Will Trent is a dyslexic Georgia state agent. John Shelley is a convicted sex offender just released on parole after serving his sentence for killing a high school classmate. There are several young female victims whose tongues have been either cut off or bitten off. Various detectives on both the state and local level are working the cases. Will’s love interest is a vice detective, which is to say, she dresses as a prostitute and catches johns who proposition her. All the major characters are seriously flawed. There you have the elements of this well-written mystery.
This is the first Karin Slaughter book I’ve read, and I see why she’s popular. The story was complex enough to be interesting and she didn’t revel in the gore and sadism, at least not for a long time. It was well-paced. It was a best-seller. Still, I do not plan to read any more books by her. The whole story was too dark and depressing. None of the characters were likeable. The ending was particularly unsatisfying. John, we learn early on, is innocent (of the killing for which he was convicted, although not totally innocent by any means). So when the real killer is finally confronted in the final scenes we are inundated with sadism and depravity so over-the-top as to be ridiculous. It would be disgusting if it weren’t so unbelievable as to be almost meaningless. Those squeamish about torture scenes should stay away. The final scene with a certain relative of John’s made absolutely no sense legally or in any other way.