Title: Pretty Girls
Author: Karin Slaughter
Age Group: Adult
Series: N/A, standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
God. I just finished this book, and to say that my feelings are mixed is a major understatement. Did I like it? Most definitely. Was it scary and screwed up and dark and twisted? You bet. And to add to my confusing ambivalence, this is my first novel by runaway favorite thriller writer, Karin Slaughter. (Though, to be honest, I have to admit that Gillian Flynn and Tess Gerritsen's praise on the back cover did influence my decision to pick it up.) Where do I even begin with Pretty Girls? A thriller hasn't affected me so deeply in a long, long time. I love them, it's actually one of my favorite genres, but more often than not I can figure it out when I'm not even halfway through, which really puts me off.
But Pretty Girls was so much more than a thriller. It is a thriller, but at its heart lies the Carroll family, which after the disappearance of its eldest daughter, Julia, falls apart. Sisters Claire and Lydia haven't spoken for more than two decades, and each woman has her own life. Claire is the trophy wife of Paul Scott, and Lydia is a single mom and recovering addict. Thrown together after another tragedy throws Claire's life into chaos, they realize that dark secrets lie buried, waiting to be uncovered. But the two women just might be in way, way over their heads...
As I said, this book--I loved some parts of it, others, not so much. I love a novel with characters that I can relate to, and are likable, but this book took it over the top with me--it was like the characters bled right off the page, as real as you and I. It kind of scared me, because it takes special kind of talent to do that. I loved the pacing--I was sucked into the novel as soon as it began, and I couldn't put it down. When I had to, I was thinking about it constantly. I loved Lydia, but honestly, for the first part of the novel, I didn't like Claire--it took time for her to grow on me. A lot of the characters in this book made a deep impression on me, though not all of them are likable, so Slaughter did her job right.
Thrillers are usually hard to sell for me, but this book literally had so many secrets, twists, turns, and darkness that I was constantly gasping, or on the end of my seat, practically biting my nails as I continued. I really enjoyed this dark, frightening ride--it was a fantastic mystery that constantly kept me guessing, but I wasn't crazy about the constant graphic violence. In fact, I had to literally force myself to put down the book and remind myself that it was just a novel. It was so dark and gritty and infinitely painful--if I wasn't freaking out, I was on the verge of tears. This book gutted me and stomped on my heart, and left me to bleed, in the best kind of way. The bottom line: A dark, delightfully creepy thriller, hardcore horror and suspense fans will love Karin Slaughter's Pretty Girls! I will never forget this book! Next on deck: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke!