@@@@@ (5 out of 5)
Pretty Girls is the story of three sisters, a marriage, and a gruesome crime. The characters are pretty. The story isn’t.
The fulcrum of this tale is the long-ago disappearance of nineteen-year-old Julia Carroll, the oldest of three beautiful blonde sisters. The sheriff and police believe she ran away, but no one in the family believes that. Her disappearance has upended both her parents’ and her sisters’ lives, leading to the suicide of her father, the drug addiction of her youngest sister, Lydia, and the escapism of her mother. There are reverberations of this tragedy that extend to the present.
Now, twenty-four years later, another attractive teenage blonde woman, Anna Kilpatrick, has disappeared. The parallel is obvious, but there is nothing whatsoever to link the two cases. Meanwhile, Julia’s younger sister, Claire, is with her husband, Paul Scott, when he is brutally murdered in an alleyway in Atlanta one evening. Now there are several cases to solve. Of course, there are connections among them — this is a crime novel, after all — but absolutely nothing is obvious, and the story about those connections is suspenseful to an extreme. Chances are, you’ll be kept guessing almost to the bitter end. Every one of the central characters has a secret, and they’re all likely to surprise you.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but the author, Karin Slaughter, is also blonde and pretty. More to the point, she is an internationally bestselling author (30 million books sold) who is best known for fifteen excellent novels about crime and punishment in Georgia, featuring Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and/or Dr. Sara Linton. Pretty Girls is her twentieth book.