Review: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Title: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 528 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

The stunning new novel from the international #1 bestselling author  a searing, spellbinding blend of cold-case thriller and psychological suspense.

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…

Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.

Review:

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter is an utterly spellbinding mystery that is also quite heartrending.

Twenty-eight years ago, thirteen year old Charlotte (Charlie) Quinn, her fifteen year old sister Samantha (Sam) and their mother Gamma are brutally attacked in their home by two masked gunman. The perpetrators were searching for patriarch Rusty, a reviled criminal defense attorney whose client list features such lowlifes as rapists, killers and drug dealers. In the present, Rusty’s clientele is much the same and Charlie is a criminal defense attorney who is currently separated from her husband, ADA Ben Bernard. Following a one night stand with a stranger, Charlie discovers she and her hook-up have inadvertently switched cell phones. Going to the local middle school to exchange phones, Charlie finds herself in the middle of a school shooting that stirs up all of the unresolved trauma from her past. In the aftermath of the devastating shooting, two people are dead and Rusty quickly agrees to represent the alleged shooter, Kelly Wilson, and Charlie is forced to confront the demons that have haunted her for the last twenty-eight years.

Charlie is not one to mince words and she might have a tough outer shell, but she is still clearly traumatized by the attack that forever altered her family’s lives. At one time blissfully happy with Ben, her caustic tongue and endless haranguing in recent years have finally driven him to leave her. Making no progress in fixing her tattered marriage, Charlie’s one night stand with a stranger is completely out of character and she is deeply ashamed of this decision. Now a witness in the case against Kelly, Charlie is stunned to realize she harbors doubts about Kelly’s guilt despite the fact the teenager was literally caught red-handed at the scene of the crime.

As events play out after the shooting, Charlie must finally deal with the trauma from the childhood attack. Although she shares office space with Rusty, she is NOT his legal partner and they manage to put aside their ideological differences. Their exchanges are playful but their discussions lack depth or much substance. While Ben knows about what happened to Charlie, her past is clearly still affecting her behavior and decisions, yet she refuses to discuss it with him or anyone else.

The Good Daughter is a dark and gritty mystery but there are surprisingly humorous, laugh out loud passages that lighten the storyline. The characters are brilliantly developed, deeply flawed yet personable and even some of the “bad” guys manage to elicit sympathy. The two story arcs seamlessly flow together and it is impossible to say which storyline is more compelling. Karin Slaughter brings the novel to a jaw-dropping, twist-filled conclusion that wraps up all of the loose ends. An absolutely enthralling mystery that fans of the genre do NOT want to miss.

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Filed under Contemporary, Karin Slaughter, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Good Daughter, William Morrow

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