Criminal: Will Trent, Book 7

UnseenAuthor: Karin Slaughter
Book Name: Unseen
Series: Will Trent
Order: #7
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating:  Good
3+stars


Blurb:  Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.

Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.

Review:  I think I kind of hit a wall with this one.  While the story itself is good, there is just only so much of the seriously dark, ugly and nearly unforgiving hopelessness that these stories tend to exude that I can stomach.  The cops are almost always bad.  Even the supposed good guys in the stories are really kind of nasty and horrible to each other.  The bad guys are so horrifically bad and on all kinds of levels that it can’t help but poison everyone around them.

I don’t mind reading the darker stuff.  I’ve found a few that I’ve really enjoyed, but that was because they were pretty well balanced by the time I reached the end with a level of positive that made the darker more interesting.  These books, and this addition to the series is no exception, are just so excessively depressing with little to no relief that there just isn’t a whole lot to recommend when you can’t pull yourself out of the dark hole these tend to drop you in.

A book kind of loses something for me when I feel relieved that I finally reached the end.  I don’t enjoy a story that doesn’t let up on all the negativity so I think I might need to be done with this author for a while.

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Criminal: Will Trent, Book 6

CriminalAuthor: Karin Slaughter
Book Name: Criminal
Series: Will Trent
Order: 6
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars


Blurb:  Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda’s motivation until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before, when his father was imprisoned for murder, this was Will’s home. It appears that the case that launched Amanda’s career forty years ago has suddenly come back to life—and it involves the long-held mystery of Will’s birth and parentage. Now these two dauntless investigators will each need to face down demons from the past if they are to prevent an even greater terror from being unleashed.

Review:  As another addition to this series, this book is pretty good.  We get quite a bit more about Will’s background, though for the most part, it is stuff that readers mostly already knew.  This just gives a bit more detail and understanding as to how Will is connected to Amanda.

That connection seems exceptionally strange to me, though.  You would think that Amanda would have more of a soft spot for Will rather than act as a tormentor towards him.  It is one of the aspects to this series that I’ve never been much of a fan of, how Will is treated by almost every other character in the series.  I do not understand why Amanda treats him the way she does and why she seems to enjoy causing him emotional pain, which she does several times here.  I never understood it before, but now it seems even more odd and just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I will say that this book left a few loose threads at the end, hinting that there is actually more to this than what we’ve already seen.  It wasn’t a major cliffhanger, but enough to leave me a bit frustrated.

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Fallen: Will Trent, Book 5

FallenAuthor: Karin Slaughter
Book Name: Fallen
Series: Will Trent
Order: 5
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars


Blurb:  There’s no police training stronger than a cop’s instinct. Faith Mitchell’s mother isn’t answering her phone. Her front door is open. There’s a bloodstain above the knob. Everything Faith learned in the academy goes out the window when she charges into her mother’s house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room, a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn’t see is her mother. When the hostage situation turns deadly, Faith is left with too many questions. She’ll need the help of her partner, Will Trent, and trauma doctor Sara Linton to get some answers. But Faith isn’t just a cop anymore, she’s a witness–and a suspect. To find her mother, Faith will have to cross the thin blue line and bring the truth to light–or bury it forever.

Review:  This was a much better book than the last couple.  Much!  The issues that were really kind of driving me nuts either weren’t in this one or just weren’t in your face as much.

While this was still very much a crime drama, it was also a very character focused book, with the bigger plot revolving around Faith, her mother and Amanda and the smaller, but just as important aspect of Will and his relationship with Sarah.

This was a huge relief after the last book or so in that it didn’t have that oppressive, hopeless feel permeating the entire thing.  We got to see some real positives happening for a change and that was great.  I don’t exactly have a great feeling that those positive feelings and progress will be allowed to continue through the next books, though, as that just doesn’t seem like the direction this author tends to like to go.  I hope I’m wrong as I really can’t stand books/series that constantly knock the character to their knees and never really let them get up and breathe.

Broken: Will Trent, Book 4

BrokenAuthor: Karin Slaughter
Book Name: Broken
Series: Will Trent
Order: 4
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating:  Good
3+stars


Blurb:  When Special Agent Will Trent arrives in Grant County, he finds a police department determined to protect its own. Officer Lena Adams is hiding secrets from him, and while her role in the death of the county’s popular police chief is unclear, that man’s widow, Dr. Sara Linton, desperately needs Trent’s help to crack the case of a prisoner’s death. While the police force investigates the murder of a young woman pulled from a frigid lake, Trent investigates the police force. Caught between two complicated and determined women, trying to understand the facts surrounding Chief Tolliver’s death, Trent will uncover explosive secrets–and confront a thin blue line that could be murderous if crossed.

Review:  Another addition to the Will Trent series.  In general, I am still liking the stories in this series, but there are things that are starting to get a little old and beginning to grate on my nerves.

The attitude and treatment towards Will’s dyslexia from both his boss and partner is beyond irritating.  Not only is it pretty darn ugly, but it just doesn’t strike me as being remotely realistic.  Either it is an acceptable disability to have in his profession and concessions are made to help him find work arounds for some of the areas where he lacks or it isn’t and he shouldn’t have that job.  The ridicule and snide comments, even the occasional things that are said and done that may even make his job harder just don’t add up.  The fact that we are at book 4 in the series and none of that has changed is annoying.  That and when Faith was introduced in this series, she seemed to be accepting and non-judgmental towards him, but now she is nearly as bad as the boss.

There is also a pretty consistent presentation for regular police officers in this series and this book continues that trend where normal police officers are lazy, stupid, corrupt or any combination of those traits.  Every single police officer, with an extremely rare few, in every book so far has been presented this way.  It is yet another aspect of these stories that just doesn’t really ring true and is starting to get pretty old.  It takes away from all the rest that is going on in the books, which is usually pretty good if you can get around these other things.

The last is Will’s relationship with his wife.  I had hoped after some of the things in previous books that we would finally be getting away from this horrid relationship that, other than adding a rather ugly element to the stories and makes Will seem even more pathetic, has no real bearing on the stories.

When you combine all of those issues that run consistently through all of the books so far in this series, you end up with these really bleak and hopeless characters that, even when the crimes are solved and the story is wrapping up, leaves a depressive taste with the reader rather than a feeling of resolution and growth.  It isn’t that good of a feeling.

I generally like the crime elements of these stories and, even though he does come across as mostly pathetic, I like Will’s character and want to see some good going on for him.  Have actually been hoping to see that from the beginning, yet this book is just the same no change, no improvement, general hopeless misery we’ve seen from the beginning.  I’m beginning to wonder what the point is as I’m so not a fan of the dreary feel.

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Fractured: Will Trent, Book 2

FracturedAuthor: Karin Slaughter
Book Name: Fractured
Series: Will Trent
Order: 2
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars
Blurb:  Ansley Park is one of Atlanta’s most upscale neighborhoods–but in one gleaming mansion, in a teenager’s lavish bedroom, a girl has been savagely murdered. And in the hallway, her mother stands amid shattered glass, having killed her daughter’s attacker with her bare hands. Detective Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is one of the first on the scene. Trent soon sees something that the Atlanta cops are missing, something in the trail of blood, in a matrix of forensic evidence, and in the eyes of the stunned mother. When another teenage girl goes missing, Trent knows that this case, which started in the best of homes, is about to cut quick and deep through the ruins of perfect lives broken wide-open: where human demons emerge with a vengeance.

Review:  Much like the first book in this series, the crime in this book is investigated and solved by people who actually appear to know what they are doing.  One big difference between book one and this one is the fewer character perspectives this was presented in.  I’d say it was probably a plus as we could spend more time focused on the more important characters and not jumping all over the place.  At the same time, I’m not sure this had quite the emotional impact the first book did.

The crime and investigative aspects of this story were really good and I have no complaints in that regard because that was really well written.  My one issue was with the tiny side plot of the romance between Will and Angie.  For one, them suddenly being engaged is a complete 180 from where their relationship was left at the end of the last book and there is no rational explanation for it.  She gave him an STD so now they are getting married?  That makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever.  This is such a small portion of the story.  It really only got a few pages of attention, so that makes it even more confusing because why is it even really necessary?  To underscore how messed up Will is?  That is already abundantly clear and his weirdness really doesn’t need that additional layer.  The relationship between the two characters is so ugly and unhealthy, it makes it incredibly hard to like either character.  The whole thing is beyond strange and awkward.  So much so that if more time and attention were spent on it, I’d quickly start not liking these books.

Because that aspect of the story was so small and got so little page time, it didn’t take away from the rest of the story too much this time.  Instead, the focus was mainly on the believable story of the crime and what Will and Faith, who he is partnered with in this book, do to solve that crime.  I am liking what I’m reading in these books because of how believable they come across.  I am just hoping this series doesn’t go off the rails in some crazy direction.

Triptych: Will Trent, Book 1

TriptychAuthor: Karin Slaughter
Book Name: Triptych
Series: Will Trent
Order: 1
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars
Blurb:  From Atlanta’s wealthiest suburbs to its stark inner-city housing projects, a killer has crossed the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries, too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread–and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael’ s lover before she became his enemy. But unbeknownst to both of them, another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer’s trail in the most coincidental of ways–and who may be the key to breaking the case wide open.

Review:  Following what appears to be something of a pattern in the crime drama genre, we get this story from a wide variety of perspectives.  Interestingly, though, none from the victims.  I was a bit surprised when I read the blurb that the person this series is named after wasn’t even mentioned.  Probably because he isn’t the focus character in this book.  Will is a part of it, but really kind of isn’t the star of the show.

I’ll say absolutely that I liked this and that I thought it was really good, but I did have a few issues.  Sometimes having that many perspectives going on can be a bit too much.  It is really easy to miss out on details when you are jumping all over the place.  There were a couple of times that I thought I ran into errors with a couple of facts along the way, but they were pretty minor in the overall so I didn’t take the time to dig to be sure.

There were a couple of times where I was frustrated when a character meant to talk about something with another character that would have opened up the plot more, but then doesn’t get around to it.  It is one way to write a story and build up the suspense, but it does sometimes take away from the story a bit if it is overused.  This came close.

Since I’m not a cop, have never been a cop or ever known one or what procedures are in different situations, I don’t know this for a fact, but it sure does seem like there are quite a few places where fiction may be playing fast and loose with fact in this one.  Same thing with the legal/trial procedure end of things.  This is another thing that came pretty close to being just too much without ever actually crossing over that line into the ridiculous.

I didn’t feel as though Will got enough page time for a reader to get to know him as much as we probably should in the first book in a series.  I think I was more emotionally connected to John and learned more about and understood most all of the other characters than I did Will.  Hopefully that will be rectified in future books.

While I did have those few issues, and they were few, but they were just enough to keep this from getting a 5.

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