Publisher: William Morrow

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Questionable Women, Dirty Cops and Murder in The Kept Woman

November 18, 2016 Book Review, reviews 1

Questionable Women, Dirty Cops and Murder in The Kept WomanThe Kept Woman (Will Trent, #8) by Karin Slaughter
Published by William Morrow on September 20th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 461
Source: purchased
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A couple of days ago I took Karin Slaughter’s latest book, The Kept Woman, outside to read for just a bit. I only planned to read for an hour or so, but three hours later I had to finally move inside because the sun was going down so fast I couldn’t see the words to read!

Karin Slaughter is brilliant when it comes to pacing and plot. The Kept Woman is #8 in her Will Trent series based in Atlanta, Georgia. Normally I prefer to read the all the books in the series, in order. But with Karin Slaughter I will make an exception! Believe it or not, I did not start reading her books until the standalone Coptown came out. This is only my third novel by Slaughter and she’s become one of those authors I will automatically buy.

Back to Will Trent ~ oh my goodness what a flawed man he is! He grew up in the foster care system, married his teenage sweetheart, Angie Polaski, who also happened to be in foster care with him. The novel begins with a gruesome murder of a cop no one liked or respected in an abandoned club being built by a basketball star who got off on a rape charge. While investigating the crime scene they figure out Angie was involved and is critically injured. Will loses it in front of his ME girlfriend and goes on a frantic search for Angie.

[Tweet “Brilliant pacing and plot in this thriller! “]

I plan to go back and read the previous seven books in this series. If those are half as good as The Kept Woman, I may come up for air in a few weeks! Learning the background of how and why Will and Angie became the people they are is sad and realistic. Their childhood is in stark contrast with that of Sara, the Medical Examiner. I’ve noticed in the three books of Slaughter’s I’ve read so far, crimes against women and children are the focus. She does a fantastic job of bringing awareness to the pitfalls of the foster care system; the hard-to-explain cycle of abuse in domestic violence situations; the flawed police who investigate crimes and finally, the resilience of some children after surviving horrific circumstances.

The Kept Woman is one of those thrillers that you can’t put down. Every page is another revelation. There are underlying plot points that surprised me even though I figured out who the killer was early on. Karin Slaughter knows Atlanta well, writing about Buckhead and downtown with equal aplomb. Highly recommended with one caveat:

Trigger warning ~ The Kept Woman addresses crimes against women and children. Please be aware before going into this book if these types of triggers are detrimental to your well-being.

If you like The Kept Woman, you may also enjoy One Kick by Chelsea Cain or The Fixer by T.E. Woods

four-half-stars

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Book Review: The Hurricane Sisters

June 24, 2014 Book Review, reviews 5

Book Review:  The Hurricane SistersThe Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank
Published by William Morrow on June 3rd, 2014
Genres: chick-lit, Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

 

The Hurricane Sisters follows three generations of women living in Charleston and adjacent Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.  As in any family, this one has its share of dysfunctions, secrets and drama.  The novel opens with the celebration of Maisie’s 80th birthday – mother to Liz and grandmother to Ivy {childhood nickname from his  Clayton Bernard Waters, IV} and his younger sister, Ashley.  Ivy escaped the family drama and emotional digs by moving to San Francisco, but when he brings his partner both in business and in life to the birthday celebration, mom and dad cannot help but express their disapproval of his lifestyle.

The same is true for Ashley.  She is living in her parent’s beach house on Sullivan’s Island with roommate and best friend, Mary Beth {for free}.  Both girls are only making around $10/hour in their respective jobs although roommate Mary Beth has her teaching degree and Ashley “wasted” her time in college studying art.  Clayton and Liz express their disapproval of daughter and Ashley’s seemingly wasting her life away {and parental financial support} by working in an art gallery and painting in the shed behind the beach house.

Grandmother Maisie gets her shots in by being overly supportive of her grandkids and their choices and by bringing up her deceased daughter and Liz’s sister, Juliet, in every other sentence.  This, of course, leads Liz to be extremely jealous and even more combative towards her mother and hateful to her daughter.

Whew! With a family like that who needs enemies, right?

Father Clayton does some kind of investment work in New York City during the week and is home in Charleston on the weekends.  Mother Liz works for the local domestic violence shelter and is quite passionate about her work with the shelter.   Clayton and Liz hired 60 years young debonair, Skipper, to be Maisie’s driver and helpmate but to their mortification, Skipper becomes Maisie’s young stud and moves in with her {the announcement is made at Maisie’s birthday dinner!}.

Just your average southern family.

I really wanted to like this one.  I’ve only read one of Frank’s fifteen novels, Shem Creek, probably a hundred years ago and remember enjoying it, and everything I’ve ever read is so glowing about Dottie Frank’s novels.  I just knew I would love this one.

But.

Perhaps it’s that I’ve been reading more literary fiction rather than contemporary women’s fiction?  I found the dialogue to be grating and stilted.  I understand how the slang words used were part of the storyline, but overall the conversations between the characters {in my opinion} just did not seem real or to flow well.  What does “YOLO” mean anyways? I have an 18, 20, and 22 year old and they don’t talk like that.  At all.

The point of view disagreed with me.  While typically I enjoy hearing from different characters, The Hurricane Sisters had Maisie, Clayton, Liz, and Ashley all taking on different chapters and talking to the reader as if we were sitting in a bar and they were disclosing their most intimate family secrets to me, a perfect stranger.  For example, Clayton’s chapter begins with “Sorry to interrupt but you need to know my story too.”

The neat wrap-up, during an almost hurricane no less, did not seem to be plausible, and it felt rushed – as if Frank had run out of steam with the story.

The things I DID like about The Hurricane Sisters are solid and shows Frank’s ability to know her characters.

The research Frank did into domestic violence was spot on.  The grooming and mind control of a victim;  the victim second and third guessing her own judgment; family members discounting or not recognizing signs and perpetrators being the least expected guy in the room.  Frank did an excellent job showing how even the brightest person can fall under the spell of a sweet-tongued devil.

Another aspect of the novel that resonated with me {probably because of the age of my own children} was the push and pull of Ashley and her parents regarding parental support.  At what point do you push your babies out of the nest and expect them to fly?  Frank really got it with her ability to show the relationship of allowing your child to grow up, stepping back as a parent while learning to be that parent to your adult children.  does that make sense? Much different from being a parent to a 10 year old that’s for sure!

Dorothea Benton Frank is the loveliest of authors – I was fortunate to attend a luncheon with her recently and was completely charmed by her.  Which makes not loving this book the much harder to actually share with you.  With that said, please do tell me in the comments above what you thought of this one if you’ve read it.  Goodreads is filled with positive reviews of The Hurricane Sisters so please do check out some of the other opinions.

What was the last book you read that you expected to enjoy but really just didn’t?  

Was it by an author you truly like and admired?  

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Misperceptions

March 31, 2014 Book Talk 5

MisperceptionsThe Idea of Him by Holly Peterson
Published by William Morrow on April 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

 

Being a part of From Left to Write Book Club has challenged me in wonderful ways. With each book we “review” our task is to not write the typical review but to write about something from the novel that resonated. With The Idea of Him I have a plethora of topics to choose from, and each even more personal than the last.

 

Something I believe we can all relate to in one way or another is having the wrong perception of events.  For those of you with siblings ~ have you ever talked about a situation from growing up and each of you have a completely different version of the very same story?

My brothers are both younger than I am by 4 and 8 years respectively. I call them Little Brother and Baby Brother affectionately because at my height of 5’1 and there’s at 6’4 & 6’2, it’s fun to introduce them that way. And oh my when we take pictures together they always stick me in the middle ~ I’m never certain if it’s to accentuate their height or my shortness ~ either way though, it works!

Our parents divorced when I was 9, Little Brother 5, and Baby Brother 1. Most of our childhood was spent with our mom who we all know {now} loves us equally; however, while we were growing up we took turns believing each other was loved more. It’s become the family joke that Baby Brother is the Golden Child and loved the very most with Little Brother coming in a close second.

It wasn’t til I was grown with three children of my own I finally realized how our mom loved each of us, unconditionally, unequivocally, without a doubt, in equal measure.  What I came to realize is that all the times she told me she focused more on one of us for any season it was because the other two were doing ok and did not need her full attention.  Not that she ever ignored any of us, it’s just whichever one of us needed her the most got the most attention for that time period.  For example, when I had an almost fatal car accident at 18 it was my season to have my mom’s undivided attention.

I get that now and I believe my brothers understand as well as they each have multiple children of their own.  It’s funny how our perception of any given situation can change over time and with a bit more information, and yeah, probably maturity as well.

We are not always given the gift of time, information or maturity in the throes of interpreting a situation.  All the more reason to keep an open mind, compassionate heart and closed mouth until situations can be understood.  A lesson I continue to learn and hope to have mastered before I reach a hundred 😉

buddhaquote

This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April 1st we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.  Happy reading my friends!

 

 

 

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