Genres: Crime Books, Thriller Books
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Synopsis of The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter is a gruesome, in-your-face, high-pitched crime thriller.
But it is also about how an incredibly disturbing and life-threatening situation more than 28 years ago has affected the lives of two sisters (Charlie Quinn and Sam Quinn) in both seen and unseen ways.
As the book blurb states: “Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. The other is left behind…”
This heavily in-your-face and utter realistic but gruesome event in the past ripples and weaves throughout the entire story. This event pushes the story to new heights with twists and turns.
On the other hand, in the present day, Charlie Quinn is one of the first witnesses to see another deeply disturbing scene at a middle school. This sets the stage for the sisters to confront each other about their past experiences and how broken it has made them.
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The Characters of Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter:
Along with Sam Quinn (now a rich and well-performing patent lawyer), and her younger sister Charlie Quinn, the main characters who also appears are their mother (Gamma Quinn) and their father (Rusty Quinn).
Charlie Quinn has followed her father’s footsteps and has become a defence attorney in the small country town of her birth – Pikeville. Whereas, her sister, Samantha Quinn, has moved to New York in an attempt to leave her past dread and her rifting relationship with her younger sister behind.
As the story punches you with realistic and horrific scenes, the latest school tragedy in the present forces the two sisters to come together to solve not only the crime but relate to one another once more while weaving and dodging the secrets hidden in their own pasts.
Their father, Rusty Quinn, plays a key role throughout the story with his quirky but lovable personality. At the beginning of the story, we meet his absence but his full-on personality leaves a humongous strain on the family life of Sam, Charlie, as well as his wife, Gamma Quinn.
The mother to the two sisters, Gamma Quinn, too leaves a mark on the two sisters with her eccentric and all-knowing personality taking hold of their futures. I am not going to put any spoilers here, but Gamma’s absence in the book is one of the key battlegrounds between the sisters, with Sam having had a close relationship with her mother.
What I thought of The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Wow! Just, wow!
I started reading Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter upon a recommendation on BookTube for books with the greatest twists.
I was a bit disappointed concerning the big twist and the ending, but the book overall is an extremely well-written piece of work.
Sometimes when I am reading other books by debut novelists and such I feel myself slipping out of the story to focus on the believability factor or thinking of the stale tropes being used.
However, with The Good Daughter, I felt like I was watching a video in my mind. I never once felt like I was reading words, instead, sliding my eyes past the words felt more like watching images come alive on the page.
As others have said, the characters are the best part of this book. The characters are so realistic and their relationships and interactions with each other drives the narrative and the imagery in our minds.
The twists are not so much from the crime thriller where we think whodunit, but more about returning to a starting event. That event keeps getting thrust full and centre into your eyes again and again with newly shocking understandings.
It is this starting event that has a lot of trigger warnings. However, Karin Slaughter doesn’t use gore and gruesome acts to shock us. The good Daughter merely brings the fullness and reality of these gruesome acts to the fore as if we are looking at the scenes in front of our very eyes.
In effect, it is the real unholiness and shocking nature of the acts themselves that Karin Slaughter confronts us with. But if you are a bit squeamish or evade books with trigger warnings then you might not be able to read past the first 40 pages due to these shocking acts at the beginning of the story.
What I didn’t like about Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter:
The main issue I had with The Good Daughter was that I had the expectation of a big and unexpected twist but in reality, it was not given.
Of course, there are twists as we read the starting event with new shocking understandings, but there was no huge cliffhanger event to stop me in my tracks.
In the same vein, I felt the ending could have been better written. I felt Karin Slaughter merely got us to the end and then the characters decided enough was enough, we are going to just walk in and give everything away.
There was no genuine crime detective reveal but like I said the key selling point of The Good Daughter is not from the crime genre, but how it uses its characters to give us a raw glimpse at shocking acts that many women around the world have experienced in their lives.
As a man, I am very sure The Good Daughter has widened and deepened my own perspective about women’s experiences due to the utter skill and dexterity of Karin Slaughter’s perfect writing.
I would recommend The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter to…
Those people who love a raw and in-your-face psychological thriller with some elements of a crime thriller thrown in as well. The Good Daughter is the book for you!
5 stars out of 5 stars.
Karin Slaughter writes a book whose hand pulls your mind and imagination deeper into its own reality and hits you over the head with the raw essence of a gruesome act.
I would even recommend this book to people who are usually shy of gore. The focus here is not the gore but the rawness of how one starting event can impact real and authentic characters in an imaginative story.
What’s Next to Read?
I am in the middle of reading “What’s left of me is Yours: A Novel” by Stephanie Scott.
This book is another somewhat psychological thriller with a huge foundation on characters. I stumbled across it while on bookstagram and I’m not disappointed yet, haha.
(P.S. Got any other books you want me to review? Then…)