Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Eight top crime novels about people haunted by their pasts

Harry Dolan's latest novel is The Good Killer.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight compelling crime "stories of people who can’t escape their histories, no matter how much they may want to," including:
Karin Slaughter, Pretty Girls

Family history also lies at the heart of Karin Slaughter’s novel Pretty Girls, which revolves around a pair of sisters, Claire and Lydia. As teenagers growing up in Atlanta, the two girls experienced a heart-breaking tragedy: the disappearance of their older sister, Julia. From that point, their lives diverged. Lydia turned to drugs and petty crime; Claire married Paul Scott, a wealthy businessman, hoping he would take care of her. Years later, as the novel opens, Claire and Paul’s marriage seems to be a happy one. They meet for drinks at a bar and afterward duck into an alley for a playful make-out session. There they encounter a thief with a knife, and Paul, trying to protect Claire, is stabbed to death before her very eyes. After the funeral, as she’s looking through Paul’s effects, Claire discovers a cache of violent pornography on his computer: videos of young women being tortured and killed. The police are unhelpful, claiming that the videos look staged, but to Claire they seem real, and they lead her to doubt everything she thought she knew about her husband. She confides in her estranged sister Lydia, and the two of them set out to uncover Paul’s secrets, eventually coming to believe that he had a part in Julia’s long-ago disappearance. Slaughter builds the tension expertly, throwing in a series of twists and revelations that lead to an action-packed finale.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue