I think I was hooked on Karin Slaughter right from her very first book. She has the ability to create scenarios that contain the worst and the best of people, characters that you either love or hate, even when you perhaps shouldn’t. As with any long standing series, it can become stale and repetitive yet Slaughter manages to avoid that trap, unafraid to say goodbye to major and much loved characters because it makes sense in the story rather than using a get-out clause that make some characters seem invulnerable.
Criminal is a story told in two time periods and is a very personal one to Will Trent. His history with Amanda Wagner has always been confusing to him (and the reader), and finally, we have the answer!
We see Amanda as a fresh faced young woman, in a time when women were expected to marry and stay at home, not become police officers. The attitudes of the time were appalling but it really gave you an insight into what makes her tick and why she is how she is now. As a character I really disliked up until now, it was a surprising turnaround for me.
Will is really at a crisis point, in a relationship with Sara Linton but still unable to open up, to let her into his past, one that he doesn’t even understand himself until events start unravelling and he has no choice but to follow.
Sara is as likeable as ever, strong and determined but with her own flaws. She dealt with many of them in past books so while her presence wasn’t at the fore in this story, it was a necessary one.
The pace, as always in a Slaughter book, is unrelenting but the switch between the different time periods provided a much welcome pause for breath. Criminal’s plot is thoroughly enjoyable and I was on the edge of my seat wondering if Amanda could solve the current case, and if everyone would be able to deal with the outfall. Tense stuff!
I admire Karin Slaughter’s writing ability a great deal, her books are easy to read and understandable but with no lessening of impact or shock in core scenes. She conjures up crime scenes that give me a visceral reaction and once I start reading, I can’t stop. Criminal was no exception and a brilliant addition to the series. I just want more, and given the last page, it’s going to be another gripping book!