An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
By Karin Slaughter
Narrators: Jennifer Woodward,
Robert G Slade
Publisher: Random Audiobooks
Publication Date: 7/2/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars ++
S T E L L A R ! “Top Books of 2015”
#1 international bestselling author Karin Slaughter, returns following sensational 2014 COP TOWN, landing on my Top 20 books of 2014 with PRETTY GIRLS, an award-winning riveting psychological crime thriller of INTENSE suspense. A roller-coaster wild ride with sex, violence, grit, secrets, betrayal, redemption, and ultimately the strong love of family.
Three sisters, one of them missing and two of them estranged — and the special bonds that unite them.
The Carrolls, an ordinary Southern family, in Atlanta, Georgia area, has suffered grief, loss, and tragedy. Twenty-four years ago, a traumatic disappearance of a daughter, a sister; Julia----an experience ultimately changing the course of each member of the family. Her body has never been found.
Sam, the father a successful veterinarian, has been obsessed with finding his oldest daughter, Julia. He loves his wife, and all his daughters and will stop at nothing to hold his family together. Through media contacts, psychics, private detectives, cops, FBI, determination, and their life savings, all in vain—attempting, to find answers to a mystery surrounding a daughter who went missing with no leads.
Helen, a librarian, loves her husband and daughters; however, she has to move on and she cannot do so with her current husband and his obsession. They divorce and she remarries, but has never stopped loving her husband and grieving for her family. However, she still keeps the house and room untouched waiting for her daughter’s appearance.
Julia’s two younger sisters have been scarred for life. Lydia Delgado has suffered in many ways, from an earlier teen rape, which no one in her family believed. Causing an estrangement with her sister Claire and her family.
Lydia has sold drugs and used her body for drugs, suffering abuse, having lived a hard life. (my favorite character). However, now she has been clean for years, with a teen daughter, Dee, and living with an ex-con, Rick. They both are in recovery, and she has learned from her experiences. She has taught her daughter to be a survivor; to be street-smart, as she wants her to be able to protect herself.
Claire Scott, lives a different life. She is married to Paul, a successful rich architect, residing in the suburbs of Atlanta in Dunwoody. She wants for nothing. Her OCD controlling husband has everything lined up and perfect in their mansion, garage, and a lineup of cars, maids, and everything which goes along with a luxury lifestyle.
However, Claire still has a little of bad-ass underneath her designer shoes, and clothes. She recently had a run in with a rich bitch tennis partner, and did a little number with her tennis racket and the opponent’s knees, leaving her with an ankle monitoring bracelet. The evening Claire’s ankle bracelet comes off, they are to celebrate her rise beyond the justice system, when Paul is murdered in front of her eyes.
Afterwards, she begins searching for clues on his computer which leads to a trail of porn, violence, deceit, and lies. Who was this man? Eighteen years of loving a man, now gone. She knows he likes to control things, but porn? In the meantime, when she visits the cemetery, she runs into her estranged sister, Lydia. The two sisters have not spoken in years; as they do not live or run in the same circles.
Soon the sisters become an unstoppable team bonded by love and determination. Involved in a search to find answers to Paul’s past, they face danger, along with violence, evil, and corrupt authorities in a sick sadist game, both are threatened as they become closer to uncovering the truth. Will they survive, and possibly find answers to their long ago missing sister's disappearance?
While anxiously awaiting the, “much talked about” PRETTY GIRLS, I was delighted to discover it was hitting the US earlier, than the anticipated Sept release date. When I saw the Audible pre-order for July, I thought it was "Christmas come early"! Could not hit “purchase” fast enough. I dropped all current readings and my work; everything was put to the side, glued to my iPod until THE END. Impressive!
PRETTY GIRLS is “everything” you expect from Karin, plus more and more! Imagine her previous work on steroids! If you loved Cop Town, and all her standalones, novellas, her sensational series – Will Trent and Grant County, as much as I have—PRETTY GIRLS, is in a class all its own!
you accomplished everything
you set out to do:
Characters we love (Some we despise)
Southern fiction at its finest
As mentioned by the author, the inspiration behind the book – Without a doubt, she is “On Fire”, and every word flows, with perfect pacing, a kick ass plot, and passion exudes, reflective throughout every page. While her previous books have centered mainly around crime and cops, PRETTY GIRLS takes a front row seat; an inside psychological and emotional view of crime; delving and exploring the actual relationships between the people, sisters, and family, connected by blood, love, and their history. How the crimes have affected all those involved, their relationships, actions, and futures?
As you can see from my status updates while reading. The first portion is Southern fun, sarcasm, and wit, with hilarious one liners, only Karin can do. (if you have lived in Atlanta, you will appreciate the Dunwoody wives and the tennis scene).Whereas, when you move further along towards the mid-part; it becomes extremely intense, complex, with twists and turns, graphic, and a WOW, OMG shock factor. As we approach the ending, you are speechless, with the profound love of a family, between two sisters, the good versus the evil, and oh, the poignant letters and scenes from the father, Sam—Priceless.
The last chapter was so emotional and moving, I had to hit rewind 2 or 3 times. When Sam says, the final three words, “My Pretty Girl”-- I was hanging on his every word. Then there is a moment of brief silence. This is the most moving part of the book, as you reflect. The silence between the words, before the final credits. Let me just say, if you want a mind blowing experience, buy the audio!
The performers Jennifer Woodward, and Robert G Slade —Outstanding! Jennifer was a perfect southern voice for the sisters and mother; whereas Robert was totally amazing. His voice was so captivating, soothing, and emotional for a perfect Sam-the father, with his heartfelt letters to his daughter (s). And oh, so evil with Paul, and the other sadistic characters. What a broad range- It is worth the 14 hrs. 30 min. One of the best audiobooks and a perfect match between author and narrators.Now, if we can get a film for Cop Town and Pretty Girls, and a TV series with Will Trent, will make many fans very happy.
PRETTY GIRLS has been added to my "Top 20 Books for 2015"! Not only does Karin deliver all the sex, violence, graphic scenes, thrills, mystery, suspense, and crime scenes you come to expect, she also delivers a stunning inside look at family, love, sisters, and strong unwavering love between father and daughters.
I was unaware there was a prequel until I ran across an audio video from Karin. BLONDE HAIR, BLUE EYES. I go immediately to Amazon to purchase the kindle book; however, even though it gives an earlier pub date, when you click on order, it takes you to a different cover for a pre-order; not available until 8/18. Appears in the US we get to read PRETTY GIRLS first, and the prequel afterwards at a later date. I look forward to learning more about the back story of Julia.
Buy it, read it, love it. Sounds as though we will get a new Will Trent series, coming soon, “The Kept Woman”. Cannot wait!