Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenage sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.
Pretty Girls is an exciting story with lots of twists and turns and plenty of mystery. This is a stand alone novel, not one of the Will Trent series, and Karin Slaughter beautifully constructs this story of betrayal, family and, of course, murder.
There are two main narrators in this novel: sisters Claire and Lydia, whose sister Julia disappeared years ago and whose body was never found. We also hear from their father Sam, who is directly addressing daughter Julia directly, and he conveys the raw emotions he’s feeling at her disappearance. All three narratives have their share of emotion and intrigue, as they’ve all suffered in different ways following Julia’s disappearance. I felt the characters in this novel were all believable, though some were far less likable than others, and the main ‘villain’ did seem a little over the top sometimes.
Almost a story of two halves, Pretty Girls starts by concentrating more on the family and the impact Julia’s disappearance had on the the family, whilst the second half switches to a much faster paced, thriller-style story. I really liked both parts but did think to myself that it feels kind of like two different books put together- either way, it works, and the tension continues to increase throughout the second half where the novel definitely moves into more of an ‘action-packed’ territory!
A word of warning- this novel certainly has some dark subject matters in it. I’m usually fine with really gritty storylines but I did flinch a few times whilst reading some of Pretty Girls- not for the faint hearted perhaps? It all added to the story though and meant you were sucked more and more into the cruel and horrifying circumstances in which Julia disappeared.
I felt that this was a great read which manages to shock, thrill and entertain without trying too hard. It’s incredibly entertaining with twists and turns, but I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to give anything away. Whether you’re currently a Karin Slaughter fan or not, give this a go!
** Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this novel in return for an honest review. **
Have you read many of Karin Slaughter’s novels? What did you think?