Book Review: The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter

Posted October 23, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Published by William Morrow on August 4, 2020
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Kisscut, Indelible, A Faint Cold Fear, Triptych , Faithless, Beyond Reach, Blindsighted , Triptych, Fractured, Undone, Broken, "Snatched", Criminal, "Busted", Unseen, "Cleaning the Gold"

Tenth in the Will Trent series and revolving around Special Agent Will Trent in Atlanta, Georgia. I think it’s been six weeks since The Last Widow.

My Take

Slaughter bounces back and forth between today’s crimes and the crimes of yesteryear using a third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Sara’s and Will’s perspectives for the current time period. Back then, Slaughter uses a third person protagonist POV from Jeffrey’s perspective.

The story is clear and…yet not. The cases Jeffrey investigated, and for which the GBI is coming to believe that the wrong man was put in prison. And I do get confused at times. It does help that Jeffrey is active back then and only mentioned in the now, but you do have to keep track.

It’s gruesome in the crimes themselves and fascinating as Slaughter cycles through the present day murders to the confusion over Jeffrey’s actions to the surprise conclusion.

The past occurs shortly after Sara divorced Jeffrey, and the town is not thrilled with him. This re-investigation involves Sara’s new lover, Will Trent, and he’s terrified of putting a foot wrong with Sara and her memories of her beloved first/second husband.

The Silent Wife begins with a confused Will — to be fair, Will is usually confused in his social interactions, as he never learned how, and he has no idea how to handle this new dust-up with Sara. The marriage question. It’s a difficult situation for both of them, for Sara tries so hard to be open to Will, and yet his lack of social acuity hampers them both.

There’s an interesting bit on how useful smartphones are in prison. Even more depressing is Georgia (and other states) allowing anyone to be coroner. Hullo? How is this professional? How does a hairdresser have a clue about doing an autopsy? What are these politicians thinking??

Will has an interesting theory about why Jeffrey kept Lena around: the gray rabbit dynamic. And it makes sense. It’s too bad Lena is such a liability. It’s scary to think that cops like Lena exist. It’s also scary to read the background on Angie, what a nasty woman she is/was!

What is it with men thinking it’s okay to fool around, but they love their wives? And Jeffrey remembers the hard way what it’s like living in a small town. Dang, that boy really screwed up…

I can sure understand Sara’s concern about Tessa’s plans, and it’s also heartwarming when she comes to a different decision.

I do admire Will. His drive to succeed in spite of his horrible childhood, and those conflicting views with outsiders fearing him even while Will thinks he’s an idiot.

Eek! Don’t go to prison for the free medical!! More of the money issue is those laws that insist law enforcement keep this or that in records but refuse to include the money to enable this. Still more money saving is Brock’s new workplace and their assembly-line process of prepping the dead. Ewww.

The whole story has a not-so-minor tension about the “argument” between Will and Sara. Phew, as for Gina Vogel’s story, gads, I tensed up and kept wanting to text her or the cops!

Gerald Caterino’s story will make you cry, especially for his daughter. All that promise destroyed. I was totally confused about this guy, but I did have to appreciate his reasoning as to why he was sending all these murder articles to Nesbitt, lol.

Do read the author’s note at the end where Slaughter states that she “decided to write frankly about violence against women”. Yep. She sure has.

It’s that almost-last thought Sara has that really grabs me though:

“With Jeffrey … possibly hundreds of other women … could love him just as intensely as she did. With Will, Sara was keenly aware that she was the only woman on earth who could love him the way that he deserved to be loved.”

The Story

A con is filled with righteous indignation about a cop who taught his force to break the law and get away with it. That Jeffrey Tolliver!

It’s a complaint the GBI has to address, and it’s looking as if there might be good reason to question Jeffrey’s case. That the real killer was still out there.

The Characters

Special Agent Will Trent is dyslexic and trying to hide it. He’s also in terrified love with Sara, Jeffrey Tolliver’s widow, the late chief of police of Grant County. Betty is Will’s inherited chihuahua.

Dr Sara Linton has joined the GBI as their medical examiner. She’s got a Porsche Cayenne to replace her totaled BMW X5 because Will loves Porsches. Bob and Billy are her giant greyhounds. Cathy and Pete Linton are Sara’s parents with a family business, Linton and Daughters Plumbing. The reckless Tessa is her younger sister about to get divorced and who wants to become a midwife. She has a five-year-old daughter, Izzie. Lemuel is Tessa’s missionary husband based in South Africa.

AllCare AfterLife Services is…
…where Sara’s childhood friend Dan Brock now works as the director of Embalming Services; he’d sold his funeral home to care for his mother, Myrna. Hal Watson is the facility manager. David Harper is employee of the month.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is…
…the state equivalent of the FBI. Faith Mitchell is Will’s partner with two kids: the college student, Jeremy, and two-year-old Emma. Evelyn Mitchell is Faith’s mother, a retired police captain who is friends with Amanda and part of her network.

Deputy Director Amanda “Voldemort” Wagner is their direct superior. Caroline is Amanda’s assistant. Charlie Reed is their chief crime tech. Gary Quintana is Sara’s assistant. Other agents include Nick Shelton, an old friend of Jeffrey’s, and Rasheed Littrell.

Today’s Victims
Alexandra McAllister was found by two hikers. Now she’s at the Ingle Funeral Home of Sautee run by Ezra Ingle. Gina Vogel works from home and has turned paranoid. Nancy is her older sister with a nightmare of a twelve-year-old.

Joan Feeney, Bernadette Baker, Jessica Spivey, Rennie Seeger, Pia Danske, Charlene Driscoll, Deaundra Baum, Alice Scott, Theresa Singer, Callie Zanger, and Shay Van Dorne (her parents were Larry and Aimee). These days Callie is a partner at Guthrie, Hodges and Zanger. Her mother is Veronica Houston-Bailey of Houston-Bailey Realtors. Rod Zanger is Callie’s jerk of an ex-husband.

Retired police detective Dirk Masterson‘s website is Love2CMurder and has been helping investigate for Gerald. Chip Shepherd is another retired cop. Bryan works at Mailbox Center Station. Miranda Newberry is a CPA who spends a lot of time on crime blogs. Pastor Nelson may be able to help. Marla may know about Delilah.

Macon PD
Lena is a detective in Macon these days. She’s also eight-months pregnant and married to Jared Long, Jeffrey’s son and a motorcycle cop.

Phillips State Prison is…
…a medium-security facility mostly housing inmates diagnosed with mental health issues, in need of special management, or protective custody. Jesus Rodrigo Vasquez was killed. Hector Louis Maduro tries to roll over Will and Faith, but she steamrolls him, lol. Daryl Nesbitt wants to deal and has info on a corrupt cop. Michael Padilla is a suspect.

Angie is Will’s psychotic ex-wife…thank god she’s ex!

Some Eight Years Ago

The handsome, admired, respected Jeffrey “The Chief” Tolliver was chief of police for Grant County. Marla Simms is the police station secretary. His detectives include the soon-to-retire Frank, the lazy and dirty Lena Adams, and Matt Hogan. The police officers include the young Brad Stephens, Jefferson, White, Landry, Cheshire, Dawson, Lam, Hendricks, and Schroeder. Ben Walker had been the previous chief of police and a good example of how not to be.

Possum and Nell are Jeffrey’s friends. Mae is Jeffrey’s drunk of a mother.

In Heartsdale
owns the diner. The compassionate Dan Brock is the county coroner, and he owns the family funeral home. His father had been a functioning drunk who died two days before they found Leslie and Beckey. Clem Waters is the mayor. Jeb McGuire is the town pharmacist. Buddy Conford is a lawyer. The Porters and Mrs Beaman are Sara’s neighbors.

Jeffrey’s now-ex-wife, Dr Sara Linton, quits as the county medical examiner but still works at the Heartsdale Children’s Clinic. Dr Barney still owns the clinic. But not for long. Nelly Morgan is the office manager. Molly Stoddard is Sara’s nurse. Jimmy Powell is one of Sara’s patients. Parker is Sara’s new boyfriend, a lawyer and former Navy fighter pilot.

The Victims
Thomasina “Tommi” Humphrey seems to have been the first. Her parents, Adam and Delilah, are trying to protect her. Rosario Lopez is another missing student.

Leslie Truong had found Beckey…who was initially assumed dead. Oops. Bonita had been Leslie’s mother. Joanna Gordon was another lousy roommate. Joanna Copeland is the one who found Leslie. Rebecca “Beckey” Caterino is a gay student majoring in Environmental Chemistry at Grant Tech with the worst roommates, who include Kayleigh Pierce, Deneshia Lachland, and Vanessa Sutter. Markus Powell is Vanessa’s cheating boyfriend.

Gerald Caterino is Beckey’s distraught father who owns a landscaping business. He claims Heath as his son, raising him and caring for his daughter who requires 24/7 care. Lashanda looks after Beckey during the day. Jill had been Gerald’s wife.

Grant Tech University is…
…a godsend for Heartsdale. Dr Sibyl Adams, Lena’s sister, is Beckey’s professor. Nan is Sibyl’s significant other. Kevin Blake is the dean and a master of corporate double-speak. Chuck Gaines is the joke of a campus security chief whose guards take bribes.

Felix “Little Bit” Floyd Abbot, who sells pot on campus, comes from a long line of Abbot ne’er do wells. Big Bit Abbot is the Daryl who wanted to be a professional skateboarder. His mother, Hannah Nesbitt, OD’d when he was eight. His stepdad, Uncle Axle Abbot, went to prison. Another Daryl is Farley Daryl Zowaski, an eighty-four-year-old flasher. Johanna Mettes died in a car accident.

Steve Mann is the guy with whom Sara went to senior prom. Coach Childers, a farmer, had a nasty accident and was the “inciting” incident. The Kudzu Arms was a shaky motel where Jeffrey ended up spending a lot of time. Jeffrey’s secret list of names that he lied to Sara about included Heidi, Lillie, Kathy, Kaitlin, Emmie, and Jolene.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a dark background gradating down the center starting with a navy blue (that also frames the background) to a teal green overlapping a “white” ribbon outline for a heart to the red of the embossed title at the bottom. Below the title is a testimonial also in red. At the very top in a paler navy is an info blurb. The author’s name is below this in an embossed white.

The title is Sara who has no intention of being The Silent Wife nor does she want a silent husband unlike the accusations Jeffrey tossed at her.

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