I received The Good Daughter in exchange for an honest review
Karin Slaughter is an author I’d seen around for a while, but I’d never got around to picking up one of her books until now. I don’t know why it took me so long, because from the first few pages of this book I could tell this was a seasoned, skilled writer; her story jumps off the page and draws you in immediately.
The book opens in 1989, as young sisters Charlotte and Samantha are preparing for dinner. There’s no slow build-up here, we jump straight to action as the family evening is interrupted with a home intrusion which has devastating consequences.
Fast-forward 28 years later, and the sisters are living separate lives as they’ve moved on from their traumatic childhoods as best they can. They have both forged successful careers as lawyers, but yet more tragic events in their hometown force the two to come back together and confront their past in a dramatic courtroom drama.
This plot summary might sound fairly similar to other books of this genre, but the simple fact is that Karin Slaughter is a master of her craft. She breathes life into her characters and I was so invested in the two sisters’ characters and the small town life that I could barely put the book down. The author deftly weaves together multiple strands of mystery and tragedy – including murder, rape and a school shooting – spanning almost three decades. It’s emotional, intense and powerful reading; the traumatic events are portrayed so well that they feel disturbingly real, and the dual mysteries both from the past and present day are skillfully unravelled with writing which kept me on tenterhooks.
The Good Daughter has a little bit of everything; it’s a small town mystery, courtroom drama and dysfunctional family saga all rolled in together. It’s the best of both; a character-driven and plot-driven story; it’s definitely one of my favourite novels of this genre I’ve read in a good while, and it might even be a contender for one of my favourite books of the year.