Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review of The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow, 2016)

An ex-cop is found murdered at an abandoned construction site. The site is owned by Marcus Rippy, a star basketball player, and has been mothballed during his trial for rape. Now that the case is over and Rippy has been acquitted the development of the complex is about to restart. The ex-cop was linked to Rippy’s sports agency. In the same room as he’s discovered in there is a large quantity of somebody else’s blood. That person appears to be Angie Polaski, another ex-cop with a troubled history. Attending the scene is Detective Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Trent was in charge of the Rippy rape case and Polaski was his ex-wife. He should be nowhere near the case, but despite his new relationship, he has a pathological need to find out what’s happened to his wife.

The Kept Woman is a police procedural thriller set in Atlanta and is the eighth book in the Will Trent series. Trent is a detective with a very troubled history and in this outing that history come to the fore. Trent has just lost a rape trial case against a star basketball player, his marriage to Angie Polaski is over, and he’s now dating Sara Linton, a medical examiner. Polaski though still haunts Will’s life, especially when it turns out that she was present at a murder site – an under-construction nightclub owned by the acquitted basketball player – that contains a dead cop and copious amounts of her blood. Trent is determined to find out what happened, even if it means placing his present relationship under immense strain. Slaughter tells the story in two halves. It starts with the brutal attack at an abandoned night club development and the police and GBI being called to the scene and the start of the investigation. Then at a key reveal it shifts back to a week before the attack and details that lead up to it. The pace and tension is kept high throughout as the case quickly unfolds. While the story is tense and gripping, it is a mess of coincidence and plot devices, with every character being related or previously intimately connected to each other, and the tale itself relies on the reader suspending disbelief and just riding along on the melodrama and action. And there is a lot of melodrama. The result is a story that is entertaining in a police action movie kind of way, but fails to ring true.

No comments: