Slaughter's 'PRETTY GIRLS' Requires a New Level of Praise

Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
PRETTY GIRLS by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter writes good books. That is a given. But the fact is Karin Slaughter writes exceptional books and more people need to give her credit for that. The reason she is so good is she is so creative, inventively creative. She invents her unique plot and then she creates fantastic characters to bring it to life. Never has that been more on display than in her latest novel PRETTY GIRLS.

In PRETTY GIRLS her plot is through the roof. A nineteen year old girl goes out for a night in the college town of Athens, Georgia and disappears. She leaves behind a mother, father and two sisters. How this "disappearance" impacts her family is the core of this book, and the impact is much more than just grief.

In order to realistically tell this story Slaughter focuses an unflinching eye on the occurrences, and where other writers would see a stop sign, Slaughter forges boldly ahead. Some may say her descriptions are too graphic but I applaud her for making these scenes real. You can not be a passive observer and read this book. You are brought into all the full revelations.

Though the story has a large amount of violent content it also has scenes of unparalleled beauty. This beauty comes out in the relationships on display. You get to witness a father's undying love for his daughters; a mother's effort to rebuild relationships she has destroyed; and two sisters learning the meaning of true forgiveness.

Karin Slaughter's novels have depth. It has always been there in her books but in PRETTY GIRLS it is presented from the very start. There is so much passion, poignancy, humor and horror that the pages overflow. This is not a short novel but even with its length the reader finds it ends much too quickly. You have grown to know these people and you want to know more.

When a writer has a series of stories in progress such as "The Grant County" collection and the "Will Trent" books, the introduction of a stand alone novel can be seen as an unnecessary interruption. But PRETTY GIRLS is a novel of such uniqueness that Slaughter's faithful readers will totally embrace it and gobble it up.

PRETTY GIRLS is one of the year's most fascinating stories, told with the creatively inventive touch of a true master of suspense. It is also a story that will stay with you for a long time after you have closed its pages. You will hate yourself for remembering the gore but you will celebrate recalling the beauty of the relationships.

I have long praised the books of Karin Slaughter, PRETTY GIRLS however requires praise at a new level.

PRETTY GIRLS is published by William Morrow. It contains 394 pages and sells for $27.99.

Jackie K Cooper