Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Description: Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter is the best book I’ve read so far this year. She combines great characters, outstanding plot and pacing, and she absolutely takes you into the dark, dark places of human imagination and behavior.

Pretty Girls explores all the things that happen to a family when a family member disappears. The strain it puts on a marriage, the way each family member’s life is irrevocably altered and set on a different path. And the way that not knowing what happened impacts them every day for the rest of their life. This dynamic serves as the backdrop for a story starting with another tragedy that uncovers clues that bring two estranged sisters unwillingly back together to piece together the truth.

The action in Pretty Girls moves forward relentlessly. The unsettling part is as much the ordinary face that evil wears as it is the horrific actions that it perpetrates. Slaughter doesn’t linger over descriptions of truly terrifying crimes, but she doesn’t shy away from them. That people who can commit these crimes walk among us as our neighbors, colleagues and friends with us none the wiser is truly terrifying.

Pretty Girls is the story of sisters driven apart by one tragedy and united by another and the search it takes them on to unlock the keys to both, along with a lot more than either of them had bargained for. A terrific story that grabs you on page one and squeezes your emotions every step of the way until the very last page. One of the best books of the year and destined for a lot of awards. Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.

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