Will Trent

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Unseen – Karin Slaughter

Published January 31, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Karin Slaughter’s novels featuring detective Will Trent are utterly riveting and masterfully drawn. Her latest thriller, Unseen, pits detectives, lovers, and enemies against one another in an unforgettable standoff between righteous courage and deepest evil.

Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.

Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.

In a novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists, two investigations collide with a conspiracy straddling both sides of the law. Karin Slaughter’s latest is both an electrifying thriller and a piercing study of human nature: what happens when good people face the unseen evils in their lives.

What did I think?:

Hooray, another Karin Slaughter novel! Regular readers of my blog will know I’m a big fan, especially of her Will Trent series and this latest, while not my particular favourite is still a damn good read which I enjoyed more than the previous book in the series, Criminal. A big thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review. If you’re familiar with the series, you will know that Will and Sara are now a couple. Unfortunately, Will’s latest assignment is undercover, as hard as nails ex-con Bill Black (complete with motorcycle and probably a toothpick in his mouth). This takes him away from Sara for a bit as he concentrates solely on his mission. But it’s probably not the best time to be away from his partner, as things are kicking off on her side also.

Detective Lena Adams is back (another hooray!) and where Lena goes, trouble is bound to follow. Sara and Lena have a rather strained history as Sara blames Lena for the shooting of someone she loved and as a result, has never forgiven her. Lena is now married to Sara’s stepson Jared and gets mixed up in a very dangerous case where Jared ends up being shot. Sara is obviously devastated, feeling like history is repeating itself and once again, Lena finds herself the recipient of Sara’s fury. What they don’t know is how inter-linked the case Lena was working on and the case Will is undercover for really is. And Sara may not be too happy with it by the way. When all hell breaks loose, Sara and Will find themselves in a very precarious situation that may threaten their relationship indefinitely. As always, there are gruesome scenes a-plenty, and the story touches on the issues of child abduction and abuse which may not be for all readers but I think it was handled well.

I really love the characters in Karin Slaughter’s novels, especially Will Trent (whom I may have gushed about in previous reviews). For this review, I’ll gush about Lena instead! I was really pleased to see the return of this wild and slightly damaged detective and enjoyed that we got to see a bit of her vulnerable side in this novel. I know some reviewers may not really like Lena as a character, but I find her so interesting and immensely readable and always wonder what disaster she’s going to end up in next. This novel is jam packed with twists, turns and surprises and often kept me guessing with each page I turned. Karin’s new novel Cop Town is out now and even though it’s not part of the Will Trent series, I’m excited to see what it’s all about. For me, this is an author that can’t do much wrong.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

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Short Stories Challenge – Busted by Karin Slaughter (stand-alone)

Published November 26, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

From Karin Slaughter comes a fast and furious tale in which no one is quite who they seem. This electrifying eBook novella featuring Will Trent is a prequel to Slaughter’s upcoming novel,Unseen.

Detective Will Trent is standing in a Georgia convenience store, waiting on an obstinate Icee frozen drink machine. To the surveillance cameras and bored staff of the Lil’ Dixie Gas-n-Go, however, Will appears to be someone very different—the menacing ex-con Bill Black. Going undercover as Bill, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent is about to infiltrate the most corrupt town in the most corrupt county in the new American South. But first: his Icee.

Everything changes in one horrific instant, as all hell breaks loose at the Lil’ Dixie. A cop is shot. A bag of cash goes flying across the floor. A young woman disappears while a killer takes off in a battered pick-up truck. Within seconds, Will is in pursuit.

What did I think?:

Karin Slaughter is one of my must-read authors and I’ve enjoyed the recent eBook shorts she’s written. Busted, like Snatched involves one of my favourite characters from the author’s Will Trent series i.e. Will Trent! This novella is also a sort of prequel to Karin’s next full novel in the series, Unseen which was a pleasant surprise for me. So for anyone who hasn’t read any of the series, Will Trent is a detective with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a job which he loves but his usual role has been put on the back burner as he is required to go undercover as Bill Black, hardened criminal with a few colourful arrests and convictions on his record. When the story opens he is at a convenience store, waiting for what seems like an age just to get some frozen Coke.

Life never goes that smoothly for Will Trent however, and before he knows it he is caught up in an armed robbery on the store. As the perp demands money while brandishing his gun, Will’s cop instincts kick into overdrive and while he at first takes the sensible option and dials 911, he also ends up getting fully involved in the incident while trying to restrain the perp. Of course, there’s always one in the wings waiting in a getaway car and the situation turns quite messy as a policeman who had also been in the store as a customer is shot. Will himself ends up in a high speed chase for the second perp on his motorbike, earning him quite a few injuries in the process. The bad guy ends up a lot worse off though you may be pleased to hear as Will chooses quite a novel way to bring him down.

Will’s injuries are nothing compared to the roasting he gets from his boss, the fiesty Amanda Byrne as she arrives on the crime scene with Will’s partner, Faith. After all, he is meant to be undercover and look at the attention he’s brought to himself. Naughty Will. As they all try to make sense of the crime not everything is as it seems and there are a lot of things that just don’t add up. For starters, where has the bag of cash gone? What happened to the young woman behind the counter? And why do the video camera images show a probable third perp?

Karin Slaughter has a gift for creating fantastic characters and very readable, thrilling fiction. Busted was another easy to read but adrenaline coated novella shrouded with enough mystery, action and the author’s wonderful sense of humour to please her current fans and perhaps entice a few more for the Slaughter army? I enjoyed as always trying to figure out what was going on (I never get it right!) and submerging myself in Will Trent’s world once again. Out of the novellas I have read so far it isn’t my favourite – that award goes to the fabulous The Blessing of Brokenness but it’s still a great read and can also be enjoyed as a stand alone if you’ve never read any Slaughter before.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

NEXT SHORT STORY: Nocturne by Kazuo Ishiguro from the collection Nocturnes: Five Stories Of Music And Nightfall

Criminal – Karin Slaughter (Will Trent #6)

Published September 23, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Karin Slaughter’s new novel is an epic tale of love, loyalty, and murder that encompasses forty years, two chillingly similar murder cases, and a good man’s deepest secrets.

Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda’s motivation until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before—when Will’s father was imprisoned for murder—this was his home. . . .

Flash back nearly forty years. In the summer Will Trent was born, Amanda Wagner is going to college, making Sunday dinners for her father, taking her first steps in the boys’ club that is the Atlanta Police Department. One of her first cases is to investigate a brutal crime in one of the city’s worst neighborhoods. Amanda and her partner, Evelyn, are the only ones who seem to care if an arrest is ever made.

Now the case that launched Amanda’s career has suddenly come back to life, intertwined with the long-held mystery of Will’s birth and parentage. And these two dauntless investigators will each need to face down demons from the past if they are to prevent an even greater terror from being unleashed.

What did I think?:

Let it be known I’m a big fan of Karin Slaughter’s work, and when I was first discovered her, beginning with the wonderful Blindsighted in 2001, I gobbled up her novels almost as soon as they were released. But recently, I have been a bit of a naughty Slaughter fan and fallen behind a bit which I aim to remedy now that I have read her latest story in the Will Trent series, Criminal, originally published in 2012. The other beloved main character who we got to know from the very start, Dr Sara Linton, does not make much of an appearance in this novel, but there is plenty of Will Trent to go round, which should please all Slaughter followers! I have to say, Will Trent is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read about. He has had a difficult past which he is trying to put behind him now he is flying high with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (well apart from being on airport duty that is), and best of all, he’s probably met the love of his life which is allowing him to put a lot of those old demons to rest. You would think…

Criminal sees Will’s past delved into more meticulously and horrifically than ever before as a recent disappearance of a college student is being dealt with rather cryptically by Will’s boss, the indomitable Amanda Wagner. Wagner is desperately trying to keep Will off the case, but for what reason? The mystery only deepens when the two run into each other by coincidence in an abandoned building which used to be the orphanage where Will grew up. Flash back forty years, and we get to see more of Amanda’s past, as she struggles to carry out her duties as a policewoman against brutal gender discrimination. Women in the police force in the seventies were seen as a bit of a novelty and were often given the “softer” or easier crimes to deal with due to their apparent delicacy. Reading about this period in history was absolutely fascinating and I was pleased that we got to see the younger Wagner prior to her reputation as a bit of a “ball breaker.” Amanda and her partner Evelyn Mitchell (Faith’s mum, Slaughter fans) are sent to investigate the murder of a prostitute, deemed relatively safe by the superiors but as the case begins to take off, Amanda discovers that she got a bit more than she bargained for.

How does this all fit in with Will and the present day case? Well, that would spoil it, but be prepared for those juicy little nuggets of information the author gives out as we switch between time frames and slot each piece of the puzzle into place. The only problem I could envision is how Will was going to cope and if he had enough strength to deal with the ghosts of his past and put them firmly into the realms of history. Again, as with all of Slaughter’s thrillers, the character development is superb and I loved how we got to learn a bit more about Amanda Wagner, who I have always had a secret soft spot for. I should probably put a warning out there and say there is a bit of graphic violence which needs a hardy stomach, but I think it is always dealt with in a way that makes you want to turn the pages rather than vomit all over them. I think fans of Karin Slaughter will be very excited about this recent addition to the Will Trent series but if you’re new to her, I recommend you check out Blindsighted first. Of course Criminal can be read as a stand-alone, but knowing the background of some of the characters and knowledge of certain main events in the main characters lives will definitely make for a more pleasurable reading experience.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Short Stories Challenge – Snatched by Karin Slaughter (stand-alone)

Published June 22, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Will Trent, a dedicated agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for fifteen years, knows that there’s definitely such a thing as a cop’s intuition. Which is why he should have listened to his own.

While in an airport restroom at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, Will overhears a girl’s pleading, plaintive voice: “Please, I wanna go home.” Something isn’t right here, thinks Will. He feels it in his gut. But he waits too long to act, and now the girl and the anxious, angry man she’s with have disappeared into the crowds at the busiest passenger airport in the world.

After a desperate search and with time running out, Will makes a call to his supervisor, Amanda Wagner. Will’s partner, Faith Mitchell, immediately sends out an abducted child alert. The entire airport will soon be grinding to a halt: Almost 100 million passengers a year. Five runways. Seven concourses. Six million square feet of space that sprawled across two counties, three cities, and five jurisdictions. All shut down on a dime because Will has a hunch that he is certain is true: a girl, maybe six or seven years old, has been snatched from God knows where. And he intends to bring her back—no matter what it takes.

What did I think?:

I saw this short story on offer for Kindle and “snatched” it up, being a big fan of Karin Slaughter’s work. I enjoyed the fact that the story itself involves Will Trent, a returning and very intriguing and likeable character in her popular series that began with the novel Triptych. It begins with Will sitting rather miserably in an airport toilet cubicle. He has been assigned toilet duty to apprehend any men meeting up there for (ahem) a good time because he has refused to cut his hair, orders of his boss, Amanda Wagner, a scary woman at the best of times. Instead of randy men however, something quite different walks into the restrooms. It is a man with a small girl wanting to use the bathroom but she is obviously terrified and pleads to go home. Everything about the situation screams that something is wrong to Will, but he is loath to approach the man, in case it is a perfectly innocent situation. Will’s cop senses start tingling further though when he follows the man and realises that he is wearing a disguise, in the form of a very bad wig and sunglasses. Will manages to get a photo of the little girl and sends it to his partner Faith Mitchell, who immediately starts processes to lock down the airport but unfortunately Will waits too long to make his move, manages to catch the perp, but the girl has disappeared. The rest of the story involves the desperate interrogation of the perp, as time is running out to find the little girl and return her to her mother.

This is a great little story that is just the right length with perfect pacing, written in the author’s classic style. Will Trent is probably my favourite character of Slaughter’s and I enjoyed reading about him on a mini-mission, in a story I could easily finish on the journey to work. I also found myself getting characteristically twitchy as I neared the end of the story, in case things weren’t wrapped up properly! However, the author never disappoints, and I was left satisfied (with a little gooey feeling inside!). I’m also now eager to read the next Will Trent novel, Criminal which I was approved for on NetGalley ages ago but haven’t got round to yet, I confess I’m a bit behind. Fans of Karin Slaughter and the Will Trent series will love this story but I also thinks it works well as a stand-alone if you’ve never read any of her work before. My advice, start with her first novel Blindsighted, it’s absolutely fantastic and highly unputdownable. Will Trent doesn’t appear until Triptych, but you’ll be a big fan before then anyway.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

NEXT SHORT STORY: Malvern Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro from the collection Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall