The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Will Trent (Triptych, 2006) tracks the monster—more likely, the pair of monsters—who raped and killed one teenage girl and abducted another.
Slaughter (Beyond Reach, 2007, etc.) kicks off with one of her trademark instant-trauma scenes: Abigail Campano, fresh from confronting her husband Paul over his latest fling, walks into her house to find her daughter Emma dead, a man with a knife bending over her. Summoning impossible reserves of strength and courage, Abigail strikes back at the intruder only to find that she’s completely, catastrophically misread the scene. Emma has been kidnapped, not killed, and the clock is ticking down toward the moment when it’s too late to help her. The ill-assorted crime-fighters working the case include Amanda Wagner of the GBI; Will Trent, the dyslexic agent who’s constantly frustrated by her secrecy and manipulation; and Det. Faith Mitchell of the Atlanta State Police, who’s furious with Will for pushing her mother off the force and rightly suspicious that he’s holding out on her as well. Whether Slaughter is focusing on the investigators, the bereaved parents or the suspects, the intensity is nonstop.
The trail leads to a pair of nasty perps Slaughter has barely paid attention to before and a messy, improbable reconstruction of the crime. But fans swept up in the story’s relentless drive won’t even notice these problems till they’ve turned the last page with a deep sigh of relief.