Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter
HarperCollins: 8/4/20
review copy; 496 pages
Will Trent Series #10

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter is a very highly recommended thriller and procedural. I was riveted to the pages. This is one of the best books I've read this year!

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent and his partner, Faith Mitchell, investigate the claim of an inmate at the state penitentiary that he has information he will share if his case is reopened. He claims he is innocent of the brutal attack and rape of Beckey Caterino eight years earlier. At the time he was the prime suspect and he claims has proof that the guilty party is still out there committing murder.  There are eight murders that he believes are connected. Nesbitt says that Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver, the now-deceased husband of Will’s girlfriend, medical examiner Sara Linton, framed him, leaving a serial killer at large and still active.

Only days before this another young woman was targeted and murdered. It becomes clear that Will and Faith must begin to investigate the past and will require Sarah's help even though it will bring up the past. To complicate matters, Will and Sara are having a misunderstanding and tension in their current relationship, while the original investigation into Beckey Caterino's attack hearkens back to the time when Jeffrey and Sara were divorced. As everyone looks into Jeffrey's case eight years ago, Sara can't help but recall that time in her life.

Slaughter writes in the afterword: "I bet you guys didn’t notice that I’ve been secretly writing love stories. Really gritty, violent love stories, but still." I loved this and laughed aloud over it and several other statements. (Don't read the afterward until after the novel.)

The narrative alternates back and forth in time from the Grant County investigation eight years ago to the current investigation and the investigations are told through several points-of-view. The details of the attacks are brutal, calculated, and bone-chilling, and that it is certainly a serial killer who has been refining his methods and M.O. As I expected, the writing is excellent and made for an engrossing and absorbing reading experience. Everything works together perfectly in The Silent Wife to create a plot that is complicated, gruesome, dynamic, nuanced, and compelling. The discussion of the stigma that surrounds rape and rape victims and the trauma that they continue to experience is honest, frank and sympathetic.

Obviously, the characters are well-developed and well-known to fans at this point. Readers will be thrilled to go back to Grant County and see some familiar characters. The identity of the killer made perfect sense, but I didn't have a clue who it was until Slaughter dropped enough hints for us all to get it. (Nicely played, Karin!) This is a dark, violent story, but, yeah, also a love story. I enjoyed The Silent Wife immensely and it is going on the list as one of the best novels I've read this year. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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