Book Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

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Title: Pretty Girls
Author: Karin Slaughter @SlaughterKarin
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Thriller & Suspense
Length: 421 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis
#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.

Grace Review

Hoooooolllly crap, what the hell did I just read?!?!

I feel numb.
I feel shocked.
I feel disgusted.

For those who follow the blog, let me clear up front.  This is not a romance.

I’d personally never heard of the book until a fellow blogger posted the sales link.  But prior to getting into the romance genre, this was exactly my kind of book.  I never claimed to be normal.  And I decided to read this book after I felt myself skimming through sex scenes in my other books.  Time for a change, and boy did I pick a dozy.

This book is not for the faint of heart.  It is gruesome and will likely generate similar feelings as mine (see above).  What makes this book so good is that I literally didn’t want to do anything else.

To my daughter: “No, honey, I don’t want to play Uno.”
*grudgingly plays 2 hands of Uno, then picks up book*
To my daughter: “Ugh, you’re hungry again.”
*makes snack while reading book*
And so on.

This could be a sign of bad parenting *shrugs*, but I blame it on the book.

If life hadn’t gotten in the way, I would have read this book in one day.  Fellow Shortie, Yaya, actually DID read this book in one day.  That should tell you how gripping this story is for the reader.

Although there is an early tragedy, the pace of the story felt slow at first.
*We get glimpses into what used to be Claire’s perfect home life.  However, if you pay attention, there are multiple warning signs that her life will be changing.
*We learn about Lydia and her not so perfect life.
*And we learn about a man who misses his daughter.

How do they connect?  Simple.  They are all family.

What made this book so good in my mind were two things:

1) Every chapter of this book took you further down the dark and twisted rabbit hole.  There was layer upon layer of deceit and unconscionable actions by many.  I truly felt for Claire and Lydia since it seemed like there was no one they could trust.

2) This book took character development to a new level.  In the beginning, I thought the three main characters were very simple individuals.  Whether their true selves were hidden under a multitude of lies, or if the actions of others forced them to wake up, these characters were more complex than I initially thought.  I was impressed with two characters, while disgusted with others.  As lies are exposed, I’ll admit, I had very little faith in Claire and her ability to overcome the knowledge she now possessed.  But she blew me away with the steps she took to unravel the web of lies and then to come out ahead.  Passwords, burner phones, exposing evidence, it was all so clever and perfect.  I wanted to applaud her.

While I loved the story development, I didn’t quite understand the sisters’ father and his letters.  As they are revealed, it seems he suspected someone all along.  Why didn’t he say anything?  That bothered me.  I also wished there was more of an explanation on how the whole diabolical activities developed and how so many important people became involved. Was it blackmail or where there really that many disturbing individuals out there?  I wanted to know more about the rabbit hole and how it got to be so deep.

Even with that omission, this book felt like a biggest train wreck.  Lies and secrets to cover a sickening fetish, where intelligence and determination was required for survival.  If you want to step out of your comfort zone, and try something out of the romance genre, then I highly recommend you check this out.

– Grace

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