Book Review: Triptych by Karin Slaughter

Posted July 30, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Triptych 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.

Triptych by Karin Slaughter
Genres: Crime Mystery
Published by Delacorte Press on August 16, 2006
Pages: 393
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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

First in the Will Trent mystery crime series and revolving around a series of crimes that come to life in February of 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia.

My Take

It’s a slow introduction to the primary character of the series, and is he ever different! She finds so many ways to make her characters unique, and I did enjoy Will’s thoughts on the hot pink leash for Betty, lol. He’s a brilliant, sweet man with so many issues; the struggle Will has with his dyslexia will make you cry: “He’d always had his nose in a book. Angie … later figured out that Will was staring at the words, trying to get them to make sense.” I wonder if his dyslexia has made him better at reading people? His scars embarrass him. He’s the most unlikely hero, and I want to know more about him.

Angie…whoa… She’s a complex piece of work. It can certainly be put down to Will’s and Angie’s horrible childhoods, and they each have some nasty issues. Will may be a fascinating character, but that Angie and her odd relationship with Will creates so many conflicting issues.

The truth about Michael slowly comes out, as we hear one thing from Michael’s perspective, and then another from his wife. John is such a contrast to him. He may be a con, but he’s so sweet, and the question he asks that hooker is even sweeter, and so innocent. He’s a lucky guy to have people care about him. Although you’d’ve never thought anyone would.

It’s a fascinating and horrifying look into prison life and the difficulty of being an ex-con in society. It’s so sad, how much he regrets how stupid he was, all that he would take back if he could. And it’s all too late.

And all of this comes out, twisting back on itself with Slaughter using a third person global subjective point-of-view, as we hear from so many different perspectives. Seeing events through their eyes, hearing their thoughts, as they go through life.

It is clever how Slaughter intertwines her characters and pulls the various threads together, keeping so very much secret, dribbling it out, letting the horror seep in.

Slaughter is too right. That America is willing to spend millions once the damage is done when it would be so much cheaper if we spent the money helping keep kids safe when they’re young.

Drug abuse is the obvious theme with that scary comment: “Having money doesn’t protect your children from drugs, they simply buy better drugs.”

While the drug addiction is upfront, it’s a story about anger, about self-esteem issues, rebellious teens, and selfish parents as well as parents who finally give up.

The Story

Women are dying — at the hands of a killer who signs his work with a single, chilling act of mutilation. Leaving behind enough evidence to fuel a frenzied police hunt, this cunning madman is bringing together dozens of lives, crossing the boundaries of wealth and race.

Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread — and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. Add Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael’s lover before she became his enemy.

But another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer’s trail in the most coincidental of ways — someone who may be the key to breaking the case wide open.

The Characters

Georgia Bureau of Investigation
The dyslexic Agent Will Trent has a doctorate in crimonology, needs routine, and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. Betty is the neighbor’s Chihuahua. Will had been “exiled” to Section 8 where Yip Gomez had been the chief. Angie is the girl Will had grown up with in the Atlanta Children’s Home run by Mrs. Flannery.

SCAT is the Special Criminal Apprehension Team headed up by Dr Amanda Wagner and Will’s boss who has a preference for broken agents. Caroline is Amanda’s secretary. Susan Richardson is Amanda’s boss.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Agent Bob Burg.

Atlanta PD
Detective Michael Ormewood, on the force for fifteen years, moved into Vice and is now in Homicide. Ken Wozniak was his partner and ended up in the hospital. Gina is his unhappy wife who works as a nurse at Piedmont, and Ellen McCallum is her cousin. Tim is their son and a bone of contention between them with Gina’s mom, Barbara, a.k.a., BaBa, throwing in against Michael. Cynthia Barrett is their fifteen-year-old next-door neighbor. Phil is her traveling father.

Officer Bill Burgess is a seasoned beat cop. Officer Collier has too many muscles. Detective Leo Donnelly is a jerk. Lieutenant Ted Greer wants it out of his hands. Pete Hanson is the medical examiner, and he’s banned Donnelly from the morgue. Sharon works in dispatch.

Detective Angie Polaski is in Vice. Her mother, Dierdre Polaski is a vegetable living in a state home. Rusty was Dierdre’s drug dealer. Lieutenant Canton is her boss.

DeKalb County is controlled by a few men, and the outgoing sheriff, Sidney Dorsey, didn’t appreciate Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown, who was assassinated. Officer Barkley wants in Michael’s house.

John Shelley recently got out of Coastal State Prison and is on parole. Ben “the Atlanta Carver” Carver had been his serial killer nutso cellmate. Ben’s mother, Beulah Carver, is dating Mr. Propson. Everett was one of the guards. Zebra had been a predatory prisoner.

Art is John’s boss at the car wash. Ray-Ray and Chico are fellow cons and coworkers. Martha Lam is his surprising parole officer. Mr. Applebaum runs a house over in Dugdale. There’s another Jonathan Winston Shelley using John’s SSN and identity.

The Grady neighborhood is…
…where the Homes is located. Nora is a very defiant old lady. Jasmine “Jazz” who is protective of her little brother, Cedric, are some of the kids at the apartment building. Their granny is Eleanor Allison who loves to read and had taught history. Glory is a heroin addict and the kids’ mother. Luther Morrison is Jazz’s fifteen years older boyfriend. Freddy.

Ratz are one of the new gangs.

The forty-year-old Aleesha “Leesha” Monroe had been a hooker; Baby G had been her pimp and hangs at the Homes. She sounds like the female counterpart to John. Miriam Monroe is her mother. Dr Tobias, her father, is an amateur collector and a gynecologist. Leesha’s siblings include Ashley who is their oldest daughter and a gynecologist. Harley is a classical pianist. Clinton is an orthopedist. Gerald is a psychiatrist. Mason is a dog groomer. Marcus Keith had been Leesha’s advisor in her treatment program who had already served time.

Julie Cooper of Tucker was 15; Detective Dave Sanders is with the PD. Anna Linder was 14; Dawn Simmons of Buford was another victim. Randall is a sales assistant at the Atlanta City Rent-All. Stewie Campiano was Robin’s first kiss. Tank works at Piedmont hospital. Lola is one of the hookers Robin hangs with.

Decatur, Georgia,1985
Mary Alice Finney was fifteen years old and John’s first friend until she doesn’t like the person he’s become. Paul Finney is her father and an assistant district attorney; Mindy is his secretary. Susan and Faye had been Mary Alice’s friends. Mark Reed had thought he was Mary Alice’s boyfriend. Lyle Anders was the DA. Harold Waller is the police chief. District Judge Billie Bennett presided over the trial.

John’s father, Richard Shelley, is an oncologist at Decatur Hospital concerned with appearances. Emily is his mother who kept the faith. Joyce is their oldest perfect child; she’s now a lawyer with Keener, Rose, and Shelley and living with Kathy Keenan, a real estate lawyer. Principal Binder and Coach Vic McCollough spoke against John.

Woody Carson is John’s cousin. Barry, Emily’s brother, was his father who was divorced from his lawyer mother, Lydia, who defended John.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a duller version of the online cover with a black background and a triptych of broken windows in white frames, staggered in a line across the bottom two-thirds of the cover. Behind the glass are three people in colorful silhouette. An info blurb and the title are at the top and bottom in a metallic gray blue with the title embossed. The author’s name is just below the top in an embossed copper.

The title is both a painting of Angie’s and a metaphor for all the different faces of a number of characters, a Triptych hinged so that opening or closing the different canvases makes a different picture, and particularly of one person.

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