Undone may be Karin Slaughter’s seventh book in her Grant County series, but it is the first for yours truly. I am now sorely tempted to go and read the rest.
Undone sees Faith Mitchell and Will Trent investigating a grisly case of kidnap and torture, after a young, successful, mutilated and naked woman blindly runs out into the oncoming path of an elderly couple’s car. Sara Linton is the doctor who tends to the woman when she is brought into the hospital.
All three characters are dealing with their own personal issues while attempting to solve the case. Will soldiers on in the police force, trying to keep his illiteracy a secret from everyone except Faith, who is herself coming to terms with two sudden health matters of her own. Sara, meanwhile, carries a letter around in her coat pocket, wondering whether to open it.
As the case progresses, three more women of similar looks and lifestyle go missing. Faith and Will are hindered in their investigations by the fact that none of the girls were liked or loved, apart from two children between the four of them. Slaughter imparts such intimately morbid details into the torture of the girls that one has to read a sentence twice to ensure that they got it right the first time. Although grisly, it is far from gratuitous, and Slaughter writes with empathy towards the plight of the girls. There is even some dark humour thrown in for good measure.
I did not need to read any of the previous Grant County novels to understand the characters or the story – I could just jump straight in. Slaughter does not fleetingly refer to events in Faith or Will’s history that leaves the reader wishing they had read the other six books first, nor does she regale us with the intricate details of each of her main characters. Instead she lets us work them out for ourselves, and leaves little signposts as to what their lives have involved. Yet with Sara she does give us more, and deservedly so.
Undone can surely sit proudly alongside the rest of Karin Slaughter’s books, and confirms her as one of America’s best crime thriller writers.