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by Karin Slaughter
Century, July 2008
400 pages
17.99 GBP
ISBN: 1844138607

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Slaughter has not permitted Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to languish in limbo after a single appearance in the novel TRIPTYCH in 2006. Will is a dedicated cop with a secret. A dyslexic, he would do anything to hide his disability, keeping the secret even from the woman with whom he is partnered.

Abigail and Paul Campano do not have a very strong marriage. They do have a lovely teenage daughter, Emma - that is, they have her until the dreadful day Abby arrives home from an afternoon of tennis and finds the house has been broken into. She sees a teenaged girl's dead body and a young man, very much alive, holding a knife. Abby somehow manages to strangle the young man, not realising that there is more than one way the scene may be interpreted.

Later, the distraught mother - now killer - learns that the female corpse is not her daughter but her daughter's friend, Kayla. To increase the horror of her situation, the young man was not a killer but someone attempting to protect Emma, who has been kidnapped. Abigail has brought heartbreak to an innocent family.

The GBI is called in to investigate by the extremely wealthy and influential grandfather of the kidnapped girl, when it is still thought that Emma is dead. Will Trent, unfortunately, already knows Paul Campano, father of the missing girl, as they were both foundlings in the care of the state, and Paul is aware of Will's disability and doesn’t want him on the case. Regardless, Will remains and is partnered with Faith Mitchell from the Atlanta Police Department. Since Will once had to investigate the department for corruption, rooting out a large percentage of the detectives, Faith is not happy with the arrangement.

A familiarity with dyslexia proves pivotal in this mystery so for once Will has a decided advantage, as Emma is dyslexic and, judging by a note left by the kidnapper, he seems to be as well.

For all that a successful, dyslexic investigator may seem unlikely, Karin Slaughter makes a very plausible case for Will Trent. The rest of the characters appear equally realistic.

It's undeniable that the author is in command of the unexpected twist and misdirection. She also does a pretty good line in excitement as well as the creation of some very unpleasant baddies. She has a very good idea of the emotions that motivate families and has once again proven herself a gifted narrator.

Reviewed by Denise Pickles, July 2008

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