A couple of weeks ago took part in the blog tour for the AudioGo audiobook for Karin Slaughter's new novel, Criminal. At the time of the tour, I was only about a third of the way through the book, and loving it. Now that I am finished, I can honestly say that Slaughter has done something that is well-nigh impossible. She took a formula serial-killer thriller and turned it into an emotionally powerful, incredibly moving story.
Criminal is the latest installment in the Will Trent series. I've enjoyed all of Slaughter's recurring characters, but Will is my favorite. He is an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, but with a past that was more likely to produce a criminal than a cop. Will grew up in a children's home-too old and awkward for anyone to want to adopt him, he was eventually kicked out of care at 18, with nothing but his brains and the clothes on his back. But through hard work and a few lucky breaks, Will overcame his background and his learning disabilities to graduate from college and join the GBI.
In Criminal, Will and his partner Faith are investigating the murder of a university student. Her case sets off some kind of alarm bells for his boss, Amanda Wagner. Thirty years previous, she and Faith's mother Evelyn caught and sent to jail a man with the same M.O. The story jumps back and forth from present day to 1975, and as the story plays out we see that there is more at stake than just the lives of the kidnapped women.
Sounds like your basic serial killer novel. But this is a serial killer novel with heart, based entirely on the flashback story of Amanda Wagner and Evelyn Mitchell, and how they are connected to Will Trent. The flashbacks don't just explain Will's past, but the early days of women in the Atlanta PD, and specifically the case that bonded Amanda and Evelyn and the rest of their old broads. It made me love and respect the elder females so much more, and the image of all of these women spending their careers looking out for the baby they saved actually made me a little teary. This story is so much more than just another crime procedural. If you haven't been following the story, go back to the beginning of the Will Trent series and catch up. It will be totally worth your time!