Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Published by William Morrow on September 2015 (first published July 2nd 2015)
Genre(s): fiction, crime, mystery, suspense, thriller
Format & Length: e-book, 490
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#1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with a sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance, and unexpected absolution, in which two estranged sisters must come together to find truth about two harrowing tragedies, twenty years apart, that devastate their lives.
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.
Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.
This book, man. Despite its title, Pretty Girls is not what I would call a “nice” book. It is dark and disturbing and gruesome and gory and graphic. But even still, it kept me captivated from start to finish.
Told through both the perspectives of Claire and Lydia, along with several letters mixed in along the way, the plot follows both women as the estranged sisters find each other again to form something of a partnership and uncover the truth of what happened to Claire’s husband, Paul. Sounds complicated, right? But Slaughter pulls together all these strings in a meticulous plot that is super fast paced with lots of twists and turns followed by an all-out sprint of action to the end.
Where this novel really shined for me, though, is the characterization. All the major players felt real and complex. Every step they each took felt true to their character, and their relationships felt realistic as well. So much so, that I actually had to pause on several occasions, thinking about my own relationships and wondering how well you can really know a person.
“People did not change their basic, core personalities. Their values tended to stay the same. Their personal demeanors. Their world outlook and political beliefs.”
Exceptionally well written, Pretty Girls made me feel a full range of emotions: I laughed out loud at the sarcastic wit; recoiled in horror during the more graphic scenes; and even teared up and cried for the characters’ grief. This was the first book I’ve read by Karin Slaughter, but it definitely will not be the last! If you think you can stomach the graphic violent and sexual content, I highly recommend this.