Pretty Girls - Karin Slaughter

Genre: Thriller
Synopsis:  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.


Review: I picked this up for 2 reasons - 1. I have been well aware of Karin Slaughter for years, though I had never read anything by her - until recently, I was wary of getting into series, but the fact that this is a standalone book negated that, and 2. I heard it was dark/graphic and I'll be honest, I like my thrillers dark and graphic. I was really excited about reading it, as I know Slaughter has a great reputation, and this book seemed to both have great reviews and have utterly grossed people out.

There were a few things I liked about this book - the writing is great and the book is very readable (I read nearly 300 pages in one sitting), which means it's also very compelling. I liked the characters; they were fleshed out, credible, and the story of the Carroll family - the disappearing eldest daughter and the devastated lives of the remaining family members over the years - reeled me in. I'll admit, when Paul is killed at the beginning of the book (not a spoiler, it's literally in the synopsis), I was genuinely moved by the scene. All in all, a great start, living up to the expectations I held for it.

However, a revelation occurs about a fifth of the way into the book, and without trying to spoil anything, literally nothing that happens after that point (except one thing) is unexpected. Most thrillers pivot around finding 'whodunnit' or who the bad guy is. Well, it's kind of hard not to anticipate where this book is going from very early on. Sure, the finer details I didn't guess, but there are no surprises in the broad plot of this book, which I found very disappointing. The result was, most of the book dragged out while the characters stumbled around arguing and struggling to accept what was blatently obvious. Despite this, the bad person or persons seemed paper thin with a very flimsy explanation (or none at all) for their involvement. I really felt the book fell apart towards the end.

Overall, I felt the graphic nature of the violence in the book was meant to distract from the fairly dull and suspenseless plot. I guess that worked for some people. For me, it lacked in a lot of core areas.

Rating: 3/5

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