On a dark, quiet night in the Georgian countryside, just outside of Atlanta, an older couple drives in silence, both lost in thought, when suddenly a nude woman runs into their car. Her injuries are horrific and can’t be explained by the car crash alone. But what is she doing alone in the forest at night? And why isn’t she wearing any clothes?
Genesis is the third book in Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series. It’s also where she re-introduces characters from her Grant County series because Slaughter knows what her fans like. I still haven’t decided whether that’s pandering, or whether I would mind if it was. I liked the Grant County books. I like Will Trent. In and of itself, it’s not a bad thing. Unfortunately it does mean we get more Sara Linton.
Slaughter is generally excellent with characters. There’s Will, smart but socially awkward and left with low self esteem after a rough life growing up in care; Angie, Will’s equally messed up wife; and Faith, his bossy, no nonsense partner. So many novels in this genre lack compelling characters. Often, they’re either completely flat or wet rags and Slaughter typically steers clear of that, even with fairly minor characters. Which is why it’s such a pity she seems to have settled on Sara as her go-to character, because Sara is perfect and therefore annoying as all hell.
And I get it. It’s probably wish fulfillment: a stone cold fox with long red curls and legs for days, who doesn’t know how beautiful or competent she is. But that’s not who I want to read about. I once read an interview with Lee Child where he said that it’s important not to like your characters too much as an author. I wish he’d have given that warning to Slaughter (or taken his own advice, but that’s a different matter).
Aside from that, this wasn’t my favourite. Slaughter is more than competent but tends to stray into the ludicrously gory too often, which is a shame because she doesn’t need that kind of shock value. She has the characters, the prose is realistic without being hokey (most of the time, anyway) and the pacing is meticulous. Here, the plot is one I’ve read countless times before: sadistic serial killer abducts, tortures and rapes women. Slaughter manages to give the book an interesting twist by making the victims tough and hard to like and her research is on point, but other than that this was a fairly forgettable affair.