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Masterful Karin Slaughter at Her Best
on 6 July 2012
This is a suberbly enthralling crime thriller set in Atlanta, Georgia. Written in two time periods (1974-5 and the present day) in alternate chapter style.The author cleverly and seamlessly unfolds a story that stretches almost 40 years. It starts with a street of prostitutes from varying backgrounds. They all have descended into depravity because of drug addiction and are selling their bodies to obtain enough money to get their supplies via a ruthless, violent pimp. Jane, Lucy, Kitty, Mary all lead squalid, sleazy lives in dangerous situations due their dependancy. Their fate is out of their hands. This is 1975. In this year the sexual discrimination act came in. The oral contraceptive pill became prescribable in 1971. Womens' rights in Atlanta?
Karin Slaughter throws us into the Atlanta ghettos and intoduces Amanda Wagner and Evelyn Mitchell, both policewomen. At this time women were not considered suitable as law enforcers and bore the brunt of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and wisecracks from their largely bigoted male colleagues. To this scenario is added the racial tensions between Afro- Americans and the white police largely segregated in the force on top of 'turning a blind eye' and more overt corruption. Tenaciously, the two policewomen do their best to go about their duties, particularly when women of the street start 'disappearing'.
The present takes the reader into Will Trent territory, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Amanda is his boss. Other colleagues are Faith Mitchell (Trent's partner), Evelyn Mitchell who pitches in with Amanda as often as not in an unconvential fashion. Will seems to have the world on his shoulders despite a love interest from paediatrician Dr Sara Linton. Most Will Trent followers will recognise these names. Events and unexplainable attitudes pervade the rest of the narrative with a secretive, suspenseful atmosphere. Some of the material is not for the faint-hearted. Amanda and Will ultimately understand more of their background and relationship. Amanda is the standout character in this book.
The prose and character development are expertly executed. As events unfold all the jig-saw pieces come together. The end part of the book explains all of the mysteries and more. The twists and revelations come tumbling one after another.
This is the most enjoyable and well-written thriller I have read for many a month. The interest is maintained throughout. A heart-thumper. Highly readable and recommended.