The Silent Wife by award winning writer Karin Slaughter is the 20th, and most recent, book in her “Atlanta” series. Her earlier, “Grant County” series is connected to the second series through several characters and incidents. Though not absolutely necessary to enjoying the books, whichever series you choose, I recommend reading the books of that series in order. I didn’t know I would want to do that originally and wound up going back to earlier books because I wanted to know what had happened.
The two main characters in The Silent Wife are Will Trent, a Georgia Bureau of Investigations officer, and Dr. Sara Linton, a pediatrician and part-time coroner, are rich and very well written. I would call Will a true overachiever. He is an excellent detective who had to overcome a psychologically and physically abusive childhood as well as an abusive (almost-ex) wife. He is dyslexic, but was never diagnosed as a child. Sara is a widowed rape survivor who was betrayed by her deceased husband. Will and Sara’s relationship has grown into one of genuine love with all the good and bad, ups and downs, that that entails. The secondary characters are also well crafted. They include Will’s boss, Amanda Wagner, and his partner at work, Faith Mitchell. Equally well drawn were two characters I found unlikeable; namely, Sheriff Jeffrey Tolliver (Sara’s husband) and his deputy Lena Adams. They both seemed willing to lie, cut moral corners, and betray.
This book is the most unifying of any in either series, in that both the characters and the events are viewed from past to present day. Also, the venues include both Heartsdale in Grant County, Ga. and Atlanta. The plot concerns a prisoner who is murdered in a penitentiary and Darryl Nesbitt, another prisoner, who claims to have information about a recent, unsolved crime. The recent crime is virtually identical to the series of brutal rapes and murders Darryl is suspected of having committed a decade earlier. He has always maintained his innocence and hopes to have the matters reopened to gain some advantage on his sentence. Will and Sara’s connection to the old and new cases forms the core of the plot. The details of the crimes can be gory and that might put some off. I won’t spoil the book by revealing exactly what happened in each of the crimes, or who committed them. I can only say I had to keep reading to find out the answers.
Review by Gaye G.