Title: The Good Daughter
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: 13th July 2017
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
“Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville’s notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case which can’t help triggering the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried for ever … “
The Good Daughter starts with a horrific murder which is suggested to leave a mark on sisters Charlotte and Samantha forever. The first chapter stuns with intensity, suspense and mystery. However, what I didn’t know at the time is that the rest of the book follows suit with some parts even more thrilling than the preface.
“I’ve got to figure out before I die whether I want to be happy or I want to be right.”
After reading the first chapter I knew that I would be hooked and would not be able to put this book down until the end. There was too much unknown which I felt I wanted to understand immediately and although we had only been given a glimpse into Charlotte and Samantha’s lives, I instantly felt a connection to them and a need to find out how the tragic events affected them. Needless to say I got what I wished for as the story line unfolds in a chilling and vivid manner with flashbacks, retellings and snippets of an even more gruesome act of violence that follows.
As far as character growth goes I can undoubtedly agree with other fans that Karin Slaughter is one of the best in the genre. I often find it hard to connect with the main characters in Thrillers as very often the author decides to focus on the plot, however I found myself invested in Charlotte and Samantha’s story lines right from the beginning. It was incredibly interesting to see how their fates after that day twenty-eight years ago took entirely different paths not only based on the event but also their reactions. There was even room to explore the complexity of father-daughter relationships as Samantha is soon reunited with her father, Rusty, after years apart. On the complete opposite end there was also variety in the characters one might expect to find in a small town in southern USA, however still explored with dignity and integrity.
Upon reflection I feel like there was not enough depth in the parallel story line which dominated the present-day plot. The characters involved in the trial were diverse and the hints given throughout on what happened were just enough to keep the reader interested. However, it felt like the backstory rather than the main story line at several points throughout the book. Towards the end a few shocking twists were dropped which shifted the focus from the sisters’ relationship to the current murder investigation and it was at this point where I finally felt like both story lines were as relevant and significant as each other.
Karin Slaughter managed to get just the right balance of complexity and tragedy in The Good Daughter. I was impressed at how the book felt slow and long-winded yet intense and sharp at the same time. This delicate mix gave way for a superb thriller with many wonderful characters and a plot thickened with suspense. This was my first book from this author in years and I was quickly reminded of why she is one of the finest in the genre.