Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
"A sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance and unexpected absolution"
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publication date: July 2015
Mareli's rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads Description: Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teen-aged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
Reader discretion is advised. Some scenes will not be suitable for sensitive readers.
When Claire's husband is suddenly and violently killed at the same time a young, pretty girl goes missing, Claire is forced to be reminded of a horrific family tragedy that happened 24 years ago - the unsolved disappearance of her sister, Julia. The family was torn apart and the only one who never lost hope was Sam, their father. He still talks to Julia in beautiful written letters that provides a real heart-felt element to the novel. Claire reconnects with her estranged sister, Lydia, and together they start to unravel what really happened to Julia and their whole family.
I know there has been numerous discussions on the blogosphere regarding whether books should come with age restrictions and warnings and I haven't really participated in many of those discussions. Enter Pretty Girls. For the first time in a long time, I wasn't the first one to read the it book in my Book Club. In fact, I was basically last in line to take the Pretty Girls home for a bit of company. The upside of this, I was pre-warned. Although most of the ladies in the Book Club gave high praise to the stand-alone psychological thriller, the general consensus was that it was graphically scary and creepy. Honestly? I didn't really scare me, but the creep factor that an industry as described in this book can actually really exist and people can get that sick - sky rocketed in my estimation.
As a former psychology student, I will forever be a huge fan of the psychological thriller. There is no thrill like the chill down your spine when you finally figure out Whodunnit. Another point to Pretty Girls. You know who did it rather early in the novel (oh, you didn't? But my husband figured it out by just telling him what's going on. Oh gosh. Now I'm scared of my husband)
Another point in favor was the character development in this novel. Both Claire and Lydia are introduced with their "masks" well in place. As the novel develops, the masks slowly come tumbling down and we see the two ladies for who and what they truly are.
Pretty Girls is not recommended for the faint of heart, in fact, it contains some of the most graphic violence I've ever encounter in a book. If you can handle the graphic content and are just looking for a good thriller with a few unexpected twists, Pretty Girls will be right up your alley.