by Bruce TierneySeptember, 2006
The power of three
The award for strangest protagonists of the month goes to Karin Slaughter for her diabolically clever Triptych. The three main characters are Atlanta detective Michael Ormewood, a family man with a deep (and, of course, dark) secret; Will Trent, a GBI guy (that's Georgia Bureau of Investigation for those not acquainted with the acronyms of the Peach State); and John Shelley, a recently released ex-con who confessed to one of the most heinous murders in Atlanta history. But did he really do it? Despite his confession, there seems to be some conflicting evidence. Problem is, now that he's out, there has been a rash of crimes that echo the one for which he was incarcerated. The similarities have not been lost on the investigators, nor, for that matter, on Shelley's astute parole officer. There is a good possibility that Shelley is being framed (although we're never quite sure), and he must establish his innocence before the other two protagonists can prove his guilt. Triptych is Slaughter's first stand-alone novel, and it's a crackerjack. She plants seeds of doubt both in her characters and in her readers, and believe this: they bear fruit in the strangest ways as the book progresses!