Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Last Widow

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter
HarperCollins: 8/20/19
eBook review copy; 464 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062858085
Will Trent Series #9

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter is an excellent, very highly recommended thriller/procedural and ninth book in the Will Trent series. This is one of the best books of the year!

A scientist from the  Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Michelle Spivey, is kidnapped from outside a shopping center with no clues as to why. A month later Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Dr. Sara Linton, a medical examiner, are nearby when two explosions occur at Emory University in Atlanta where two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC are located. Will and Sara go rushing over to help when they come across a three car accident, but something seems clearly off about this accident. The two are intelligent keen observers and start to notice all clues pointing to something being wrong. When they see Michelle with the men, several who appear to be shot, they are getting ready to take action when all heck breaks loose. The end result is Will is wounded and Sara is kidnapped.

The FBI figures out that the group calls themselves the Invisible Patriot Army (IPA for short, which makes me chuckle and I can't help but think the acronym is purposeful). Alternate chapters follow Will, Sara, and Will's colleague Faith (and boss Amanda) as they try to figure out where the group's home base is and what they are planning. Obviously the stakes are high if you need a doctor/scientist with the CDC and another doctor. The group has already set off two bombs at Emory. What is their final target and why?
The IPA is a domestic terrorist anti-government cult where beliefs include white supremacy, a skewed religion, misogyny, sexual abuse, biological warfare, pedophilia, and paramilitary training. It is a gritty novel and not for the faint of heart. Contrary to some reviews, it is not an "alt-right" or "alt-left" or "alt-religion" group. It's a cult. It's anti-political and uses religion only for control. It's about power and control of everyone who is not a part of the group. The label "patriot" is simply a way to justify their terrorist activities. (This is not the first time a terrorist group from various backgrounds and countries has done this and, alas, it won't be the last.)
The Last Widow is un-put-down-able, intelligent, tension-filled, action-packed, fast-paced, and well-researched, with twists and turns and surprising revelations at every corner. The writing is excellent- both well-executed with a well-paced plot that is intricate and engaging. Slaughter will grab and hold your attention to the bitter end. This is truly a novel that you will find it hard, if not impossible to stop reading once you've started. It will most certainly be a contender for one of the top novels of the year.

Although this is the ninth in the series, you can read it as a stand-alone. Slaughter has provided within the narrative enough background information to help new readers follow along. (Of course you will likely want to read others in the series and every book Karin Slaughter has written after you read The Last Widow.)
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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