Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Book: Pretty Girls

Author: Karin Slaughter

Pages: 600 odd

Read on: Kindle

Read: Over two days

Plot Summary: 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.

Things I Liked: Quick list:
1. The premise of the book seemed really interesting. A serial killer, young girls going missing, two estranged sisters, a family dealing with the disappearance of their oldest daughter.. secrets coming to light and such. Sounded like the book had all the right ingredients to deliver a spicy thriller and, to a large extent, the book did not disappoint. 

2. The writing was good. Karin Slaughter writes well and also does a good job with character development. We get to see full character arcs for Lydia and Claire.. and also, in some big and small ways, of their parents- Sam and Helen. 

3. The author also does a good job of showing how a family deals with a tragic loss and the pain of not knowing what happened to one of their own. Julia's disappearance tears and alters the Carroll family in different ways- Sam becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to his oldest daughter, Helen first falls apart, then proceeds to drown her sorrows in alcohol and the decides that she is better off not knowing what happened to Julia, Lydia acts out and Claire just decides to not get noticed- either in a good way or a bad way- by anyone and sort of stays in the background. It was heartbreaking to see a once loving and happy family being broken apart in such a manner. 

4. Lydia was an interesting character- someone who hit rock bottom and then built herself up to provide for herself and her daughter. She is feisty and generous and willing to help out Claire in every way she can in spite of being estranged for almost 18 years. 

5. Claire had the greatest transformation in the story. I won't get too much into it (don't want to spoil the book) but it was interesting to read about. 

6. For the most part, the book is quite a page-turner. There are some chapters which are letters written by Sam to Julia after she went missing. Then there are some chapters from Lydia's perspective and some from Claire's. So, the book moves pretty fast and the changes in tone keep the book interesting and does not make it seem slow or tedious inspite of being almost 700 pages long! 

Things I Didn't Like: Quick list:
1. The antagonist in this book- who he was, what his involvement was- was SO obvious! Though, that's not the problem that I have with this book. My major grouse is that in spite of the antagonist being so obvious, the author attempts to create this major confusion and doubt about whether we've got this character all wrong. This happens somewhere around the 50% mark of the book.. and then up until the 80% mark of the book, the author tries to make you question whether you've got the bad guy figured out or not.. and then it becomes very obvious who the bad guy really is. So, in the process, one ends up reading around 200 or so extra pages, which were not really required. 

2. This is not a 'dislike' as such, but be warned that Karin Slaughter's books are very graphic. The description of what was done to these poor girls is explained in a fair amount of detail. If you have a weak stomach, stay away or skip those pages. 

3. The plot of this book is a bit like a movie- a pretty famous movie (I am not naming it here, don't want to spoil the book)- and that was a bit disappointing. 

Rating: 3.5/5 

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