Review: Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter

pretty girls#1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with a sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance, and unexpected absolution, in which two estranged sisters must come together to find truth about two harrowing tragedies, twenty years apart, that devastate their lives.

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.

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.

Rating: 4/5

This was well-written, but bordered on torture porn at times, imo. But then again, I don’t read a lot in the crime genre, so I’m pretty sure this is par for course. But just in case, heed my warning: this book is hella graphic in parts, containing violence, abuse and rape.

Marriage. That’s what he called it, though men like Paul do not marry women. They own them. They control them. They are voracious gluttons who devour every part of a woman, then clean their teeth with the bones. 

Despite this, the premise of the book is hella intriguing, particularly when we figure out who the perpetrator is, which occurs quite early on in the novel. The rest is a race against time to unravel the spiderweb of atrocities and prove their guilt, looking back at past interactions and lives in a whole new light. And the way that the baddie met their end satisfied my vengeance-seeking heart.

Your mother and I had always been secretly pleased that you were so headstrong and passionate about your causes. Once you were gone, we understood that these were the qualities that painted young men as smart and ambitious and young women as trouble. 

What impressed me was the biting social commentary that Slaughter included in the novel, especially in regards to women.

Claire watched the young man pour Paul’s Scotch with a previously unseen professionalism  Her wedding ring, her gentle brush-offs, and her outright rejection had been minor obstacles compared to the big no of another man kissing her cheek. 

Highly disturbing, but compelling despite the distasteful subject matter, with an interesting focus on families who disintegrate in the wake of a crisis but eventually find their way back to one another.

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10 thoughts on “Review: Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter

  1. In general, I liked this book, but the mystery didn’t quite work for me because after some point before giving the answers, it became painfully obvious for me, and not to mention I thought the villain was a little cartoonish. Still, it wasn’t such a bad read. Agree on the graphic descriptions, though. Great review!

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    1. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I would have liked more insight into the villain’s psychology – what really made him the way he was. You’re right, in that he is fairly two dimensional – he’s really just a figurehead for the development of other characters and the plot.

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    1. Yup, there’s quite a lot of that in here. Described as events that have taken place in the past, but still. I definitely can’t read too many books in the crime genre without feeling really disturbed.

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  2. I’m a big thriller reader and have read a lot (all?) of her Will Trent series and Grant County series. But there was one book that was so violent and, well, I don’t want to spoil, but let’s just say there was a plot twist in the last Grant County book that just really upset me (connected to the really graphic violence). Loved her writing in the earlier books but it just may be that her writing has taken a turn that I can’t get on board with. Otherwise, I love the sound of this! I’m getting way more squeamish in my old age!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. I will be honest, and I say I prefer books with less graphic violence and more focus on the investigation. Neither of the MCs in this book were police/detectives, like in her other series, which I have yet to read. My stomach was churning in places, so maybe give this one a skip!

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  3. I love, love adult crime thrillers. They give me more of a mystery than YA thrillers, which is why I tend to levitate to them more when I’m in the mood. I was so close to requesting this, but thanks to the blogging slump I decided against it. (Thank goodness my slump is over.) This sounds beyond intriguing, I’m definitely going to pick it up asap.

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    1. Most YA thrillers fall completely flat for me, usually because they’re so unrealistic – teenage can’t get up to the same kind of shenanigans that adults can – i.e. running off to investigate, etc. If you love adult crime thrillers, then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one – Slaughter is quite a prolific author in the genre, I believe. (and what an appropriate surname to boot, haha.) Thanks for stopping by!

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