Published: July 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Category: Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Murder, Mystery, Book Review
One ran. One stayed. But who is…the good daughter?
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s childhoods were destroyed by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – a notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family consumed by secrets from that shocking night.
The story begins with a look back in time as we discover the devastating events that shaped the lives of two sisters, Samantha and Charlotte Quinn, fifteen and thirteen respectively.
Their father, Rusty Quinn, is a defence lawyer who takes on very controversial cases, representing murderers and rapists. This doesn’t sit well with many people and death threats are routine. After an accused rapist was acquitted and the victim killed herself the family have been ostracised making life at school very difficult for Charlie and Samantha. The family house was petrol bombed as a result and burned to the ground, all their possessions destroyed. Rusty, his wife Gamma and the two girls moved into a ramshackle farmhouse that belonged to an old farmer before he died.
One night of unimaginable violence changed their lives irrevocably. Two masked men forced their way into the farmhouse, leaving the girls’ mother dead, Charlotte and Samantha traumatised and Rusty shattered.
Samantha felt her own mouth open, but the sound was trapped inside of her chest. She was frozen now. Charlotte’s screams turned into a distant echo. Everything drained of color. They were suspended in black and white, like the bachelor farmer’s picture. Black blood had aerosoled onto the grille of the white air conditioner. Tiny flecks of black mottled the glass in the window. Outside, the night sky was a charcoal gray with a lone pinlight of a tiny, distant star.
The story is set in Pikeville, Georgia and twenty-eight years after the tragedy, Charlotte has followed in her father’s footsteps as a defence lawyer, although she has no intention of representing the same kind of people her father does. But once again Charlotte is exposed to horrific violence when she witnesses a shooting which brings the horror of past events to the fore, highlighting just how much those events are still affecting the sisters. Charlie and Sam haven’t spoken in years, neither have Rusty and Sam and Charlie’s marriage is at stake. Emotional pain, secrets, anger, all suppressed for so long, have to be dealt with before either can learn to love, forgive and move on.
Karin Slaughter has delivered a very dark, emotional and powerful story, peopled with complex but realistic personalities who drive the plot. The violence Samantha and Charlotte suffered as teens is recounted during the course of the narrative, and although in part it’s a repetition, it’s necessary for the story. Not everything is as it seems with accounts that differ, and those passages serve to deepen the characterisations and draw the reader, or in this case listener, in even more. Both timelines are woven together as the story progresses. The intricate and tangled relationships are compelling, an integral part of the story, and as the layers are peeled away, buried secrets are revealed.
Wonderful writing and twisty plotting, and in the main the fascinating characters are superbly crafted and developed. An intense and gripping story with an unexpected conclusion. A word of warning – the vivid and graphic imagery may not be for the faint hearted!
Susie James’ narration is spot on, her characterisations are distinct and enhance the emotions, tension and drama of the family’s complicated dynamics.
Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programing. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.