Review: The Good Daughter
Title: The Good Daughter: A Novel
Author: Karin Slaughter
Published: August 22, 2017, William Morrow
Hardcover, 528 pages
From the bestselling author Karin Slaughter, comes a beautiful and aching novel the likes of which are only seen every so often.
Twenty-eight years ago, one family’s lives were changed forever. Rusty Quinn, a defense-lawyer in Pikesville, Georgia, believed that even the worst people deserve a fair trial, for good reason since Pikesville is filled with corrupt prosecutors and semi-incompetent police. This view, along with his occupation, earned him many enemies in this small town.
His daughters, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn, were enjoying a quiet afternoon with their mother when masked gunmen attacked their home, destroying what they held most dear and damaging what they had left.
Year later, Charlie follows in her father’s footsteps as a defense attorney in Pikesville, but Sam leaves town, and the memories, behind forever. That it is until a second tragedy ripples through the community and threatens to rip up secrets that have been buried for nearly thirty years.
I would caution that this book is not for the fainthearted. The opener is horrifying and grisly, full of violent intensity, and it just doesn’t stop. Those sensitive to violent situations, such as graphic depictions of rape, should go into the novel with caution.
This was not a short novel—over 500 pages—and might seem daunting to readers looking for a quick read. Despite it’s length, the pacing holds true. Slaughter manages to write a lengthy psychological thriller that is precisely the right length for this gritty novel. Despite how dark it is, The Good Daughter is not grotesque. It’s aching and heartbreaking and riveting. This book didn’t use violence for shock-value, rather every instance enhanced the reader’s understanding of the characters and situations.
The Good Daughter is not really a thriller in the traditional sense that the book relies on scare tactics or breathtaking gimmicks, nor is it a courtroom drama or legal thriller, which is what I had expected. The Good Daughter is, above all, a character-driven story that is at once complex and well-balanced. Karin Slaughter’s characters leap off the page. They just come to life. You can feel their hostility, their vulnerability, and their passion. I believe this ability to write such real people is what makes Slaughter stand out from the crowd of thriller writers.
Karin Slaughter is a terrific author. Every scene is painted so vividly, every character is so alive. She weaves a magic with her words and this is one spell I’d never want to undo. She is a storyteller who masterfully controls literary devices, such as repetition. With just a few well-chosen words, the same story can change completely.
There are few authors that truly trust their readers. Karin Slaughter is one. Not once did I feel as if I needed to skim through an obvious or needless explanation. Not once did I have to re-read a passage to see what I missed. She builds a relationship with the reader and that is the key to a spellbinding story.
Above all, this is a story of family, of love, of revenge, of secrets, and of reconciliation. I’m thrilled to put in on my shelf.
Recommended for: fans of Tana French and other psychological thrillers
Rating: A/5 Stars