Last year, I was introduced to the goddess also known as Karin Slaughter through Pretty Girls. If you haven’t read it and enjoy crime/mysteries that go dark side, go get it now. That book reignited my love for the genre (I had been on a YA kick prior). Her writing style was so fantastic, I would even dare say addictive. Naturally, when I saw she released a new read, I had to pick up a copy of The Good Daughter (it didn’t hurt that Amazon had the Kindle version on sale for less than $3 either).
I honestly went into this with very little knowledge of the book’s plot…just the blurb included on Goodreads. I actually think this made me enjoy the story even more, going into it blind. It made every twist, turn, and revelation that much more dramatic, so I highly recommend doing the same. Therefore, I’m just linking the blurb here and I’m going 100% spoiler free on this. If you want the spoilers, feel free to DM me, you rebel you.
First things first, I have no idea how Into the Water beat The Good Daughter for the Goodreads Mystery and Thriller Readers Choice category. Maybe that’s just me? I just wasn’t that impressed with Paula Hawkins latest, and this one was so much more entertaining to me. Now that that’s out of the way…
One of the most impressive parts of this book is that there are two stories, two completely different crimes, and they still seem to seamlessly work together. Ordinarily, authors make the duel crimes parallel (e.g. a murder now, an almost identical murder x years later where the hero/heroine must address the ghosts of their past to unveil the real culprit). While the recent crime does stir up some memories and recollections of the past, it gave the story more richness and depth than a simple, cookie cutter plot (is that a thing? I think I’ve been reading too many crime novels..).
Also, the character development in this book was truly exceptional. You could really see the emotional scars on the characters as a result of that fateful day, and their different methods for coping with the tragedy (as well as how they were personally impacted) was powerful to see. It wasn’t that they were handling everything so well… I would actually say the contrary. However, they were so relatable in those situations that it just felt so genuine and authentic. I will say that having a story be more character-driven involves fewer flashy scenes and more subtle shifts in the book, so at times I felt that the story was a bit slow. Fortunately, the final product worked for me, so I was able to move past the slow bits.
I should warn you, this book contains very gory and disturbing scenes of violence and rape. If you are even remotely sensitive to these topics, this is most definitely not the book for you. I read my fair share of dark-and-twisty, and even I felt like a weight was crushing me at certain times. Don’t get me wrong: it’s fantastically written and I don’t think the story would have been nearly as intoxicating had it not been included. It’s just hard to get through those passages unfazed.
My overall thoughts? This book was fantastically written, but not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a gut-wrenching psychological thriller that will have you reeling long after you put it down, Karin Slaughter is queen, and The Good Daughter is proof. Although I still preferred Pretty Girls. Read them both and tell me if you agree!