Book Title and Author: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Publication Date and Publisher: August 8, 2017 by William Morrow
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Pages: 528 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: July 26, 2017
The stunning new novel from the international #1 bestselling author — a searing, spellbinding blend of cold-case thriller and psychological suspense.
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…
Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling
I could go on and on for hours, no days, about what a phenomenal crime fiction/thriller writer I think Karin Slaughter is but I won’t. There really is no need since all her books speak for themselves with their dark, dangerous, realistic, uncompromising, and visceral style of writing, and The Good Daughter is no exception. This is not your average, every day, unoriginal crime novel. Everything Slaughter writes is unique, absolutely audacious, and unequaled. Right from the very beginning, The Good Daughter enthralls its reader in every single sense of the word, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. In fact, I strongly believe this is her best piece of writing yet. In my humble opinion, Slaughter is easily the best crime fiction writer alive today. Certainly, it came as no surprise to me that I devoured her newest novel in a matter of hours and found this to be not only a 5 Star read but my favorite book of 2017 to date.
What I probably love most about Slaughter’s latest book, The Good Daughter, and all her books actually, is that she doesn’t only focus on the crimes that need solving but focuses heavily on her main characters. Oh yes, Slaughter’s books are so character driven that she weaves a tale about them that will draw you in and not let you go until each character is completely and utterly under your skin. You care for them. You mourn for and with them. You shatter in pieces when they do. You love them. And with gut-wrenching, shrewd, and finely-honed detail Slaughter once again creates that same emotional attachment for the reader to Charlotte and Samantha Quinn in this book. Oh, what stunning and flawless characterizations! It has been a very long time that I wept so much, felt such a wide range of emotions, or became so emotionally immersed in the welfare of any book characters, but I did here and days later I’m still reeling from all the emotions I shared not only with Charlie and Sam, but with Ben, Charlie’s husband, Rusty, their daddy and Gemma, their momma. When a novel touches your heart and emotions this tenderly, heartbreakingly, and this intensely, then you know you’ve truly found an extraordinary book with amazing, wondrous characters, especially a book from this genre!
While this might be a novel of two horrific crimes, one that occurred 28 years ago to the Quinn sisters, shattering their family in millions of pieces, and another that occurs in the present that Charlie witnesses, causing the past and all her childhood memories to flood back, this more than anything is a story about family. It is about two sisters struggling to overcome the violence of their past, both together and separately, a family fighting to surmount the evil and darkness that permeated their past—and filled it with secrets and lies, and a family learning to accept, forgive, and love another again. Yet, even though the novel is heavily invested in the characterizations of the Quinn’s, Slaughter never once lets you forget that this a crime fiction thriller, and it is at times brutal, very violent, graphic, and horrific. And with that said, I want to add a Trigger Warning for graphic violence, abuse, and rape for the book in case these are triggers for you. However, these sections can be quickly sped over if they are a problem without there being any loss of the book’s overall meaning.
But, The Good Daughter is no different than any Slaughter books; she always has and does use violent and graphic imagery to excellent effect in her books, and I’m a reader that admittedly shies away from certain types of violence in crime and thriller novels. But never when Slaughter writes it because she always writes it with a specific point in mind and uses it brilliantly. The violence is not used as a filler like it is in many, many novels but Slaughter uses it to further her characterizations and so the reader can get a better understanding of who her characters are and what makes them think, react, act, love, hate, kill, die. Slaughter knows exactly what she is doing with the vicious, horrendous violence she layers throughout the story since that is how the reader learns exacting details about Sam, Charlie, Rusty, and the other perpetrator(s) of the crimes committed in both the present day of the novel and in their pasts.
And this is truly a story of layers—layers of crimes piled upon crimes, family dynamics, family scars, sisterly wars, sisterly love, spousal drama, love, hate, rage, and so much more. Reading each page was like a slow reveal of each layer she wanted you to know about next—and only the plot information she wanted you to know when she wanted you to know it. It was mesmerizing like a slow, sexy strip tease when it needed to be and then like flying 100 miles an hour down the highway in the dead of night at others. The plot twists were classic Slaughter, and they were as always adrenaline-charged and unforeseen. I know I didn’t tell many details about the plot, and I won’t because I believe doing so will ruin the full enthralling experience of this book. Trust me on this one. This is the kind of book where the reader needs to go into the book almost blind so the plot and those carefully placed layers can fully reveal themselves in a shocking, stunning, and no-holds barred way.
Riveting, raw, graphic, edgy, unexpected, tender, heartbreaking, real. I could list more adjectives to describe this novel, but I would rather you read it for yourself and discover why Slaughter is without question my favorite crime fiction author (maybe my favorite author!) and the best writers in her genre, hands down.
**Thank you, Edelweiss, William Morrow, and Karin Slaughter for an ARC of The Good Daughter to read in exchange for my honest and fair review. **