Updated: Oct 15, 2019
This book is the perfect mix of scary, creepy, and illuminating. Karin Slaughter is a master of this genre, and consistently keeps me awake way past my bedtime reading "just one more chapter," because I keep trying to get past the scary part, only to find out that the next part is even scarier. But I never, ever learn my lesson. Or maybe I just don't want to.
This is the book I've been waiting the entire series for. The book that tells us the story of Will's beginning. The story of who Amanda is, and why she is the way she is. Why she's so connected. Who Evelyn Mitchell is to her. It explains so much.
It jumps back and forth from the mid-1970s to present day. It starts with the story of a young prostitute who is reminiscing about when her life wasn't so bad, when she was just a girl who started taking some diet pills with a friend in 1974. She lost a little weight. Her friend's mother was a nurse and showed her how to inject a little speed she had gotten from the hospital, you know, to stay thin. She lost more weight and became popular. Until her addiction spun out of control. Before you know it, she's out on the street, working for a pimp in the worst part of Atlanta. The part where no one would even notice if a hooker goes missing.
In the 70s, Amanda Wagner was working as a cop. She basically types up reports for one of the male officers. She doesn't get to really do any actual police work. Racism and sexism is blatant, and incompetence is astronomical. She's a shadow of the Amanda that we know today. But something happened to change her.
A young college girl goes missing. Amanda calls Will, and asks where he is. He is at Sara's apartment, and tells her so. He asks if she needs him, and she tells him she doesn't. He hears a familiar sound and turns on the television. Amanda is at a press conference, talking about a missing college student. She looks familiar to Will. All resources are being mobilized. All except Will. He leaves Sara's apartment and sees her in her SUV. She's visibly upset, and he takes her for a walk to the house he was raised in. They are walking around the upstairs of the now-abandoned house of the orphanage when Amanda pulls up and goes inside the house.
As the scenes shift between characters and time periods, I learned so much information that my head was spinning. I couldn't put this book down. I had so many conflicted emotions about the characters in the book. All throughout the series, I've developed these notions about the characters in the books. This one single book turned those notions upside down for many of the characters. I saw vulnerable sides to characters that I didn't think even had them. I saw goodness in characters that I didn't know were capable of it. And while some of the books had some gruesome crimes, this one put those to shame.
This was an incredible book. It was tough to read, but so worth it. It is definitely one of my favorites in the series.