Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Criminal - Karin Slaughter

Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda’s motivation until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before—when Will’s father was imprisoned for murder—this was his home. . . . Flash back nearly forty years. In the summer Will Trent was born, Amanda Wagner is going to college, making Sunday dinners for her father, taking her first steps in the boys’ club that is the Atlanta Police Department. One of her first cases is to investigate a brutal crime in one of the city’s worst neighborhoods. Amanda and her partner, Evelyn, are the only ones who seem to care if an arrest is ever made. Now the case that launched Amanda’s career has suddenly come back to life, intertwined with the long-held mystery of Will’s birth and parentage. And these two dauntless investigators will each need to face down demons from the past if they are to prevent an even greater terror from being unleashed.

It's not often that I feel like starting a review when I'm still halfway through the book but I can't help being in awe of Karin Slaughter's imagination. I spend half her books thinking where she got the inspiration for her stories and dreading that they might be an inspiration to someone. Where other authors write about cold motives for murder (financial gain, dislike, revenge, etc) Slaughter writes about pure evil and random victims. She makes one feel that everyone can be a victim and I do find that very unsettling. The fact that we are told that this book is about Will Trent's past, and since we know from book 1 that he was raised in an orphanage, makes it all the more poignant and difficult to read. Or maybe it's just that I am a big cry baby since I became a mother. But the fact is that I found this a very difficult read.

I really admire the amount of research that Slaughter must have done to give us such a complete view of the police force in Atlanta about 40 years ago and I really enjoyed knowing about that. It gave us great insight into the character of Amanda Wagner and how what she went through made her angry and strong. I did like her developing friendship with Evelyn Mitchell, their relationship had been approached in another book and I thought it well done of Slaughter to show its beginnings.

The current case is about a missing young woman. Amanda is doing her best to track the killer while keeping Will off the case but when they meet at the home that was once the orphanage where Will lived she gives him a startling piece of news. Besides dealing with the current case, from which he can't stay away, Will has to deal with his traumatic past and with his feelings for Sara Linton. 

I don't want to go into spoiler territory, but the past case about kidnapped and murdered prostitutes was particularly gruesome. Still, I couldn't stop reading as I wanted to know about Will so much. I have to say that after all the bit and pieces she has been giving us through the years I was surprised and somewhat pleased by what we find here. If I have a complaint is that we don't get to see enough of Will and Sara together. Hopefully the events of this book will have made him stronger and more able to trust others. That hope is why I am looking forward to the next book!

Grade: 4.5/5

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