Review: Blindsighted – Karin Slaughter

karin slaughter blindsighted cover

Grant County #1

SYNOPSIS: A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear. Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation — a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county’s sole female detective, Lena Adams — the first victim’s sister — wants to serve her own justice. But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath .. or mean her death. – via Goodreads

I have been reading Karin Slaughter’s work for years. My love affair with her books and her characters started with this book, something I randomly stumbled upon years ago, totally by accident, and then I was hooked. Just like that, it was all over for me. Blindsighted is one of the best debut novels I have ever read from an author.

Slaughter wastes no time setting up her characters, and before you know it, you are invested in them, their lives, their everything. She has an earnest way of writing, and it makes the characters real, bringing them to life from the pages, and that is not an easy thing to do. The novel also doesn’t suffer from stiff writing, like some debuts do. The story flows, and Slaughter also does not hold back the punches, and is not scared of getting her hands dirty. She does not shy away from heinous details, and they are also not just thrown in to shock. They are there to serve a purpose .

The book is fast paced, bold, brutal, and is written in a way that is flows effortlessly. It makes for an intense, albeit quick, read. Slaughter really is one hell of a storyteller. The tales she weaves and the characters are strong and well presented. The story had the perfect balance that simulates real life intersecting a terrible tragedy. For a debut novel, this truly blew my mind. I also appreciate that the situations were not too far out there like usual for some novels, so strong points for her there as it gives it a feel of the events being viable. Also, she deals with real issues, from romance, relationships, friendships, to issues still riddling the South.

Blindsighted is a fantastic debut novel, and I have been hooked from this very first book. Dark, brutal, violent, with characters that are so real that you get invested in, I cannot recommend Slaughter’s work enough. The Grant County series is a fantastic series, and would definitely say that this is worth the read if you are into gritty, nasty crime thrillers that have darkness and guts.

Review: The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever… – via Goodreads

I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about receiving a book from NetGalley for review, ever! Karin Slaughter, as you probably know, is my favourite author. Hands down. The woman is phenomenal and her work is totally up my alley – it is so dark and brutal and unforgiving, and you get so hooked on her characters, they just draw you in. When I was granted access to this, I pretty much did my nut. But enough about that. How did the book hold up for my excitement?

W.O.W. This was one hell of an amazing read! Really. I was drawn in from the first few opening pages, and got hooked on these characters within moments. Slaughter delivers, once again, a solid story, told with such finesse. You get drawn in. The characters become genuine, real people to you, the women are strong (I will always appreciate this), and you never feel like you are reading a book. It is like someone is telling you this story.

I was a big fan of the characters in the book. Sam, Charlie, Rusty, Lenore and Ben all brought a distinctly unique voice to the book, and I appreciate that. You always knew who was who and what was going on. You could identify with each and every one of them. Rusty is described in such a way that even though the town hates him on principle, you cannot help but like the man. He is witty and entertaining and loves his kids. Lenore is strong and stands her ground. Charlie, while totally damaged, is difficult to hate, though originally you think you are going to. Sam, brusque and stubborn as she is, has such a brilliant mind. Ben is absolutely adorable, and a strong, supportive man. I really liked it.

The story that Slaughter tackles here is a heavy one, something I know Americans are particularly touchy about – school shootings. They are vile things, and a horrible, tragic occurrence. Slaughter delivers the goods here again in terms of story – we have a truly savage, brutal back story for the Quinn family, and to see how they all come together again 28 years down the line over a school slaying is quite something. Slaughter gets right up to her elbows in the narrative. The writing flows smoothly and is genuine.

I barrelled through this book. I did not want to put it down. I was engrossed for every single second, and thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story. I was hooked, plain and simple. Definitely one of Slaughter’s strongest novels, and very interesting to see a story told from the perspective of the sisters. Absolutely a solid read and well worth it, I highly recommend this standalone novel from such an accomplished writer.

Review: The Kept Woman – Karin Slaughter

the kept woman cover

Will Trent #8

SYNOPSIS: A body is discovered in an empty Atlanta warehouse. It’s the body of an ex-cop, and from the moment Special Agent Will Trent walks in he knows this could be the most devastating case of his career. Bloody footprints leading away from the scene reveal that another victim – a woman – has left the scene and vanished into thin air. And, worst of all, the warehouse belongs to the city’s biggest, most politically-connected, most high-profile athlete – a local hero protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers. A local hero Will has spent the last six months investigating on a brutal rape charge.

But for Will – and also for Dr Sara Linton, the GBI’s newest medical examiner – the case is about to get even worse. Because an unexpected discovery at the scene reveals a personal link to Will’s troubled past. The consequences will wreak havoc on his life and the lives of those he loves, those he works with, and those he pursues.

But Sara’s scene-of-the-crime diagnosis is that they only have a few hours to find the missing woman before she bleeds out . . . – via Goodreads

Ah man, it was like Christmas when I saw that there was finally another Will Trent novel! The man is just phenomenal, and I am always itching to read about him. This book? No exception! I have to say, I really wish the characters in this series (and I am not talking about that bitch Angie) would stop telling Will that Sara is too good for him. I mean come on! They are both human, and he is not a person who is “not good enough” for anyone, or not allowed to have someone to love him. Pfffffff.

I am also not pleased with how Sara treats Will – really. The man has had it rough in life, and he loves the heck out of her and will do anything for her, and she is trying to make him jump Jeffrey hoops, and carry on as though he has never had an issue in life, and it is not fair. Anyway. Coming back on Will and his crazy past, that also brought that nasty piece of work, Angie, back. I was not pleased when I saw how large a part of the book she got, especially when the story flipped to a telling from her side. I swear, I like her about as much as I like Lena Adams. In fact, I like her less, and that is not an easy jump to make. While Angie took up way too large a part of the book (for me), I was glad to see that she had finally pushed Will far enough, and that he finally saw her as others see her – a horrible person, terrible, cruel, and nasty. Dangerous.

I really do enjoy any books that feature Amanda – call her what you will, I think that woman is sassy, badass, and a touch crazy, but I thoroughly enjoy her. It was really nice to see a return of characters we all know and love. The pacing and story for this are both good, and they keep you hooked and engaged the whole way though, and the novel barrels along. I was pleased to read a little about Jeffrey Tolliver again – I know it was nothing in depth, but that he finally breached into Sara and Will’s relationship was a relief. He is an issue that has always been skirted. I wish Sara would stop being a bitch and just come out and tell Will how she really feels about him, and about how special he is. Nobody has ever done that for him, so why can’t she?

Anyway, The Kept Woman was another solid entry to the Will Trent series, and definitely worth checking out.

Review: Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter

karin slaughter pretty girls cover

SYNOPSIS: Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it. – via Goodreads

Gosh, I have had this book for a while and yet I never got to it (shame on me), which is madness, you all know that I am a major Karin Slaughter junkie. Anyway, finally it was time. I really like the fact that Slaughter has a bunch of standalone novels, and they are really good, but I am having serious Will Trent withdrawals, and totally need another look see and a story there. NOTE: It would appear that her latest novel is a Trent one, yay!

Pretty Girls is structured in a strange way, but that is not a bad thing. There are sections where a father writes to his daughter, by way of journal, then other parts that tell a certain part of the story from one person’s perspective, and then later by another. There was a plotsie that I thought about round about the same time Paul died, and I brushed it aside because come on, this is Slaughter, she is not a rookie writer. I almost kicked myself shortly thereafter because the cliché and predicted plotsie came to pass. You can ask Natasha, I was supremely miffed by the turn of events, and was not best pleased. I reminded myself that this was Karin Slaughter we were talking about, this woman has got this. My faith paid off, and she corrected what I thought was a blunder, and made it work for her.

Pretty Girls is not filled with a lot of likable characters. In fact, you would be hard pressed to particularly enjoy either of the leads, but they grow on you. I did like the deceased father, Sam, though it is evident that pain and suffering and obsession ripped his family apart. Rick was awfully nice, too. The novel barrels along, and at just over 400 pages, one would assume that it feels long. Well, that is totally not the case, and the pages rush by, expounding a story that tells you about what loss can do to a family, and the variety of coping mechanisms that people turn to, for better or worse. While there are some brutal moments laced throughout the novel (and they do pop up from time to time), they are not nearly as harsh as her usual works, which surprised me a little.

While this was not my favourite novel of hers, I had a really good time and would obviously recommend this to folks. Slaughter is good. I mean, really, really good.

Completed Book Challenge 2014

completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon

 


 

That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Review: Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

SYNOPSIS: Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart. – via Goodreads

I absolutely couldn’t wait for this when I saw Karin Slaughter was bringing her latest offering to the table. I am sure by now you all know that I am a massive fan of hers, I absolutely love her work. I think she is extremely talented, and I really wish that more people would read her work. This was one of her standalone novels, not part of any series. On one hand, breaking away from all the characters we get so involved with shows that she can write about more than one group of people, Slaughter certainly has diversity, and this tells another story. I love the books she writes where she writes about Atlanta in the seventies, heavy to think that it was not long ago that women were still clawing their way into certain careers. A whole new and fresh set of characters came forth, and I really liked both Maggie and Kate, though they are truly polar opposites of one another. I respected Kate a lot. Initially she was someone without a spine, someone who pitied herself, but later she grew, she changed, looked at life without her cosy shelter she had always had. Her character development was really great to follow. Maggie, on the other hand, was shrouded in a lot of secrecy, which very slowly but surely fell away, also revealing a more complex person. It grated on me to read about how men perceived women on the police force, etc. I don’t know, I believe we should be left to do whatever we so choose. This book was a wonderful introduction of the characters, and it was rich and descriptive. It was another brilliant offering from Slaughter, and is a great book to look into if you are interested in reading one of her novels that do not tie into another series of books.

Review: Snatched – Karin Slaughter

snatched karin slaughter cover

Will Trent / Atlanta #3

Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent Will Trent is in the dog box with his boss, Amanda Wagner. He is on duty in the airport toilets to arrest men who are looking for a little illegal fun. Instead, while on the job, a man comes in with a young girl who does not seem to want to be anywhere near him. Will’s instincts kick into overdrive, and he is immediately suspicious. However, with no cause, there is really nothing that he can do. Following the man out of the airport bathroom, he follows him, and the girl remains so fragile looking and afraid.

Upon the decision to take action, Will loses the man and the little girl, and comes to when he sees the man in a whole new outfit, though without the child. Panic stricken, Will calls in all sorts of favours, and almost instantaneously Amanda Wagner and his partner, Faith Mitchell, rush to his aid. Time is running out and there is no news on the little girl, and their suspect refuses to say anything. What will they do to find the little girl? The knowledge that the child has been trafficked is there, yet there is no proof. Their suspect is incredibly egotistical, cocky and arrogant, sure that he cannot be caught, and sure that he will not talk.

The team that has been assembled in the airport and with all the different jurisdictions that come into play are all working together tirelessly to find a small child who seems to have been spirited away. Will they recover the girl? Will they discover the identity of their client and be able to crack him?

It was by no stretch a weak story, and it was not too long or too short for a short story. It conveys what it needs to, and it is concise. No long, on-going ramblings and all that, though there is also no real character growth or revelation, but it is a nice “filler” to read, so to speak. Will remains a wonderful character, Amanda Wagner ever the short and snappy woman in power. Faith’s role is very minimal in here, though I expected a slight bit more. Not a bad way to tie a short story in to a whole array of novels, though Karin Slaughter is most definitely more mind-blowing in a more lengthy novel where she gets to take you through the glory that is the world she built and the wealth of characters she has, and the emotions that she attaches to them.

A few excellent authors

Authors… you get excellent ones, and you get disappointing ones, and you get mediocre ones. Here are some authors that I enjoyed reading, and will not turn down the opportunity to read.

Karin Slaughter… wow. That is all I can say. And so few people here where I am actually knows who she is, so I don’t really have anyone to discuss the books with. I accidentally found Blindsighted in the back of a closet, gearing up to be chucked out. The book was old and tatty, but its sequel, Kisscut, was also there, and I had nothing else to read. It was crime thriller fiction something or other, that is all I recall thinking when I picked it up and read that she was compared to Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell, both who write decently, although not too consistently, for my taste.

So I bagged them, saving them from certainly being thrown out with the dusty stacks of newspapers piled everywhere. The books could not go, they are not in the same category as the shabby newspapers were. I had no other books to occupy me, and I started with Karin Slaughter’s debut novel. I have one word for her writing style: respect. By the end of the Grant County series I had forgotten they were fictitious characters, and lived on a steady diet of chocolate when I had finished with Skin Privilege.

I have been inexorably drawn to her work since Blindsighted, experienced a spectrum f emotions throughout Kisscut, and that was only the beginning for me. After that there was the Atlanta series, and the two merged together for the Georgia series. I was skeptical about how she would bring two totally different story lines together, yet she does so effortlessly. She is one of my top favourite writers, hands down.

Then there is Stephen King. I will not hear a bad word about him! I know that there are so many that dislike his movies (even though it is apparently forgotten that the Green Mile and the Shawshank Redemption are both King creations), and I know that he writes with excruciating detail, and that some might find this to be a bit of a cliché, but Stephen King is a master. I love him!

I cannot remember precisely what my first taste was, but I think it was either Dreamcatcher or Carrie. Either way, I was in love with how this man brought horror and life to the pages of his book. I have read so many of his works and they are rich in detail, description, action, thoughts, everything. You can follow what is happening, the feelings and everything is brought into stark light within the covers of his stories. When you pick up a book by Stephen King, even if the cover was missing, you would know it to be his work!

I started reading his books when I was about eleven years old. I had already whipped through everything in the children’s section and dominated the young adult’s section. The library was nice enough to allow me a card and permission into the adult section. I was stunned. There were gigantic tomes of books with their faraway stories waiting to unfold. I had to know more, and there were horrors, bona fide, true horror books, not the childish ones I had become accustomed to. Naturally, the King shelves dominated the horror section, the closest secondary rival by for space being Dean Koontz. I have started building on my Stephen King collection, but I have a suspicion that it will take a long time to get where I want it to, seeing as it is such a vast compilation.

I spoke of Stieg Larsson in a previous blog that I wrote, and explained my deep seated infatuation with the man and his genius. I maintain that everyone should read his Millennium Trilogy. The story unfurls effortlessly, it keeps you hooked, and nothing can waver your anticipation. You experience the journey as though a part of it. The writing style is smooth and neat, and very well structured. I have been looking for a nice box set, and have as of yet not found anything in my region, which is rather daunting, as I believe these books belong on anyone’s shelf, and I would love to have it as a collected works.

J.K. Rowling is another classic to this list. I wrote a blog on Harry Potter, here, too. But about the author, and how I stumbled upon her books? Wow. Really. I think it one of the best things that I had ever had the fortune of coming across (not that it would have been easy to miss a few years later when it got super popular). I was reading them pretty much since release. My aunt loaned me The Philosopher’s Stone when she heard that I couldn’t get to the library until the weekend. I read the book 4 times before I returned it to her. I was in love. There was this beautiful world, with great people, with crazy adventures, and real lessons. It was amazing.

Obviously, as a child, you read it and you know it is fiction. That did not prevent me from waiting for my very own letter from Hogwarts for years. Alas, it never came, and I was sorely disappointed. I think the Potter series was also great because it gave children something to believe in, to hope for. He had it tough, and he survived it. Things are not always what they seem, and anything can be overcome, and evil does not triumph against those who will fight for the greater good.

I truly enjoy Anne Rice. I loved her Vampire Chronicles, and painstakingly and extremely expensively built that entire collection up from scratch. I love her writing style, but her work is very deep, dark and thought evoking, not light reading to just pass time. The way the characters are introduced and their development is amazing, but I really wish she would have focused a bit more on Armand. He was my favourite character of anyone she had ever written about. He was the strangest one, the most demented, dark and tortured soul ever.

I obviously watched the movies, (Interview With A Vampire and Queen Of The Damned)  but they really are nothing compared to the books. Sad, because if done right the movies could bear so much potential. The first book that I ever read from Anne Rice was The Vampire Armand. I was totally drawn in and besotted with his character. He was perfect… perfectly broken, that is. She really is the Queen of dark, romantic and gothic writing. One thing that she nailed perfectly is realism for vampires, not this twinkly rubbish that we have been submitted to recently. I hope to start on the Lives of the Mayfair Witches soon, as they were rather intriguing to me when they come up in the later novels in the Vampire Chronicles.

This calls for the Distance Book Club again! I would love any author/book suggestions, so throw them along!

Who are some of your favourite authors, and what drew you to them?