Guest Editor, Early Summer 2021 - Karin Slaughter

We are thrilled beyond measure to announce that Karin Slaughter is our early summer Guest Editor. Karin’s books are among the most exciting and compulsively readable novels out there. You can tell by the way that editorial expert Liz Robinson raves about her books, and the fact that they regularly sit on the LoveReading Star Books list, that the team here rate Karin as a book world GREAT! 

False Witness, Karin’s latest standalone novel, is published in hardback on the 24 June and is quite simply outstanding. It packs an overwhelming punch and Karin’s unmistakable magic touch. She knows exactly when to place a lighter moment, or blurt of laughter to aid the reader in this powerful and provocative novel that explores social issues and violence. Liz Robinson’s review describes it as: “stunning yet dark and devastating… Karin Slaughter has hit this standalone thriller out of the park”. Karin also discussed her new book, False Witness on the LoveReading LitFest, click here to view the event.

So a very warm welcome, and over to Karin.

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The theme of my selection is ignoring genre.  I’m always slightly amused when I hear people say they don’t read genre fiction, because what I think they’re trying to say is that they only read books that smart people read.  Another phrase I love is transcending the genre, which is a fancier way of saying “I’m normally too smart to read dystopia, or science fiction, or murder mysteries, but I really enjoyed the Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) and the Martian (Andy Weir) and Case Histories (Kate Atkinson).”  Guess what?  That means you love genre fiction.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (fantasy)

I met Tochi on a panel right before the pandemic hit and he was so delightful and engaging that I took a copy of his book home with me. Post #MeToo, a depressingly predictable number of male writers have suddenly turned away from tough guy narrators to writing women protagonist who are feisty and kick ass and love to give blow jobs. Tochi isn’t like that. He has a kindness and curiosity that imbues his characters with respect and believable complications.  His young women are trying to find a place in the world that seeks to stifle them. That they are able to find ways through the many obstacles thrown in their paths speaks to Tochi’s sensitivities and I dare say his own family’s immigrant experience.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (police procedural)

My friend Alafair Burke told me to read this book or she would stop talking to me. She was right to put the threat at that level because this is simply one of the best books I’ve read in the last ten years. Like Alafair, Attica is both a writer and a lawyer, so she really understands her material. The thing that got me right out of the gate is that the narrator is a black Texas Ranger. We don’t often see police procedurals written from the perspective of black law enforcement officers, or in the rare cases that we do, those officers tend to come across as anti-heroes. Attica takes on the racial issues at the core of this story with an unblinking eye, and the reader is all the better for her honesty.  You can see why this woman has won or been shortlisted for just about every major award there is, including the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (for Pleasantville in 2016)

Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (collection)

Many people refuse to read short fiction, but what they don’t understand is that the important part is the fiction, not the length. Being able to tell a story with a modicum of words is an absolute talent that not every book-length author possesses, but Porter loosely fictionalized a gut-wrenching account of her own struggle with the Spanish Flu in the eponymous story. I remember reading this collection in college and being shocked that this cataclysmic event that killed millions of people happened and I hadn’t until that moment really learned about the pandemic. Of course, there are echoes to what we are going through today, and when I started writing my own pandemic novel, I went back to Pale Horse, Pale Rider for inspiration.

The Treatment by Mo Hayder (thriller)

I bought this for a flight back home from London and it so captivated me that I was literally the last person to stand up after we landed. Mo and I had to put up with the same type of crap when we started writing—interviewers asking us how we as women can write such brutal stories about women and children. When women write these sorts of stories, they’re categorized as “domestic thrillers.” When men write them, they’re marketed as evocatively capturing female rage (Mo Hayder: too angry and violent. Stig Larsson: evocatively captures female rage). Hands down this is one of the best-plotted, most terrifying novels you’ll read.

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier (domestic suspense)

Again, one of those genre ghettos where a woman gets put in domestic suspense and a male author would get put in plain ol’ suspense or thriller. This is an “every mother’s nightmare” story that turns into an “every woman’s nightmare,” but what Jennifer is telling here is a universal story about self-doubt, betrayal and ultimately, revenge. I can’t think of another author working today who writes characters quite like Jennifer.

***

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NEW YORK TIMES bestselling novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project--a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels PIECES OF HER, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and COP TOWN are in development for film and television.

www.karinslaughter.com

Facebook: AuthorKarinSlaughter

Instagram: karinslaughterauthor

Twitter: @SlaughterKarin

Pieces of Her

Pieces of Her

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/04/2019

Pieces of Her blew me away, it’s sharp, edgy, and compulsive. I foolishly started late in the evening and ended up keeping the early hours company for some time as I simply had to finish it! 31-year-old Andrea finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her mum Laura when a birthday trip ends in horrific violence, further danger rushes in and Andy desperately needs to find answers. The prologue encourages intrigue to bubble away nicely then, oh my word… chapter one! Chapter one brilliantly sets the scene before exploding in the most shocking way, I gulped, settled further into my chair and braced myself for the experience. Karin Slaughter has the ability to set a tale on fire, she fans the flames, and I needed my wits about me as the time frame changed and left my understanding floating for a while, searching for answers. Andy and Laura are fascinating characters, they challenged my thoughts and feelings in the best possible way. Incredibly stimulating and enthralling Pieces of Her has left me on a heart-hammering high!

eBooks of the Month
Cop Town

Cop Town

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/06/2015

As a brutal killing and a furious manhunt rock the city, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the police force will also be her last. For life is anything but easy in the male-dominated world of the Atlanta Police Department, where even the other female cops have little mercy for the new girl. Kate isn't the only woman on the force who is finding things tough. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When Maggie and Kate become partners, and are sidelined in the search for the city's cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach boiling point. With the killer poised to strike again, will Kate and Maggie have the courage to pursue their own line of investigation? And are they prepared to risk everything as they venture into the city's darkest heart?

eBooks of the Month
The Last Widow

The Last Widow

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/07/2020

An addictive hammer-hard read that just slams with impact, and feels particularly relevant in todays climate. Agent Will Trent and medical examiner Sara Linton have careers where they are expected to run towards danger. However, when they stop to help at a road traffic collision, danger turns towards and overwhelms them. If you haven’t read any of the Will Trent or Grant County Series, not to worry as you can easily step inside and give yourself up to the story. Karin Slaughter’s books though, are so good, you will probably want to hunt down what has come before, so do weigh up whether or not you want to start mid series. The story starts with a blast of action and doesn’t let up. I love the fact that you are expected to keep up. I was immediately hooked, and read the whole book in one fabulous sitting (oh the reading high you get when that happens!). Time repeats itself from different viewpoints which was absolutely fascinating. As I hurtled towards the ending, I had that delicious feeling of not wanting the story to finish, yet being unable to slow down. I just had to know, had to experience, had to feel. ‘The Last Widow’ is fierce, fast, brilliantly compelling storytelling, it’s not only entertaining, it’s also one hell of a provocative read. I just had to choose it to appear as one of our LoveReading star books. 

Audiobooks of the Month
The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2021

A hard-hitting, fast-moving slicing wow of a book. An old case is reopened when new evidence appears, and a violent predator hunts his next victim. It’s no secret that I get jump-up-and-down excited about Karin Slaughter’s novels. She has the most wonderful ability to pitch full-on sharp storytelling and blasts of drama alongside thoughtfully handled social issues and relationship dilemmas. This could easily be read as a standalone, however there are two series that link to this novel, Will Trent and Grant County. Both series are just too good to miss, and I highly recommend them. For those who have read both sets, in this particular book time slides along a different path in order to make two time frames work. The author’s note perfectly explains why at the end, but (big but), make sure you don’t read the author’s note until you have read every last drop of the novel! Will Trent and Sara Linton work with the rest of the team, while the past runs alongside and does some serious meddling. Please note there are some fairly graphic descriptions of medical examinations and brutal attacks within the novel. Karin Slaughter doesn’t shy away from highlighting a distressing subject matter, which she mentions in her notes and the last part of her acknowledgments. While graphic, it is not gratuitous, and I felt every word that made me wince was necessary. The Silent Wife is another winner of a read, it sent goosebumps skittering down my arms and this, her twentieth novel, has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, Book of the Month, and Liz Pick.

Star Books
False Witness

False Witness

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/06/2021

A hard-hitting, devastating, wow of a read, Karin Slaughter has hit this standalone thriller out of the park! The past hunts down Defence Attorney Leigh Collier as she takes on a high profile rape case, and it threatens to destroy her. I am still squirming with reading euphoria having finished this novel. It’s no secret that I love Karin Slaughter’s writing and regularly shout about her books, for me, this is her best novel to date. It most definitely isn’t an easy or comfortable read, it travels into the very darkest of places, including violent sexual assault and drug addiction. This is one of the first novels I’ve read that covers Covid 19, it sat in the background, there, but not overtaking the storyline. From the beginning, when the shadows sucked me down into their spiralling depths and understanding hit, I knew this would be a one-sitting read. I didn’t want to put this book down, even when flinching from the pain that transmits from the page. While it packs an overwhelming punch, it also contains Karin’s unmistakable magic touch. She knows exactly when a lighter moment is needed, when a smirk or blurt of laughter will aid the reader. Yes it made me wince, it also made me consider what makes us who we are. False Witness is powerful and provocative, it explores social issues and violence, and is all the more fabulous for doing that. A LoveReading Star Book, this is a novel that’s going to stay with me for some time. Karin Slaughter is our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to learn more.

Audiobooks of the Month
Little Secrets

Little Secrets

Author: Jennifer Hillier Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2020

One of those genre ghettos where a woman gets put in domestic suspense and a male author would get put in plain ol’ suspense or thriller. This is an “every mother’s nightmare” story that turns into an “every woman’s nightmare,” but what Jennifer is telling here is a universal story about self-doubt, betrayal and ultimately, revenge. I can’t think of another author working today who writes characters quite like Jennifer. Selected by our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor Karin Slaughter A dramatic and powerful thriller that drills into the heart of what it means to be a family. When her young son Sebastian was taken Marin fell apart, a year later she discovers her husband is having an affair and she vows that she won’t lose him too. The first chapter left my heart in my mouth, feelings blasted from the page and lodged in my mind. The characters are colourfully vibrant, yet also feel so incredibly real. Jennifer Hillier excels in laying out the entirety of a person, she unlocks the facade and lets us in. No judgement takes place within the novel, I was allowed to view, empathise, and examine my own feelings. This was a read-in-one-sitting book for me, I squirmed, I flinched, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Once you’ve finished this I can also thoroughly recommend her Jar of Hearts as another wonderful page-turner, both have been included as LoveReading Star Books. Full to over-flowing with suspense, heart and emotion, Little Secrets is a provocative and compelling read.  

Audiobooks of the Month
The Treatment

The Treatment

Author: Mo Hayder Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/11/2008

I bought this for a flight back home from London and it so captivated me that I was literally the last person to stand up after we landed. Mo and I had to put up with the same type of crap when we started writing—interviewers asking us how we as women can write such brutal stories about women and children. When women write these sorts of stories, they’re categorized as “domestic thrillers.” When men write them, they’re marketed as evocatively capturing female rage (Mo Hayder: too angry and violent. Stig Larsson: evocatively captures female rage). Hands down this is one of the best-plotted, most terrifying novels you’ll read. Selected by our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor Karin Slaughter

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Author: Katherine Anne Porter Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2011

Many people refuse to read short fiction, but what they don’t understand is that the important part is the fiction, not the length. Being able to tell a story with a modicum of words is an absolute talent that not every book-length author possesses, but Porter loosely fictionalized a gut-wrenching account of her own struggle with the Spanish Flu in the eponymous story. I remember reading this collection in college and being shocked that this cataclysmic event that killed millions of people happened and I hadn’t until that moment really learned about the pandemic. Of course, there are echoes to what we are going through today, and when I started writing my own pandemic novel, I went back to Pale Horse, Pale Rider for inspiration. Selected by our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor Karin Slaughter

Bluebird, Bluebird

Bluebird, Bluebird

Author: Attica Locke Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/03/2018

My friend Alafair Burke told me to read this book or she would stop talking to me. She was right to put the threat at that level because this is simply one of the best books I’ve read in the last ten years. Like Alafair, Attica is both a writer and a lawyer, so she really understands her material. The thing that got me right out of the gate is that the narrator is a black Texas Ranger. We don’t often see police procedurals written from the perspective of black law enforcement officers, or in the rare cases that we do, those officers tend to come across as anti-heroes. Attica takes on the racial issues at the core of this story with an unblinking eye, and the reader is all the better for her honesty.  You can see why this woman has won or been shortlisted for just about every major award there is, including the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (for Pleasantville in 2016) Selected by our Early Summer Guest Editor 2021 Karin Slaughter

Riot Baby

Riot Baby

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/01/2020

I met Tochi on a panel right before the pandemic hit and he was so delightful and engaging that I took a copy of his book home with me. Post #MeToo, a depressingly predictable number of male writers have suddenly turned away from tough guy narrators to writing women protagonist who are feisty and kick ass and love to give blow jobs. Tochi isn’t like that. He has a kindness and curiosity that imbues his characters with respect and believable complications.  His young women are trying to find a place in the world that seeks to stifle them. That they are able to find ways through the many obstacles thrown in their paths speaks to Tochi’s sensitivities and I dare say his own family’s immigrant experience. Selected by our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor Karin Slaughter

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