I love a well-crafted thriller and for that, I'm a big fan of Karin Slaughter. I just finished reading Criminal (which, if you ask me is a terrible title) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, as I've said before, I generally prefer the lighter version of murder/mystery, stories where the gruesome details are left primarily to the imagination. And this book, one in a series, seemed much more graphic than Slaughter's other books. So much so that I actually skipped over some of the details. I used to read Patricia Cornwell but I stopped because I felt like she just kept upping the ante, going darker and more detailed, when what I wanted was more of the characters, not more unspeakable horror. I hope that isn't where Karin Slaughter is going, because I feel like she's an incredibly talented mystery writer and I, personally, feel that a good mystery is hard to find.
What I particularly loved about Criminall is that Slaughter, in parts, takes us back to Atlanta in 1975. For both women and blacks, being on the police force at that time was an act of will. I'm not naive like I didn't know things weren't always peachy (get it?) in the South in the 70's, but really, sometimes I forget the road that has been paved by strong women before me. I've been lucky, I know. I grew up white, middle class, in suburbia, with two parents who are still married to one another. It's hardly ever crossed my mind that I can't do something, especially because I'm a woman. It made me kind of breathless to think that such a short time ago, women had to endure humiliation and ridicule to be in jobs they felt were a calling. It was good to be reminded that I need to be more grateful.
The book is not written like a history lesson, in case I made it sound that way. It's a fast-paced, character-driven story that I hardly put down. If you haven't read Karin Slaughter before, I would recommend starting with the first in the series, Blindsighted.