBI team as they
re-investigate the very same 2001 crime. Will, Sara, and company
must decide if Jeffrey intentionally framed someone, made
mistakes in the course of the investigation, found the correct
killer, or perhaps there is a copy-cat. In any case, the killer
is methodical, a risk-taker relishes hiding in plain sight
and is continuing to prey on women.
"I wanted to explore how both Will and Sara were abused.
Will, as a child, was physically abused. This is why he is
able to put himself in the mind of someone who does not have
an easy life. He understands isolation and the feeling of
being alone in the world without anyone coming to help. Now,
as an adult, he has a support system of his fellow GBI Amanda,
Faith, Charlie, and of course, Sara. This is one of the reasons
she and Will connected. With Jeffrey, she did not tell him
she was sexually assaulted until way after their divorce,
but was able to tell Will right away. He understands her feelings
that she does not want to consider herself a victim."
Because Jeffrey is so prevalent in this book, readers' curiosity
is aroused, and they might want to go back and read the Grant
County and Will Trent novels to get to know the characters
better. By bringing him back, it definitely had an impact
on Sara and Will's relationship. It was interesting how Jeffrey
and Will are so different in personality.
was a high school football player with that swagger. He is
used to women wanting to be with him and is used to people
being happy with him. He has always been easily forgiven.
I think he is really handsome, smart, with an aura that pulls
people in, a highlight of the party. While Will has a hard
time expressing himself, a man of few words. Will is stoic,
calm, and an observer. He is the guy at the party that is
seen alone petting the dog. Will is like a shadow where people
would not know if he is there."
This heart-stopping thriller is both terrifying and violent.
It is not a story for the queasy at heart. The discussion
surrounding rape victims and the trauma they experience is
compelling. But it is also a story that shows how police are
not an organization but are people who have their own struggles.