Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pretty Girls - Karin Slaughter

We had a really nice family dinner a few nights ago. All the adults at the table are in various stages of making healthy changes to our diets and lifestyles, but we were celebrating and I steadfastly believe that some things just do not need to be healthified. You enjoy them like they are, maybe being a little more mindful of how many pounds of bad-for-you food are on your plate. And then you eat a big ol' slice of cheesecake because you have clearly already thrown the evening over to total gluttony, and 30 minutes later your belly hurts so badly you would only be able to move if somebody on the other side of the room offered you Milk Duds or something.  

The answer to the question, "Why'd I DO that?' is a smug, "Because I'm a grown adult, and I just wanted what I wanted and I ate it all. Got a problem with that?" 

Well, that, my friends is the food equivalent of reading a book by Karin Slaughter. 

"Pretty Girls is the story of Claire and Lydia -- sisters, strangers, survivors. And now, in the wake of a shocking murder, they've been reunited after more than two decades to investigate both a present-day killing and the tragic disappearance that destroyed their family all those years ago."  -- from the publisher

This may be the shortest review of a book I've ever given.

It is not for the faint of heart.

I could not put it down, although I did read whole passages in scan mode. 

I'm conflicted about this, frankly. I'm not sure how to review it. Slaughter's characters are brilliantly drawn. Both the complicated family relationships and the unraveling of the crime that changed Claire and Lydia's family so profoundly are so well developed that from a critical standpoint I can say without reservation that Slaughter does her job here really, really well. 

But, my word. I'm a pretty hardened old soul, and I could not bear to read the increasingly graphic details of the crime at the heart of this story. 

I don't know what to do with the idea I had that I would not have finished this had a man written it, and I just don't want to spend time analyzing that too much. 

This recommendation, then, comes with a honkin' big warning sign: don't you dare read this and blame me for your bad dreams. You've been warned. 

Published in hardcover by
William Morrow
September 2015

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