I will be honest. I’ve never been a great follower of crime fiction. I’m more of a classic, Arthur Conan Doyle reader. I like Alexander McCall Smith’s rather more gentler tales, and prefer Miss Marple over Luther. I’m not afraid to read about endless, brutal killings; I’ve just been more attracted to the mystery rather than murder. However, I picked up The Kept Woman as it had been hanging around on the bookshelf; though I was aware that this is part of a series, I still decided to give it a go. I am so glad I did.
*I’d like to note that I am reviewing this without knowing anything about the previous books.
Like a lot of fiction, the monster comes in two forms; the internal and the external. For Will Trent, these are one and the same thing. Angie. This is not necessarily a romance novel, but the love triangle at play coincides with the main plot, thus this isn’t just crime fiction, but a novel that brings Will’s personal life to the forefront of the narrative, giving it that extra depth.
Disgraced ex-cop Dale Harding is murdered at an abandoned nightclub, the same nightclub that links with the open rape case involving Marcus Rippy, a famous athlete who is currently at the top of his career. As well as the ex-cop, a life-threatening amount of blood left at the scene of the crime shows up as being Angie’s blood type. This woman is a psychopath, or so Will and his new girlfriend Sara describe her to be. She’s cruel, she’s an abuser, but she has also been part of Will’s life for the past thirty years and Will will stop at nothing to find out what has happened to her. Of course, this causes conflict with new-girl Sara thus creating the love triangle that at times, makes it frustrating to read.
I was hooked on this book within the first few paragraphs. Its clear Slaughter knows how to keep her readers wanting more. Each chapter ends on a cliff hanger, each sentence is structured to keep you turning the pages. There is happy mix between the characters personal life, and the main string of the plot. Perhaps this is what made the novel so enjoyable; both character and plot are strong and succeed in driving the narrative forward. I found I could easily picture the characters in my head; even minor characters like the new guy following Sara around like an over-excited spaniel, eager to please and eager to learn. The plot itself is complex. Devices such as flashbacks help to tie lose ends and I struggled to find any loopholes in the mystery.
Though I’ve started on the 8th novel, I am keen to read the others. Slaughter addresses harrowing yet prevalent issues which I always look for in novels. Well worth the read; even as a stand-alone novel. Also, what a fantastic name for a crime writer.