Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls is violent, terrifying and heartbreaking. No happy endings here, but plenty of suspense and tension, if you’re into that sort of thing.
“You couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing about the missing teenage girl. Sixteen years old. White. Middle class. Very pretty. No one ever seemed quite as outraged when an ugly woman went missing.”
20 years ago, pretty college student Julie Carroll disappeared. Shortly after, her sisters (Lydia & Claire) had a major falling out and stopped speaking to each other. Their mother took Claire’s side, effectively cutting out Lydia. Then their father, who never recovered from Julia’s disappearance, committed suicide. Now, Lydia has a teenage daughter, and she remains haunted by missing girls. When another pretty young girl disappears nearby, both Lydia and Claire feel the impact and remember Julia. Only now, they might have some idea of what happened to her.
This is not a book that you want to know too much about before starting. Lots of surprises, lots of twists and turns. It’s pretty violent, but the roughest part for me was reading their father’s letters. He continued writing to Julie after she went missing, updating her on the sad state of the family, and recounting his steps towards finding out what happened to his daughter. Heartbreaking stuff. But it’s a very well-written book, and while I’ve never read anything else by Karin Slaughter, I’ll definitely be trying some of her others soon.