The Good Daughter
Karin Slaughter     

Genre: Mystery Thriller

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…

Almost thirty years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn undergo a traumatic attack in their home. They survive the attack, but their mother is killed. The sisters, as well as their father, are devastated by what happened and none of them are ever the same again. Sam leaves the small town of Pikeville, but Charlie remains with her father and becomes an attorney just like her dad. Now, twenty-eight years later, Charlie is involved in another horrifying experience as the main witness to a senseless, violent act. Because Charlie is on the scene at this event, the secrets from her own family’s violent past may now come to light, further changing the course of both Charlie and Sam’s lives.

The main characters of the book are sisters who have been estranged for years and each woman is flawed, in part because of what they had to live through so many years ago. The narrative alternates between past and present events and is told from more than one point of view to give the reader the full story of what went on in the past. Eventually, the reader discovers how what really happened has affected Sam and Charlie’s present lives. Each woman is very different, but has their own obstacles they must face to try to find happiness. Both women, especially Charlie, do things that often make it hard to like them, even when feeling sympathy for their situations. Some of their actions make more sense as the whole story comes out, but some remain hard to understand.

Karin Slaughter has written a number of novels that are very popular, and I’m glad this book is a standalone, since it provides a nice way to sample the author’s writing without having the knowledge about a long-running series. The Good Daughter is a gripping thriller with a suspenseful plot that continues to surprise the reader throughout the book. One of the main twists is completely unexpected - horrifying for the sisters and shocking to the reader. The book is well-written and is very intense with graphic violence and explicit language. Both the past and the present acts of violence both deal with disturbing subjects and aren’t always easy to read. However, in spite of this, I wanted to keep going and get to the truth in both cases, even when the violence had me wanting to look away. Fans of the author will enjoy the book and fans of Allison Brennan or Jeffrey Deaver will want to give this author a try.

~ Christine