Review: Triptych – Karin Slaughter

My first 5 star read of 2023. High praise as I don’t often give a 5 star. To receive this accolade from me a book has to really grip me. I’m talking can’t put it down, read it every chance I get, even taking it with me to the loo. I want a fast-paced, multi-strand plot. I want characters I believe in, I don’t have to like them, but they have to be fully formed people in my imagination. I want to know what they look like, how they talk and how their history has shaped them. I want everything they do to be in-keeping with the character.

The writer holding up a copy of Triptych by Karin Slaughter.
Making the most of the local library with this one; Triptych by Karin Slaughter.

I have Tabby from TakeHeart and my good friend Sandra to thank for getting me into Karin Slaughter books. An author whose books certainly suit her name. Triptych is the first in the Will Trent series and I am so excited to read the rest. I have read some of her books before, mainly standalone stories, but I have accidentally read the last in the Grant County series… I did wonder why they kept talking about things I didn’t know about. I enjoyed it nonetheless. Although, it might be hard to go back and read the first 5 of that series given how Skin Privilege ends. If you know you know.

Anyway, back to Triptych. Someone is killing the women of Atlanta and their modus operandi is an act of horrific mutilation. The violence in this book, as I said, is befitting of the author’s name; Slaughter.

In this book we’re introduced to Will Trent, a detective with a back story. He’s physically scarred and those scars tell of his troubled childhood in and out of foster homes. He’s flawed, but likeable and I look forward to reading the rest of the series to see how Slaughter continues to develop this character. I often find with crime fiction/thriller books that the lead detective trope of the brilliant, but flawed man who can solve the most complicated of crimes to be quite tiresome and unbelievable. I didn’t find this with Trent. He is brought in to help solve the crime, but I was convinced all the way through of his talents and didn’t feel like it had all been done before.

Slaughter’s writing, as I’ve said, is graphically violent and sexual, so it probably won’t be for everyone. I read a review on Goodreads where the reviewer stated that they almost felt guilty for enjoying Slaughter’s writing because of the graphic nature of it and I totally see where they’re coming from. But at no point does it feel gratuitous, it’s shocking, but necessary. And any book that elicits a physical reaction from its reader is excellent in my book (excuse the pun).

Alongside the difficult content, Slaughter also does an excellent job of leaving bread crumb clues so that by the end you’re almost kicking yourself that you didn’t spot it earlier. There’s connections you hadn’t noticed, clues you didn’t realise were clues. It’s all so wonderfully woven in and subtle in a way I could never manage in my own writing and often find lacking in recent books I’ve read in this genre.

I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series and hoping to be awarding more 5-star reviews. The bar is high with this first instalment!

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