Published by HarperCollins on August 8th 2017
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
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Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever…
Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.
This is the second thriller I’ve read lately that opens with a shitstorm of drama. In the best kind of way, of course. But The Good Daughter is, in some ways, much darker than Stillhouse Lake, and in other ways slower and more character-driven.
It’s not a bad thing. Slaughter more closely resembles my beloved Tana French in style, making her books more about the detectives or, in this case, lawyers than about the actual crime/mystery. It’s a clever technique that always ensures I’m invested, whether or not I can figure out the twists and whodunnits. The very best mystery/thrillers, in my opinion, are about so much more than the twists and whodunnits.
The Good Daughter is essentially a deeply emotional, character-driven family drama, set to the backdrop of two brutal crimes. The first happened years ago – two armed men forced their way into the home of young Samantha and Charlotte, murdering their mother and turning their lives completely upside down. The girls, now adult women and lawyers, are left with both the physical and mental scars; it is hard for the sisters to be around each other without serving as a reminder of the horrendous night that ruined everything.
The second crime, twenty-eight years later, is a school shooting that Charlie finds herself a witness to. When Sam returns to town, both of them are caught up in the case. It seems pretty obvious what happened – mentally slow teenager, Kelly, is caught literally with the smoking gun in front of two dead victims. But how much can Kelly be held responsible? Is everything as it seems? And, Charlie must ask herself: what, exactly, did she really see that day?
I don’t know which story was most compelling – the gradual unveiling of what happened all those years ago, the investigating of the shooting and the dark secrets behind it, or the complex relationship between Sam and Charlie; the web of guilt, bitterness and love that they are tangled up in.
I should warn potential readers that there are some very disturbing and gory scenes of violence and (view spoiler). Slaughter doesn’t gloss over details and there were some parts that had me cringing. If you are particularly sensitive to this, I wouldn’t recommend The Good Daughter for you. But I was able to get past it.
My one main complaint about the book was that Slaughter does like to waffle on a little too much in parts. Some conversations between Sam, Charlie and Rusty go on for pages and pages without really adding anything. Though Tana French is occasionally prone to over-detailing, so I’m forgiving of it. Other than that, though, I thought it was a great read. Drawn-out and complex, but also dramatic and compelling. The author gets the balance just right.