The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Opening sentence: “Samantha Quinn felt the stinging of a thousand hornets inside her legs as she ran down the long, forlorn driveway toward the farmhouse.”
My first thought – ridiculous thought – on reading this book was: did the author just want to write a story with ‘daughter’ in the title so that it would rhyme with her surname? I guess I’ll never know. If that was her motivation, then she did a pretty good job on such a flimsy basis for a novel.
Anyway, onto more serious matters, this book blends two crimes – a current school shooting and a twenty-eight year vicious attack on sisters, Samantha (Sam) and Charlotte (Charlie) and their mother. Layered on top of this is the present day sisters’ story – them trying to come to terms with the horrific childhood incident and rebuild their turbulent relationship. Charlie initially links the two crimes, having the misfortune of being present at both of them, but when Charlie’s dad, Rusty, a lawyer, decides to act on behalf of the school shooter, the Quinn family become more entwined in the case than they really want to be.
As the school shooting thread of the plot takes centre stage at first, you are led to believe it is a classic crime novel that will piece together all the clues of this case, but what I enjoyed was that this book is far more than that. It focused more on sisters Sam and Charlie than I was expecting and on their relationship with each other, their parents and Charlie’s estranged husband, Ben.
Charlie and Sam are both interesting, engaging characters, written to be highly believable – far from perfect yet both trying to do the best they can to deal with a hugely traumatic incident and live, rather then just get through, their lives. It’s always a good sign when you find your mind wandering to characters and looking forward to when you can read the next part in their story, which I found myself doing a few times.
The pace and suspense was perfectly pitched throughout this book, so those pages easily turned themselves, and although the school shooting thread didn’t quite live up to my expectations, it was nicely balanced out by the more psychologically focused Quinn family storyline to create a clever, multi-layered thriller.
Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC. Published 13th July 2017.