• Keely B

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Violent crime in Georgia...

The only other book I had read of Karin Slaughter's was 'The Good Daughter', so on starting 'The Silent Wife' I had a skewed view that every title was going to be an assessment of another family member!

I was fortunate enough to hear Karin speak alongside Lee Child at a writers' event a few years ago and when asked if she used her family as inspiration for her protagonists, she was very diplomatic (and sensible), denying they were directly depicted, simply stating that every author uses parts of everyone they meet or know as potential material for a story.

Not knowing anything about the Grant County or Will Trent series of books, save the questions that members of the audience asked at the writers' event, I was apprehensive that diving into them at number 10 on Will Trent's list would be detrimental to the enjoyment of the book. It wasn't in the least. In fact, it added to the mental dexterity needed to keep up with the two timelines, beautifully judged in pacing and length, which in turn, added to the tension.

Slaughter is very keen to shine a light on the horrendous crimes perpetrated against women, in particular, but keeping them as real people and not 'just victims'. Crimes have consequences in the memories of those involved that last until their deaths and she is expert at reminding us of this - people are never the same after being the victim of a violent crime.

Which is why it is mystifying that a character in this book who is on edge and suffering a high level of anxiety is picked out by some readers because of her brief obsession with female sanitary items. It was a lovely touch of humour and levity in a dark novel and didn't strike me as 'too much' or out of place. There ARE a bewildering array of products out there and in a moment of desperate need combined with mental anguish, it struck me as all too true. And funny. Sometimes, I think moments of humour in the darkest of plots are severely underrated.

Keep being funny, Karin. And astute and observant and oh so clever.

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