Reader Review by cloggie-downunder
Criminal is the 7th in Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series. The story shifts between the early seventies and the present day. The present day is 2 weeks after the events of the 5th book in the series, Fallen (the 6th book being the eShort, Snatched), while the flashback covers several months from mid-1974 to mid-1975 when Will’s boss in the GBI, Amanda Wagner, and Faith’s mother, Evelyn, were rookie cops together at the Atlanta PD. Readers who are eager for more of Will and Sara may be disappointed to find much of the action is with Amanda and Evelyn, but Slaughter manages to make this an engrossing read, all the same. Whilst Slaughter touches on issues of race and gender in mid-70’s Atlanta, the story also reveals much of Amanda and Evelyn’s early careers, and Will’s parentage. She develops these characters, gives the reader a bit of background to Will’s mercurial relationship with Amanda, and shows that even the seemingly hard Amanda has a caring side. Slaughter is an expert at creating atmosphere and building tension and can make the reader feel uncomfortable in just a few skilful paragraphs. These two stories, told in tandem, each have a heart-thumping climax. As always the plot is excellent and includes a few twists, the dialogue realistic and Slaughter gives the reader three strong female leads trying to do a good job under difficult circumstances. Slaughter’s depth of research into 70’s Atlanta is apparent in every sentence. Her main focus in writing this book, according to the Acknowledgements, was to tell a good story, and this she has expertly achieved. I always hesitate to start reading a new Karin Slaughter book because I know that once I do, I won’t be able to put it down and, even at 400 plus pages, the reading pleasure will be over that much sooner. Once again, Slaughter does not disappoint.