When it comes to a series that features enigmatic characters, this one (officially called the "Will Trent Series") is right at the top of the list. I've not read all of them, but the ones I have read have been outstanding. The crimes in these novels are usually pretty graphic and grisly, but the real attraction is a cast of about six or seven that each gets a turn or two being the star of the show. The females are true forces of nature...strong-willed, tenacious, professional, admirable. You want to meet these women, you want to BE these women.
Last summer, AudioGo offered me the opportunity to review "Fallen" on audio. They popped in this summer to once again allow me to review the next installment "Criminal" on audio as well. They have also volunteered a giveaway as well, so stick around at the end for details!
Synopsis: Will Trent is one of those guys who is tough to get to know. He is an excellent agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he grew up an orphan, he is still married to Angie (fellow orphan and whack job), he is dyslexic, and in love with Sara Linton, a pediatrician. But of his past? Will has always been very private about that.
Until now. Will's history all comes bubbling to the surface when his father, a convicted murderer, is released from prison and a female student goes missing. We travel back forty years to Atlanta's underbelly in the 1970's, when Will's boss Amanda Wagner and her colleague Evelyn Mitchell are just starting their careers in the police force. Back to when women were supposed to be secretaries, when membership in the KKK is compulsory for police officers, and when missing prostitutes like Lucy Bennett are not a concern. They ARE a concern for Amanda and Evelyn however, but little to they know that in their determination to carve out a place for themselves in a man's world, their first case will have implications for the rest of their lives.
My thoughts: It seems like some of my favorite series (Jack Reacher and the Prey series for example) are turning our attention back to the genesis of the characters. Which I absolutely love. It is highly meaningful to find yourself suddenly privy to the backgrounds of protagonists that already feel like friends. In this case, we not only learn about HOW Will became an orphan, and the significance of those who protected him while we was growing up, but the precarious ladder that Amanda and Evelyn had to climb to get where they are. It is a tribute to the women who battled and survived the sexism and discrimination during a time when feminism in the South was almost non-existent.
Slaughter has done a tremendous amount of research in order to effectively transport us back to the Atlanta of the mid-70's. In fact, just to fuel our fire, she has even built a microsite that includes photos of various locations around Atlanta from the 70's and current day, advertisements and music from the 70's, and even interviews of female police officers back during that period. Check it out, it is amazing.
Another attraction for me with this series is the palpable chemistry between Will and Sara. Slaughter has really developed this story line well. The interaction between the two is authentic and is a relationship you find yourself rooting for.
BY FAR, this is the best I've read in the series. It is gripping from beginning to end, it is slimy and dark, and is inspirational and touching. You could absolutely start the series with this novel, but will mean so much more to those who know and love Will, Sara, Amanda, Faith and Evelyn.
A few words about the audio production: This is the first time I've listened to Kathleen Early as a narrator, but she did a phenomenal job. There doesn't seem to be any consistency in the choice of narrators for Slaughter's books, but I'd be thrilled if they stuck with Early from here on out. Here is a sample if you would like to hear what I'm talking about:
Listening length: 15 hours and 35 minutes (448 pages)
Giveaway: For those in the US, I will be offering a giveaway of two copies of this audio book. Please indicate your interest in the comments, as well as your e-mail address, and I will announce the winners on July 27th.
4.5 out of 5 stars