Book Review – Investigative time capsule

2012-08-24 10:54

Gayle Edmunds is captivated after being made privy to the homicidal desires of a madman

Even if she didn’t write kick-ass crime fiction, Karin Slaughter’s novels would fly off the shelves – her name alone would be enough.

Apart from knowing how to make a crime scene truly disturbing, she is also clever about developing her characters so that readers care about their pasts and what makes them tick.

It’s probably why this, her 12th crime novel, delves into the back story of Will Trent, a character who didn’t feature in Slaughter’s early books.

But he has come more to the fore in later books as he finally realises his romantic ambitions with Sara Linton, the character who has been with Slaughter since her debut Blindsighted.

Slaughter is a crime writer who has seamlessly blended the fictional universes of her various characters.

Jeffery Deaver, is another author who has done this well.

Linton and her now-dead husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, are part of her fictional Grant County series, while Trent was introduced in the Atlanta series with his partner, Faith Mitchell.

The advantage of having a larger pool of protagonists is that when Lena Adams, from the Grant County series, reached her ethical sell-by date, Slaughter could simply discard her and continue her stories with others in her imagination’s menagerie.

Criminal takes the reader back to the investigation that was the making of Trent’s boss, Amanda, back in the mid-1970s.

Also, if you think sexism doesn’t seem to be getting much better in the workplace, think again.

Half the horror of reading this book is the institutional sexism, racism and just about any other nasty “ism” you can think of.

In the present day, meanwhile, Trent tries to cope with the fact that his biological father has been released from jail.

It’s only a matter of time before the bloodthirsty murderer strikes again.

While we follow Trent’s investigation, and Amanda’s way back in the past, the reader is also made privy to the experiences of the women stolen to feed the homicidal desires of a madman.

Slaughter’s gift for the macabre is her way of reminding readers about the victims all the time so that you are as desperate as the investigators to find the killer.

In all, it’s another unputdownable effort. 7/10

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