The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Sad,  sad, sad.  Slaughter writes well using some creative devices and she contrives some interesting plots.  The trouble is that some of the material is so graphic and gory it’s ugly –  and  somewhat gratuitous (because it wouldn’t have to be there).  Also,  she has no problem with getting into realistic sex –  or at least sex talk.   Furthermore,  she pads up a good crime story with the gut-wrenching emotional issues of the protagonists.  (It’s trash.)

I read Slaughter’s  book Fallen several years ago and although the storyline and writing were good,  it got a bit too graphically gritty and sexy/romantic for my tastes.  Nevertheless,  when her new one,  The Good Daughter,  was chosen as a discussion read in the 4-MA group I decided to give her another go.    Okay fine –  it’s a good story well told, but unfortunately filled with what I guess is the usual extra crap.

The first part – a very long Prologue – is pretty gritty and there’s some ugly talk,  but it was manageable.   The wife and daughters of a good but despised local defense attorney are ambushed in their own home and mom dies.  There’s more but no spoilers.)    This was in 1989.

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*******
The Good Daughter
by Karin Slaughter
2017 / 528 pages
read by Kathleen Early –  17h 52m
rating: B  /   Crime  (gritty)
*******  

Twenty-eight years later,  in 2017,   Charlotte (Charlie) Quinn,  one of the victims of the attack,  is a married-but-separated defense attorney in Pikeville, the same town she grew up in.  One day she has reason to visit her recent one-night stand where he teaches and gets involved in a school shooting with rabid cops and innocent by-standers.   The school principal and a little girl,  Lucy Alexander,  are killed.

So Mason Huckabee,  the man Charlie went to see was right there on the scene, too.    Old memories and new dangers attack all at once.   And it doesn’t let up. Charlie finds herself interrogated as a witness and her own past interferes with her recent experience.    

To make matters worse, Ben Bernard,  Charlie’s estranged husband,  who another defense attorney,   is pretty shaken when he finds Charlie was at the school and when he understands why she was there he’s  outraged.    There are parts which turn into steamy romance.   Yuk.

Meanwhile,  Rusty Quinn,  Charlie’s widower father,  is still practicing law,  but he’s mostly concerned with television and fame.  He’s not exactly pronto for his daughter’s case.

Then in Part  Samantha (Sam) Quinn re-enters the picture.  Charlie’s sister,  Sam was a part of the first shooting in which their mother died.   So we have to revisit the opening scene from Sam’s point of view.   At this point,  in the current time,  she’s an attorney  and a widow who has stayed away from Pikeville both at her late mother’s advice and also because there is nothing but horrible memories for her there.

But now starts the bit of legal story included.  There isn’t much but there is a flavor sometimes.   How to best protect the rights of young Kelly Wilson who has been arrested for the school shooting?   Kelly is a a very innocent young woman,  barely 18 years old,  and she’s a slow learner with an IQ of about 75.   There are more twists all the way to the end.

The book is too long and emotionally draining.  Slaughter knows all the tricks to keep the suspense up and give breathing room between high points.  Kathleen Early is a great reader for this type of thing.   I think there is just so much intensity packed into the book – and it’s raw stuff.  –  Meanwhile she’s a good writer so …

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