Friday, January 31, 2020

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Reviewed by Kristin

Series books are hard to review. Characters’ back stories can arc through several books, and when done well they can be delightful. A good author creates believable characters for the reader to love, or to hate. People who evoke those strong feelings even when they are fictional—this is what makes a series worth reading for me. Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent and medical examiner Sara Linton are two of those characters whose stories I find worth revisiting every year or so when a new book in the series is released. (Not to mention, Karin Slaughter keeps the action coming fast and furious.)

Will Trent is one of those flawed characters who I always find myself rooting for. He had a rough childhood as an orphan in the Atlanta Children’s Home; he was dependent on Angie Polaski, a fellow survivor who he eventually married although her manipulation of him was somewhere between sociopathic and psychopathic; his dyslexia is a secret that he keeps from almost everyone, but somehow he manages to do his job as a GBI agent and do it well.

At this point in the series (Spoilers ahead! Stop reading this review if you are still early in the list!) Will is romantically involved with Sara, a doctor who has had more than her share of tragedy as the widow of a police officer. Sara and Will actually have a healthy relationship, although they are still learning to communicate with each other. Will works with fellow agent Faith Mitchell and they both are kept on their toes by Amanda Wagner, their well-seasoned GBI supervisor who knows everything, and everyone.

Now to address just a little of the plot in The Last Widow:  Michelle Spivey is a wife, a mother, and a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. One hot summer evening, the thirty-nine year old woman is shoved into an unmarked white van in a parking lot right in front of her pre-teen daughter. A month later, two explosions turn the Emory campus into a war zone scene with bodies littering the ground. The GBI is quickly on the case drawing connections between the seemingly unrelated incidents. The investigation takes them from ground zero of the explosions to the north Georgia mountains and beyond. Sara is drawn into the action as the bombers need a doctor, whisking her away to a mountainous compound where something deadly is lurking. Will is determined to find Sara. At any cost.

Slaughter introduced Sara in the Grant County series and Will in the self-titled Will Trent series, with a merging in the 2009 book Undone. If you’d like to start from the beginning, or in the middle, or in whatever book you can find on the library or virtual shelves, here’s a list to help you try to keep things straight.

Grant County
1.       Blindsighted
2.      Kisscut
3.      A Faint Cold Fear
4.      Indelible
5.      Faithless
6.      Beyond Reach
7.      Undone

Will Trent
1.       Triptych
2.      Fractured
3.      Undone
4.      Broken
5.      Fallen
6.      Criminal
7.      Unseen
8.     The Kept Woman
9.      The Last Widow
10.  The Silent Wife (2020)

And just to add to the fun, while making this list I discovered that Slaughter teamed up with Lee Child to write a short story titled Cleaning the Gold involving Jack Reacher and Will Trent. Excuse me while I go make a request for that title….

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