Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Julia Carroll was a shining star. She was beautiful, intelligent, loving, the kind of person her peers aspired to be. One fateful evening in March of 1991 changed all of that. Julia was seen leaving a bar that night and was never heard from again. Just like that, the nineteen-year-old was gone, leaving behind an unfinished life, numerous questions, and a family that would be forever changed by her disappearance.
Her father Sam never gave up hope. The authorities believed that Julia left on her own accord. Sam new that his daughter would never do that. She loved her family too much to leave without notice. He was convinced that something more sinister occurred. Consumed by the need for answers, Sam continued to investigate any leads into his daughter's disappearance. As his marriage crumbled and his remaining two daughters took separate paths in their own lives, Sam never lost hope that he would be reunited with his eldest child.
Twenty years later, Lydia is barely making it through her daily life. After her sister vanished, Lydia fell into a world of addiction, criminal activity, and deceit that cost her any relationship with her family. She finally overcame these vices to ensure a positive life for her daughter Dee. With Dee attending a private high school and as a single mother, Lydia works hard to provide for her small family. The events of the past come back haunt her when she learns of the death of a man who played a huge part in her estrangement from her family.
Claire Scott, the youngest of the three Carroll daughters, is watching as her life unravels before her eyes. A casual stroll through an alley with her husband Paul ended with the two being mugged by a criminal and Paul being stabbed to death. Now Claire is struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Paul was the financial provider, and he always saw that his wife was taken care of. When Paul's business partner requests computer files that Paul was working on at the time of his death, Claire is happy to oblige. But what she discovers on her husband's computer is shocking. Now Claire is forced to delve deeper into her husband's web of lies and uncover secrets that have massive ramifications. With these revelations, the entire Carroll family must reexamine the grim realities of Julia's disappearance.
Karin Slaughter is recognized for her fast paced and intelligent crime novels. With Pretty Girls, she intimately explores a family's grief while delivering an engaging and deeply disturbing mystery. Each of the main characters have dealt with the loss of Julia in their own ways, and Slaughter does a commendable job of showing the different ways that they process this reality. These character driven moments help the reader to create an emotional connection with the larger narrative.
All too often, missing persons cases go unnoticed. With 24 hour news cycles constantly focusing on the events that draw ratings, it is easy for these cases to fall out of focus. With so many occurring it is no wonder that the public has become desensitized to them. By describing the plight of one family, Slaughter highlights the range of emotions that families experience with each of the cases that happen. Without these strong displays of humanity, the graphic descriptions of sadistic rape and torture, similar to those in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, would be unbearable. Slaughter expertly maneuvers through this difficult story with a clear prose that makes for an easy read. There are plenty of twists and turns that will genuinely shock you, including a mid-novel revelation that sends that remainder of the story into high gear. Slaughter wrote a short prelude to this story that gave a bit of background into Julia's life, but I do not think it is imperative that you read it before this novel. Overall, Pretty Girls is a fantastic standalone thriller that excites through strong plot, emotion, and riveting suspense.
For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.
This entry was posted on Sunday, October 4, 2015 and is filed under Blonde Hair Blue Eyes,Book Review,Karin Slaughter,Kidnapping,Mystery,Pretty Girls,Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.