‘Crime is a great leveler’
The day her new novel debuts in the U.S., Karin Slaughter will be here, visiting at Wilton Library on Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
The purchase of Slaughter’s new book, Pretty Girls, is entry to her appearance. The price is $30 and includes two seats at the event and one hardcover copy of the book. All ticket purchases are non-refundable. Books will be distributed at check-in beginning at 6:30 the night of the event. Additional books will be available for purchase courtesy of Elm Street Books. Slaughter will answer questions from the audience and there will be a book signing after the talk.
To purchase tickets, visit wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-3950.
The author of 14 titles, Slaughter is known for police thrillers, including her Will Trent detective series, and stand-alones, such as last year’s top seller Cop Town.
Pretty Girls is different, however. It is the first novel Slaughter has written that is not told from the point of view of the police.
The story revolves around two sisters — Claire and Lydia — who have not spoken since the disappearance years earlier of their teenaged sister Julia. Years later, Claire’s husband is killed. Seemingly unrelated crimes draw the estranged sisters together to look for answers and in doing so uncover secrets that tore their family apart.
The subject of sisters is not foreign to Slaughter.
“I’m the yountest of three sisters,” she told The Bulletin last week, adding she was the youngest and most-loved. This drew considerable animosity from her older siblings. “When I am around my older sister, I’m always the baby sister. I wanted to talk about that a little bit."
“When the book opens, the sisters are estranged. Their marriages caused animosity," said Slaughter. Claire put her sister Lydia on the outside of the family.
“I wanted to talk about no matter how much time elapses, they fall into those [familiar] patterns” of the past," she said.
Slaughter said she’s written about sisters before, “but not in this close central relationship. It hasn’t revolved around a crime.”
In Pretty Girls “there are two women, it’s in the present day, something bad has happened and they have to figure out how to navigate around each other.
“This was a challenge for me,” she continued. “I’ve never written a book that didn’t have a cop as a narrator. It’s the first time I did a story from the point of view of real people. It’s realistic and raw in places.”
Along with the relationship between the two sisters, Slaughter delves into Claire’s marriage to her wealthy but controlling husband.
“Not to say anything bad about 50 Shades of Grey,” she said, “but that is a fantasy. In real life I wanted to talk about being with a rich, controlling guy who wants everything his own way. Claire doesn’t realize how tightly controlled her relationship is until he’s murdered.”
Lydia, on the other hand, “was married young and had a child but the guy overdosed and died. She was an addict but she cleaned up. It’s hard for her to navigate because she’s estranged from her family and she lived in a shelter with her child,” Slaughter said. After working her way up in a dog grooming salon, Lydia “is with a nice guy now, but she’s been with some crappy guys along the way.”
In past interviews Slaughter has said she thinks writing thrillers holds a mirror to society, and she explained this by saying “it would be impossible for me to name a book I love that doesn’t have a crime in it, from Gone with the Wind to To Kill A Mockingbird. Crime is just a great leveler. It allows you to talk about people on their worst day. If you are interested in writing about the human psyche, this is the way. The threat of violence brings out deeper emotions in the character.”
Pretty Girls was released earlier this year at number one in the UK and number two in Holland, behind 50 Shades. When asked what she wants readers to take from this book she said, “First I want them to think it’s a great read, with a lot of twists and turns, a lot of action in the book.
“I would like them to enjoy reading it and then take a look at what is on their husbands’ computers.”
Although she enjoys writing her books, Slaughter said she definitely would not like to live in them.
“They are too violent places,” she said. “I might like to know some of the characters, but not when bad things happen.”
For fans of Slaughter’s series, she said she is working right now on a new Will Trent novel called The Kept Woman.
In addition to talking with her fans and filling them in on her latest works, Slaughter said when she comes to Wilton she’d like to talk about libraries and how important they are.
“Every library system in America needs help right now,” she said. “What they really need is money. I try to emphasize that to people. I try to encourage that. Libraries are the backbone of our education system. If we take them out, we will have problems with kids. Do we want them to have books or go on the Internet?
“I am really looking forward to seeing all the people in Wilton,” she said.