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, Charlotte 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, Charlotte 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.
TW/CW: sexual assault, pedophilia, sexual coercion, gun violence, school shooting, police brutality, loss of a parent, graphic depictions of violence, infidelity, miscarriage, teen pregnancy, mention of abortion
Karin Slaughter is known for her incredibly dark thrillers and this one was no exception. I first read Slaughter’s work last year and was so excited to dive into more.
This book was certainly dark and I urge all of you to use caution if you choose to read this book for yourself. I will be touching on some spoilers in this review, as that’s where most of my thoughts lie.
Okay, so this book has such an odd pace. The story starts with the description of Charlie and Sam’s mother getting murdered and Sam getting shot and buried alive. We then flash forward several years to when Charlie ends up becoming an unexpected eye-witness in a school shooting.
We then follow Sam as she helps her father represent the shooter in the case, as their father believes that there is more to the story than what’s on the surface. Sam begins to piece together the narrative her father set up for her while coming to terms with lingering feelings about the trauma from her past.
I’ll be honest, I was way more invested in the school shooter subplot and curious about how this plot would play out. Slaughter presented a sympathetic shooter without undermining the seriousness of the crime that was committed. We find out that the shooter has been severely bullied by her classmates, however, does not seem to harness any ill will. We also find out, along with Sam, that our shooter may be able to be more complacent than we expect.
Now, y’all know I have a background in forensic psychology and this first interview with the shooter really piqued my interest. Figuring out things with Sam allowed me to question so many things about this crime and I was eager to find out the truth throughout the book.
This was shaping up to be a 4-ish star book until we got to the big reveal(s) at the end. When we’re talking about the shooter subplot, I didn’t see exactly where they were going with it, but I did enjoy the reveal.
There was another reveal though. There was a part of the past story that, we the reader, find out towards the end of the book, didn’t quite go down like we thought it did. The problem is, this reveal came out of nowhere. I honestly didn’t see any foreshadowing suggesting a mistaken identity was in play, let alone that we needed a later connection to a character we met earlier in the book.
It’s not that this out of nowhere reveal completely destroyed my enjoyment of this book, rather that this reveal also allowed me to come to terms that there wasn’t much that happened in this book that I actually cared about. The pacing was incredibly slow and it took me a while to actually get hooked on the story.
Overall, this was a fine book, but there wasn’t anything thriller. There were graphic and gory scenes sprinkled throughout the book, but these scenes were highlighting the same few events multiple times. There was an ending reveal that felt like it came out of nowhere, there was a whole lot of nothing that happened in this story outside of the main school-shooter plot (which fortunately was the only part I was invested in).
While not a new favorite, this is a book I will find myself thinking about from time to time and might be a book I recommend for people who want to get into darker thrillers but aren’t quite ready for the graphic content of Pretty Girls.