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by Karin Slaughter (Random House, R215)
One of the fun things about “serial” thrillers is learning the whys and wherefores of the characters.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Will Trent is one of these.
As Slaughter reels off the thrillers, readers learn more and more about the seriously flawed agent: growing up in a children’s home, the destructive marriage to fellow child’s home “inmate”, the awful Angie, and his secretive and manipulative boss Amanda Wagner.
In “Criminal”, many pieces of the puzzle are put into place.
It starts with (naturally) a very gruesome murder. A young hooker and addict has been, um, slaughtered in a horribly bloody way and in an awful part of town – which happens to be near Will’s children’s home.
It doesn’t take long for Will and Amanda to realise who the murderer is – and they are both taken back in time to another slaying 40 years earlier.
Apart from the thrill ride, Slaughter uses the trip down memory lane to describe the obstacles women – in this case police women – faced in the early days of the fight for gender equality.
It’s a fitting read for Women’s Month because, while there is still work to be done, it is remarkable how far women have come in some areas.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that the murders are gruesome, the killers are monsters, and there is a love story intertwined with the gore.
A delicious bit of escapism. – Lindsay Slogrove