I downloaded the novella Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes from Overdrive a few weeks ago waiting for its follow up novel Pretty Girls. At the time I found it to be a bit unnecessary; having read the novel I find it completely unnecessary.
“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.”
First of all, I started this as an audio-book and just could not listen to the graphic descriptions on my ride to work so I managed to get a hard copy from the library and picked up where I’d left off. Even without the uncomfortable scenes I don’t think thrillers work well in audio form. Pretty Girls was a 20 hour recording, even if you listen at a faster rate it is just too slow to get through a gripping mystery. I finished the remaining 3/4 in less than 3 days.
First things first this is a graphic story. It involves a lot of brutal rape, torture and murder so if you’re sensitive I would steer clear. If you can get past those horrors, again I found it easier to read instead of listen, then the pay off is a well written thriller with some wild twists.
Claire and Lydia’s sister, Julia, went missing in 1991 and was never found; their parents divorced and their father eventually committed suicide. Lydia became a drug addict for years before getting clean and having a daughter while Claire became the trophy wife to her controlling college boyfriend, Paul. The sisters became estranged shortly after Paul and Claire started dating. Flash-forward 18 years and Paul is murdered during a mugging. His death sets off a series of events that are hard discuss without giving away one of the bigger plot twists.
However, the story eventually brings Lydia and Claire together in a variety of dangerous situations while they race against the clock to expose the secrets they’ve uncovered. Overall this is a good book, but not a great book. I think Slaughter overdid it with the torture porn though, being graphic and sadistic with minimal payoff, and could have written an equally menacing sociopath without all the extras.