Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter


Title: Pretty Girls

Author: Karin Slaughter

Published: Cornerstone Digital July 2015

Status: Read from August 27 to 30, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Best known for her Grant County and Will Trent crime fiction series, Pretty Girls is Karin Slaughter’s second stand alone novel.

After nineteen year old Julia disappeared without a trace, the Carroll family fell apart in a spectacular fashion. Twenty four years later, sisters Lydia and Claire are little more than strangers, until they are reunited at the graveside of Claire’s murdered husband, Paul. When Claire discovers some obscene videos that depict the torture, rape and murder of teenage girls on her husband’s computer she is horrified. Though a local detective assures Claire the movies are fake, one of the victims looks eerily like a girl recently reported missing and Claire finds she can’t ignore her instincts, and reaches out to the only person she feels she can trust, her sister, for help.

Pretty Girls is primarily a psychological thriller but includes plenty of action and graphic violence. The fast moving plot twists and turns as Lydia and Claire are caught up in a nightmarish conspiracy and become the targets of a psychopath. Their shared narrative is full of tension as they renegotiate their relationship and heal old wounds, while working together to uncover the truth about Paul, and their missing sister’s fate.

A third perspective weaves its way through the novel. Sam is the girls’ father who was obsessed with searching for Julia until he committed suicide on the sixth anniversary of her disappearance. His narrative underscores the emotional agony experienced by the shattered families of the missing who find it difficult to move on without closure.

I’m really not sure why I didn’t find Pretty Girls as compelling as many readers seem to do. It is a dark, gritty and often page turning thriller, well written with plenty to recommend it, but it didn’t grip me as fully as I hoped.

Available to purchase from

Random House Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

Amazon UK I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mysm2000
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 04:20:54

    I liked your review but I’m struggling to understand why there are so many exceedingly dark stories set in our own time and why they seem to be so popular. I’m sure it wouldn’t be my cup of tea at all; I’m not sure I’d be able to read very far into a book like this without putting it aside. Maybe that’s double standard because I do enjoy mysteries that take place in other times and places but usually only if they aren’t too dark or graphic. Not for me.



  2. Patty
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 04:58:10

    It sounds a little dark but really interesting!



  3. laurelrainsnow
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 05:31:02

    I just got this one from Amazon Vine, and I don’t think I’ve ever read this author, although I do have one of her books on my Kindle (Coptown). I hope to enjoy it, as I tend to choose psychological thrillers. Sorry it didn’t resonate with you, but thanks for your great review.



  4. Deborah
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 13:09:08

    I thought Slaughter handled the subject (snuff films) well. Cos well… not pleasant by any means!



  5. Trackback: Pretty Girls — behind the story with Karin Slaughter

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