Book Review: The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

Rating 3 Star

The Good DaughterSynopsis: 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…

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Trigger warning: This book mentions rape. In addition, the book itself has a heavy focus on rape.

Firstly, let me say that Karin Slaughter is my favourite crime/thriller author, after Chris Carter. I LOVE her books, so I really struggled with my rating for this one. In all honestly, I think it’s because I expect so much from her and this book didn’t really feel like it was up to her usual standards. Maybe if it was by a different author, I would have provided a higher rating… but this book fell a bit short for me, especially seeing as I have been looking forward to it for ages.

So, what is it about? 28 years ago, Samantha and Charlotte Quinn’s happy family life is torn apart when mask intruders break into their house. Their mother is murdered in front of them and then they are led into the woods by the intruders. One manages to escape…. The other one doesn’t…

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Rusty Quinn is a liberal lawyer who believes that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. He often defends innocent black people (which doesn’t go down too well with the small town he lives in), and rapists (which goes down even worse). Naturally, his line of work has gained him his fair share of enemies. One night, two mask intruders break into his house expecting Rusty to be there. But he’s not. His wife is murdered and his daughters, Samantha and Charlotte, are led into the woods by the intruders. One manages to escape while the other one is left behind.

Fast forward 28 years and we learn that Charlotte (Charlie) has followed in her father’s footsteps and is now a lawyer. But one day, she is involved in a violent crime that shocks the whole town. It unleashes the horrible memories that she’s spent so long trying to forget and it means that she is forced to face her past, whether she likes it or not. The thing is….. she only knows half of the shocking crime that ripped her family apart all those years ago…..

 

This book felt like Karin Slaughter was trying out a fresh writing style. I’m used to her books being filed with action and cliff-hangers. And whilst this book did have that, it felt like it had more of a psychological twist. Her books usually tend to be gruesome, but this book was on a whole new level of gruesome. Towards the end of the book, there is a detailed account of a grown man raping a child. It made me feel sick and I had to skip past it. It was just too detailed and I’m not entirely sure it was necessary. In my opinion, calming down on the gruesome details wouldn’t take anything away from the plot…

In addition, I had a problem with the suspense. It felt more low-key than usual. There were no ‘OH GOD, I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING’ moments, which was a bit of a downer.

Also, I have a major issue with part of the plot. Why did no one seem to give a damn that an innocent man had been killed by the police for a crime that he didn’t commit!? They just brushed over it and tried to justify it by claiming that because he was part of a rough neighbourhood, he would definitely turn out to be a dangerous criminal at some point. Really!? How is that fair!?

There were some good elements to this book. I really like the family dynamics between Rusty, Samantha and Charlotte, but the rest of the negatives overshadowed it a bit. Like I said, if this was from a different author it would probably be a 4/5 for me…. But when you’ve been looking forward to a new release from one of your favourites authors and it turns out to be average, it’s so disappointing

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