Anyone who gazes at this cover and assumes ‘romance’ couldn’t be any further from the truth! In fact, the author’s last name should shed more light on the contents due to the extreme and graphic violence and torture depicted in the novel.
The description of the novel from the author’s website:
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenage 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 multi-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.
Some adjectives you might use to describe “Pretty Girls” are: disturbing, graphic, intense, shocking, etc. It was all those things and much more. The many plot twists, fast pacing, and skillful writing ensured that it was a page-turner. However, the book was not for the squeamish. Torture, gore, and rape were described in vivid detail… though in my opinion, the graphic descriptions were necessary to ensure that the reader was fully apprised of the extent of evil within the novel’s villain, Paul Scott. A controlling, manipulative, and sadistic psychopath.
Society is now becoming desensitized to the evil that man can perpetrate upon his fellow man. The author’s use of graphic description is utilized to shock the reader out of their apathy so as to be more invested in the outcome of the character’s fate.
I very much enjoyed the psychological study of the damaged family and was rooting for the triumph of good over evil. The book spoke to the immense strength of the women, strength that even they didn’t realize they were capable of. Notably, I admired Lydia’s character. A former cocaine addict, she had hit rock bottom and had still managed to pull herself up and make a go of her life. A real woman: a single mother, businesswoman, slightly overweight, with lots of family ‘baggage’.
This novel achieved everything a ‘thriller’ should. It kept me enthralled from the first page to the last. It spoke to the reader’s emotions and cleverly inserted surprise twists and revelations at crucial moments. With masterful skill, Karin Slaughter has penned a work that surely will receive acclaim for years to come.
“Pretty Girls” is listed in the crime section of the Globe and Mail’s list of 100 best books of 2015.
Jackie Cooper, a reviewer for the Huffington Post, stated that “Pretty Girls” requires a ‘new level of praise’.