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The Kept Woman


The Kept Woman

If you have not been following Karin Slaughter’s long-running, complicated and complex Will Trent/Sara Linton series, but have been tempted because of what you have read or heard, THE KEPT WOMAN is the perfect place to jump onto this dark midnight train to Georgia. Slaughter brings everything together in this installment, recounting just enough of the past to bring in new readers (and reacquaint those who are more established) while spinning a violent, chilling and compelling tale that meets and exceeds the standards of what has gone before.

A word before we begin: All of the characters here are damaged, whether it be physically, psychologically or both. This applies particularly to Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who was raised in an abusive foster home with Angie Polaski, the girl who later became his wife. Will and Angie are star-crossed, for sure; while Will went into law enforcement, Angie ultimately took a darker turn. Though they remain married, Angie fades in and out of Will’s life like a malevolent demon defying the strongest of exorcisms, even as he has slowly but steadily become involved with Dr. Sara Linton, who has issues of her own. Slaughter has been setting these characters up for years, and just when you think the situation can’t get any more intense, she ratchets things up a notch or five.

"Reading THE KEPT WOMAN will put you through an emotional wringer, but in the best possible way, even for those readers who might find the gore quotient a bit high."

THE KEPT WOMAN begins with a bloody tableau, the aftermath of a violent incident in which some but not all is revealed, at least initially. Will, Sara and the GBI team are brought in to assist at the scene, in part due to the fact that one of the victims is a retired but seriously bent law enforcement officer. Another element to the murders is that the scene itself is the construction site for a proposed multi-million-dollar entertainment complex connected to a professional basketball superstar, who only recently has been exonerated of rape charges. Initial findings of the investigation also indicate that Angie was present at the scene and may be mortally wounded as well. Her presence, and some revelations from Will that were heretofore unrevealed, open a rift between Will and Sara that complicate the investigation and their relationship.

Meanwhile, Slaughter keeps the reader a step or two ahead of law enforcement, though even more is hidden. The story is a complex one, but she takes the reader by the hand, leading the way through a violent and occasionally shocking labyrinth. It’s an intense story, even for Slaughter, who doesn’t pull back either physically or emotionally. Much is resolved by the end of the book, but not everything. If you don’t feel a chill run down your spine by the time you read the last page, you may want to be sure you still have a pulse.

Slaughter continues to breathe new life into this long-running and entertaining series by growing the characters while revealing new facets to Angie’s (almost) totally malevolent psyche. Reading THE KEPT WOMAN will put you through an emotional wringer, but in the best possible way, even for those readers who might find the gore quotient a bit high. This is one of those series that is so well written that it’s worth going back to the beginning and reading all that has gone before, just to become reacquainted with the backstory, not to mention giving one something to do while impatiently waiting for the next installment.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on September 23, 2016

The Kept Woman
by Karin Slaughter