Criminal by Karin Slaughter
(Will Trent, #6)
Read: 6/26/2012 — 7/3/2012
In Six Words: I’m a Slaughter fan for life.
Why I Started Reading This Series
I started reading Grant County, and when that series ended, I started reading this series. I am in total love with Karin Slaughter’s writing and her characters (especially her characters) and, of course, the mysteries. These are gritty and violent books, but I enjoy every moment of them. Criminal, the latest release in the Will Trent series, is no different. These books just keep getting better and better.
Karin Slaughter’s new novel is an epic tale of love, loyalty, and murder that encompasses forty years, two chillingly similar murder cases, and a good man’s deepest secrets.
Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda’s motivation until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before—when Will’s father was imprisoned for murder—this was his home. . . .
Flash back nearly forty years. In the summer Will Trent was born, Amanda Wagner is going to college, making Sunday dinners for her father, taking her first steps in the boys’ club that is the Atlanta Police Department. One of her first cases is to investigate a brutal crime in one of the city’s worst neighborhoods. Amanda and her partner, Evelyn, are the only ones who seem to care if an arrest is ever made.
Now the case that launched Amanda’s career has suddenly come back to life, intertwined with the long-held mystery of Will’s birth and parentage. And these two dauntless investigators will each need to face down demons from the past if they are to prevent an even greater terror from being unleashed.
Thoughts on Book 6
There are so many reasons to love this book. SO. MANY. But, well, let me break it down for you.
Every single character. I could spend hours and hours talking about these characters. This is our sixth Will Trent book. We have had Sara for even more (all of the Grant County series, plus the majority of these). I have loved Will from the very start. He is incredibly smart, but in many ways lets himself be beat down by his past, which is terrible and sad and broken. In Criminal, we get to learn about Will’s parents and how he ended up at the children’s orphanage. Previous books have explored Will’s time at the orphanage, but Criminal goes into the part of Will’s that even he is not aware of. It is both tragic and freeing. On Sara, briefly: I think (and have always thought) she is the perfect match for Will, and am very interested to see what plays out as far as her crime solving role in the future.
Though this was a Will Trent book, I think Amanda Wagner stole the show. This book seemed to really be about the case that Amanda and Evelyn worked the summer that Will was born. I’ve never been to Atlanta (nor have I been to Atlanta in the 1970s — obviously), but Karin Slaughter has a way of making the city (and its history) come alive. The way that the entire world seemed to be against women as police officers (never mind them as detectives) was chilling because it felt authentic and completely plausible. And the 1975 Amanda and present day Amanda are so incredibly different that it was fascinating to see the dichotomy.
And, of course, I don’t think I can write a review without mentioning Angie. Oh, how I hate her! She’s like a constant thorn in our sides and attempts to sabotage as much of Will’s life as possible. Clearly Will is trying to move on with a relationship with Sara, but Angie keeps popping up when you least need her around. And she is poisonous. I’m ready to say goodbye to her. Or to have Will sever ties completely with her. Either way is good. As long as she goes.
And the mystery! I loved the way Karin Slaughter has woven two stories into one with the alternating time shifts. And, of course, even when you think you know what’s going to happen, there is some kind of twist thrown in that skews everything just a bit so that your entire view of the case is altered. The mysteries that Karin Slaughter create are often bloody and violent and graphic, but they are always riveting. So, to sum up: I have mad love for Karin Slaughter’s characters and mysteries, and if you’re any kind of mystery fan who doesn’t mind a bit of blood and violence, I suggest you pick up these books.