Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
eBook review copy, 416 pages
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter is a very highly
recommended thriller. This nail-biter is tense, gritty, and very
disturbing. Oh, and just when you think you know what is going to
happen, trust me, you don't.
In 1991 nineteen year old Julia Carroll vanished and her disappearance
changed the dynamics of her surviving family members. Sam, her father
and a veterinarian, writes journal entries addressing his missing
daughter and the lengths he takes to search for her. Helen, her mother
and a librarian, divorces Sam, and starts drinking. Her two sisters,
Claire and Lydia, have been estranged for years and still miss their
Claire is married to Atlanta architect and millionaire Paul Scott.
Because of Paul's influence and connections, Claire has gotten off with a
light punishment for an incident on the tennis court. When the couple
meets for a night out after her ankle bracelet is removed, the couple is
robbed and Paul is fatally stabbed. Then, right after the funeral,
Claire returns home to a yard full of police because her home was broken
into. Then, while trying to find the computer files Paul's partner
needs for a meeting, Claire stumbles onto some horrific videos. And then
some meticulous files that Paul has kept.
Lydia Delgado was the bad girl years ago, when Julia was live, and her
life continued to spiral downward until she was going to have her child
and had to clean up her act. Now clean and sober, she is the single
mother to a teenage daughter, Dee, and in a relationship with Rick, her
neighbor, mechanic, and also now clean, sober and law-abiding. Before
she had Dee, Paul, Claire's husband tried to rape her. Claire chose to
believe Paul, which caused the estrangement.
The two meet again when current circumstances have sent Claire to try
and find her remaining sister. She now believes that Lydia may have been
telling the truth. The two still share a bond between them, but don't
totally trust each other. They are also forced to face some very
chilling, horrific facts that may lead them to finding the answer to the
question of what happened to Julia, as well as other missing girls.
Slaughter alternates each chapter between the sister's point of view and
Sam's journal entries. She keeps the pace very steady and the tension
ratchets up with each new piece of information. I thought I had the
plot all figured out just before the half way point in this novel. I
was totally wrong. Suddenly I was left with my mouth hanging open and
my heart racing. Then the novel really took off and the tension was
The writing is excellent and the characters are all well developed.
There are a few details that you will likely have to stretch you
incredulity over, but I thought it was easy to accept the information as
fact and get on with the story. This novel is not for the meek. It is
at times gruesome, horrific, maddening, and disturbing. There is
language. But it is also a very, very good thriller that will keep you
up late at nights reading - with the lights on and the windows and doors
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy
of HarperCollins for review