Now that Slaughter has put former Grant County Medical Examiner Sara Linton (Broken, 2010) and Faith Mitchell, of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (Fallen, 2011), though hell, it’s GBI Deputy Director Amanda Wagner’s turn on the hot seat, in a jolting case that involves murders separated by 40 years but united in ugliness.
Georgia Tech sophomore Ashleigh Snyder has gone missing. The case is a natural for endlessly troubled GBI agent Will Trent, but for some reason Amanda, though she’s directed every other available agent to search for Ashleigh, is keeping him off the case. Not only has she banished Will to the airport in a dead-end patrol of men’s rooms, he also finds her hanging around the Techwood apartments, geographically close to Ashleigh’s place but economically a million miles away. How come? Amanda’s motives are rooted in the murder of Jane Delray (or was it Lucy Bennett, as Lucy’s brother Hank insisted?) back in 1975, the year Will was born and Amanda was cutting her teeth in the GBI. Shuttling back and forth between that fateful summer and the present, Slaughter links the murder of a prostitute you’d think would have been long forgotten to the fate of Ashleigh Snyder. As per usual in this explosive series, the darkest revelations involve recurring characters. Yet the narrative arcs of the regulars continue to fascinate because Slaughter’s not afraid to put them through irreversibly life-changing situations.
However successful you find the dizzying alternation between present and past nightmares, this double-barreled load of horrors is the clearest indication yet that Slaughter, like the sage of Yoknapatawpha, is less concerned with the shape of individual novels than with her sprawling, multivolume saga as a whole.