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The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

June 14, 2019

Source: Review copy #Netgalley
Publication: 13 June 2019 from Harper Collins
PP: 464
ISBN-13: 978-0008303389

It begins with an abduction. The routine of a family shopping trip is shattered when Michelle Spivey is snatched as she leaves the mall with her young daughter. The police search for her, her partner pleads for her release, but in the end…they find nothing. It’s as if she disappeared into thin air.

A month later, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, medical examiner Sara Linton is at lunch with her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the serenity of the summer’s day is broken by the wail of sirens.

Sara and Will are trained to help in an emergency. Their jobs – their vocations – mean that they run towards a crisis, not away from it. But on this one terrible day that instinct betrays them both. Within hours the situation has spiralled out of control; Sara is taken prisoner; Will is forced undercover. And the fallout will lead them into the Appalachian mountains, to the terrible truth about what really happened to Michelle, and to a remote compound where a radical group has murder in mind…

Karin Slaughter is one of my go-to authors. I have loved the Doctor Sara Linton series since the beginning and like Sara have lived through the transition from her marriage to Jeffrey through to her relationship with Georgia Bureau Investigator, Will Trent. Theirs is an entirely different kind of partnership. Born of love and recognition of vulnerabilities, this is a couple who would no more think of taking advantage of the other’s weakness than kick a puppy.

In The Last Widow, Slaughter sets off at a roaring pace and never slows down.  At the beginning of the book a mother is kidnapped. Despite a major hunt, she is not found but the FBI are saying nothing about what’s behind this abduction.  Faith and Amanda are holed up in an endless briefing about a high value prisoner who is about to be transported to another location.

Then all hell breaks loose. Bombs go off and as Sarah and Will go to the assistance of the wounded, everything goes wrong. Sara is kidnapped and Will can do nothing to stop it happening in front of him.

In one of her most terrifying scenarios yet, Slaughter places Sarah at the heart of a terrorist white supremacist group intent on causing maximum damage and loss of life in a targeted attack calculated to bring America to its knees.

As Will risks everything to get Sara back, my heart was in my mouth waiting for him to be found out. Meanwhile Sarah is using her head to try and discover why she has been held hostage in the depths of the Appalachian Mountains and what this neo-Nazi group have planned.

Slaughter weaves in Sara’s family to this desperate terrorist plot; a plot all too easily believable in the face of America’s current polarisation and the reader really feels for Will as he tries to convince Sarah’s mother that he would give up his life for Sara.

This is shocking writing, full of nail-biting tension and Slaughter’s grasp of inter-agency working coupled with her understanding of the political situation in the US makes for riveting reading. As the scenes flit between Will and Sarah we build a picture that is too terrible to contemplate but all too plausible. That plausibility gets to the heart of the readers fears and left me feeling wrung out and a bit of an emotional wreck.

Verdict: This is heart pounding, dramatic fiction that evokes strong feelings and does not flinch in its depiction of hard core cult extremism. Unmissable.

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Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 37 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her novels Cop Town, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her are all in development for film and television

From → Crime, Must Read, Thriller

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