Book Title: The Kept Woman
Author: Karin Slaughter
Series: Will Trent #8
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Date Read: 09/08/16
Pub Date: 09/20/16
With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.
Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.
Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.
But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.
Alright, I know not everyone out there is a Karin Slaughter fan, but those people are wrong and clearly not to be trusted. All kidding aside, most everyone familiar with Ms. Slaughter’s work knows that she can be counted on for violence, gore, and disturbing content. The Kept Woman provides all of the above, yet delivers a side dish of softer material as well. As I have had many people contact me saying “This is my first Slaughter book and I wasn’t really feeling it”, I think it’s important to note that this is a TERRIBLE book to pick up as your first read by the author. Her latest is #8 (or, if you feel as I do that Will Trent is technically just is a continuation of the Grant County series, then #13), so if you are picking this up and trying to read it as a standalone, I’d agree that the experience would be absolutely terrible. Like 1 star worthy. This entire book is an installment tying up loose ends from the previous books with major bombshells and character development that would go completely unnoticed and be extremely confusing if picked up without the proper backstory. That said, Slaughter also just isn’t for some people, and I promise to respect that. Back to the review…
I’ll attempt to dodge the minefield of spoilers ahead, as this book is filled with them, so just know this book is way better than I can do it justice in this review. The prologue even starts with a bang; this is one of those stories where you have to try and remember the first chapter, as it comes back around toward the end of the book, just in a less cryptic way. For those who love police procedurals as much as I do, you’re in for a treat because this one was really fun to try and figure out as you go. It’s no give away that the central focus of this book is Angie, and dang it if KS didn’t make me feel the slightest bit of feels for her. We FINALLY get that backstory into Polaski’s secret past; this was by far the most rewarding of her novels since Beyond Reach (OMG Karin I still haven’t forgiven you for that one). It took me a hot minute to warm up to Will Trent after that. Of course he’s been welcomed into the fold, but Angie is like that irritating bug you can’t shake; you finally think you’re rid of her just to find out you need another round of antibiotics. I positively have loathed Angie from her introduction to the series, but she’s one of those that you love to hate and are secretly pleased she keeps popping back in and keeping all the drama ramped up.
In addition to all the Angie bombshells and starting to develop pity for her, this is actually a darn good police procedural. The author has always done thorough research into her plot lines to ensure they are realistic as possible. I’ve lived in Atlanta almost my entire life, so its exciting to read about stories in settings that I’m familiar with and can picture vividly. She consistently brings back some of the best places and introduces us to new ones in each book. The clues are all laid out and there for the solving, although I can never figure out the entire story. While I enjoyed her last two books well enough, the fact that they were standalones made me particularly hungry for a new book in the series, so I think she played her cards well in spacing out her books. The pacing and structure in this one was fantastic; we had changing POV’s in the present, but post crime being committed. Then, after about 200 pages, we jump back in time to the week before the crime from another POV that was present for all the shady, criminal components to get the full story. Once caught up, we flip back to present time to finish out strong. Don’t let this worry you; it sounds confusing but the narrative flowed flawlessly from first to last page. I simply had to limit my wording as to not give away crucial plot points.
There are so many things I want to say about this book and I could ramble on for days, but I’d rather you just read it and see for yourself. DON’T pick this up as a standalone; your life will be over and you’ll be miserable and then I’ll have to say I told you so. DO pre-order, place a hold at the library, send your spouse out to grab this for you (because you are clearly too busy reading other amazing books at home to pick it up yourself), heck AMAZON PRIME MOSES’ BEARD OUT OF THIS because it’s that good. If you are wanting to start the Will Trent series, the first book is called Triptych, but I would recommend going all the way back to Blindsighted (Grant County #1) to fully appreciate the hard work KS has gone to in creating such deep, flawed, relatable characters. I think most fans of the series will be extremely pleased with The Kept Woman; I’ll go back to my Karin Slaughter hangover that I get whenever there are no more KS books to read. 😦
*I received my copy from the publisher via Goodreads Giveaway and was honored to provide an honest review. Many thanks William Morrow Books!