Review: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

The stunning new novel from the international #1 bestselling author — a searing, spellbinding blend of cold-case thriller and psychological suspense.

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…

Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via a Good Reads giveaway. It does not impact my review.

Every time I see Karin Slaughter is publishing another book that isn’tWill Trent book, I am a little disappointed. Then I read it and am angry at myself for ever thinking I would be disappointed in a Slaughter book. The Good Daughter is not quite what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it.

The story is told through the POVs of sisters Sam and Charlie in both the past and the present. 28 years ago their home was attacked which resulted in the loss of their mother and deep physical and emotional scars for both of them. Both sisters were a little hard to like at times, but I was rooting for them. I loved Charlie’s estranged husband, Ben, who was so sweet, but definitely had some flaws of his own. Sam and Charlie’s dad, Rusty, was another difficult character. He spoke in a lot of riddles and spent his life defending the people no one else wanted to defend, which often came with some dire consequences. He did very much love his family, though, which I liked. There are also many references made to Sam and Charlie’s mother, Gamma. Gamma was her nickname (think gamma ray) and I really wish they would have called her something else. Every time I saw it, I read it as “Gramma” and which resulted in me picturing her as an old woman.

Even though there are a couple of crimes/mysteries involved in the plot, I really felt like this was much more a family drama than Slaughter’s usual mystery/suspense. A lot of time was given to the relationship between the sisters and their parents and how each of them dealt with the fall out from what happened 28 years ago. That’s not to stay the crime element wasn’t good, because it was. Slaughter really knows how to create atmosphere and spares no graphic detail when it comes to the more violent acts (readers who are squeamish of those things should be forewarned). There are nice little reveals peppered throughout the story to move the plot along and while none of them were really shocking, I appreciated the writing all the same. I did guess what happened in the present timeline before it was revealed, but the “why” was a lot more involved than I was expecting. There was also something from the past timeline that was revealed that I didn’t guess. I did think that the resolution to the mysteries were wrapped up a little too quickly, though. I was almost to the end of the book and felt like there was a lot more crime solving to go when things all of sudden were figured out.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Good Daughter. Despite the rather long chapters, the pace was really steady and I kept finding myself saying “one more chapter” far after it was time for me to go to bed. The mystery storylines were intriguing, but it was really the family relationships that stand out. There are some really intense emotional moments and this was the first time I’ve almost cried at a Karin Slaughter book. I am so excited for the opportunity to go to one of the book tour stops and meet her next month.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars