Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

  • THE BOOK
    • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
    • Published September 29, 2015
    • Book type:
      • Thriller
    • Other books by the author:
      • The Grant County series and the Will Trent series, both crime thrillers

  • THE PREMISE
    • Two estranged sisters Claire and Lydia, whose oldest sister Julia went missing (and is presumed dead) 20 years ago, come back together after Claire's husband Paul is murdered. 
    • Somehow Julia's disappearance and Paul's murder are linked. 
    • Claire is rich; Lydia is a former drug addict who's built a successful, but poorer, life.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • The story moves along well and the main characters are fleshed out. Some minor characters are less well used.
      • For example, Lydia has a 17-year-old daughter who appears throughout a couple of early chapters. Then she disappears from the narrative with only a couple of mentions after that. 
      • Claire is wary of the various personnel --- police, sheriffs, FBI agents --- but they were all portrayed so similarly at the beginning that I kept losing track of which was which. One of them IS a bad guy but when they are ALL portrayed as arrogant assholes, well, that just seems like writing meant to obfuscate for the sake of obfuscating.
    • The crimes uncovered are sexually violent towards women and NOT for the squeamish. Seriously, they are awful.
    • The main culprit is a complete sociopath, no shades of gray, all black.
    • One bit of randomness: Claire, the "perfect" wife-then-widow, is on probation for assault, whacking her long-time tennis partner in the knee. I suppose this is the reason she is wary of the police.
      • The tennis player commented on a currently missing young woman in the vein of "it's her own fault she's missing, for going out drinking at bars". Claire, sensitive because people said similar things about her own long-missing sister, whacks her partner hard on the knee and tells her it's her own fault for playing tennis. Ha!
    • I might be too enamoured of the word "serviceable" but it fits here. A serviceable crime thriller.
    • I don't love these types of books but I don't mind reading an occasional volume.

  • SPOILERS AHEAD - DON'T READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW!
    • Claire's husband faked his death (I forget why). He is the main kidnapper, torturer and killer of dozens of missing girls over the past 20 years, including long-missing Julia. 
    • His father did it too and passed down the "family business" to his son. 
    • The extra dimension is that Paul always recorded each multiple torture session and death and sold them via the Internet. 
    • He always chose the same type of pretty girl and stalked them first. 
    • Paul, though married to Claire, is actually obsessed with Lydia. 
    • This is the cause of the sisters' estrangement: Paul tried to rape Lydia (and presumably would have tortured and killed her) and her family thought she was lying so they cut her off.
    • In the present day, he eventually kidnaps her, and tells her he ultimately plans to kidnap her daughter in a couple of years because she looks just like Julia, but Claire finds them and kills Paul, rescuing her sister. 
    • He also killed their father after showing him the tapes of Julia's torture and death. 
    • Oh, and the sheriff kept stonewalling the investigation into Julia's death because he was a participant in the crimes and he knew she was dead.
    • Fun stuff.

2 comments:

  1. OMG, we have finally read the same book! Except, yeah, it wasn't that great This is the kind of book that I tend to forget within minutes after reading it, so I have little else to add.

    Well, I guess we've also both read "Moby-Dick" but I am NOT counting that. Ugh ugh ugh.

    I'm now reading a jolly little mystery about a small town where the local dogs are getting murdered. Fun so far!

    xxx

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  2. Sounds to me like LC and KS are the sociopaths. In any case, I will be hiding the tennis racket.

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