More than twenty years ago, beautiful nineteen year-old Julia Scott disappears into the night, never to be seen again. With no clues and no body, the mystery of what happened to her haunts her family still. Her two remaining sisters, Clare and Lydia, are estranged; Clare is married and rich, and Lydia is poor with a teenage daughter. When Clare’s husband, Paul, is murdered in a robbery, it is as if she has stepped into an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” The authorities and their questions are more than creepy, and with a sense of foreboding, Clare starts to look harder at the details of her husband’s life. What she finds begins to terrify her, and without knowing who to turn to, she turns to her sister, Lydia, for help. The two of them must put aside their differences in order to figure out why Clare is becoming the target for some truly frightening attention.
The last Karin Slaughter book I read was the brilliant Cop Town, which is a character driven police procedural set in the 1970s. I loved the fast pacing of that particular book. Pretty Girls has an entirely different pace and structure. Pretty Girls gives you the point of view of the family surrounding Julia Scott as they ponder the mystery of her disappearance, and then, you see the rest of the story unfold through the eyes of Clare and Lydia as they work together to figure out the strangeness of Paul’s life. The tension ratchets up a little more with each chapter, and soon, you literally can’t stop turning pages.
For me, I still prefer a book like Cop Town, for its fast moving story. Pretty Girls started a little slow for me, but it will likely appeal to fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. I enjoyed the dynamics between the two sisters; Ms. Slaughter always writes the most compelling female characters.