Criminal – Karin Slaughter | Review

Karin Slaughter Criminal Book Cover Kindle

No major spoilers, I promise! 

September has been a busy month for me which means I’ve only had chance to read two books, one of which is Karin Slaughter’s Criminal.

This time last year I read Fallen, which is the third book in the Georgia series, and I fully intended to the start of the series and read Undone. While I had very good intentions of doing that, I really wanted to know how things went with Will and Sara so instead of reading the first book in the series I picked up the fourth.

The story kicks off with the body of a college girl being found in a way which echoes a case from 30 years ago and main character Will Trent is confused and frustrated to find out that his boss Amanda Wagner won’t let him work on the case and demotes him to Airport duty.

Hours later he finds his boss Amanda Wagner snooping around the Children’s Home where he grew up, which results in yet more frustration, confusion and minor injuries after he spent hours scouring the basement for whatever Amanda was looking for.

From previous books we’re well aware that he has an unpleasant past, something he’s still trying to come to terms with 30-odd years later and in Criminal we get to find out all the gory details.

The book is told from multiple points of view, combining the past and the present with points of view from victims, Will, Amanda and his girlfriend Sara.

Points of view from the past look at how the original case was solved with Amanda and her partner Evelyn heading their first case, much to their colleagues disapproval. Her point of view also explores what life was like for a female Police Officer in Georgia in the 1970s and we get to learn a lot more about Amanda and Evelyn. (Evelyn is Will’s partner, Faith’s, Mother)

I won’t go into any more details though as I don’t want to ruin it for you, however I can tell you it’s a gripping read.

If you’ve read any of my previous book reviews you’ll know I’m a fan of multiple perspectives as it can really add to a story, however with so many victims it did get confusing sometimes and I found myself having to back track to remind myself who was who. Though fair play to Slaughter she pulled off multiple perspectives pretty well. (I hesitate to say perfectly because the sheer amount was tricky to keep up with.)

As well as learning about Will Criminal does a lot to explain why Amanda is the way she is. She comes across as a steely, hardened woman who can sometimes be too harsh on Will so it’s refreshing and weird to see her as a young vulnerable woman.

Immediately after finishing the book  I felt that a little too much time was spent in the past but on reflection it seems that the real story was actually the crime being solved in the past and was a clever way for us to learn more about Will and Amanda without it being talked out in a psychologists office or something cheesy or predictable like that.

Overall it’s a great  read and Slaughter managed to weave the past and present together brilliantly and even threw in a few twists to keep us hooked.

As I always do after finishing a book I visit Goodreads to see what other readers thought and there seem to be quite a few of Slaughters fans saying this they like this one the least or it’s her worst book. If this is her worst book, I can’t wait to read her best.

I’ve only read two of Slaughter’s books but after finishing both of them I’ve felt sad that it was over and excited to read the rest, so I best work my way through my ‘to read’ pile pretty sharp-ish.

If you’re a fan of crime and mystery, I’d definitely recommend this. You don’t need to have read any of the previous novels in the series, however the first book is probably a good place to start. (I should follow my own advice)

4 out of 5

If you’ve read Criminal, or any other Karin Slaughter novel let me know what you think. Also if you have any recommendations for books (of any genre) I’d love to hear them.