Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Book Review: The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Title: The Last Widow
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 446
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A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor.

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.

The Last Widow is the 9th book in Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series. I didn’t even know this was a series until I finished the book and looked it up on Goodreads. I plan to read the rest of the series but I’m glad that Slaughter doesn’t make you feel lost if you haven’t read books 1-8. From what I can tell, the characters are all the same, but each book has a different plot, kind of like standalone episodes of a cop drama. This book was a palpitating five-star read for me!

This gripping and complex book is about Will Trent and Sara Linton. Will is a police officer with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and Sara is a medical examiner. This book starts with a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scientist, Michelle Spivey, being kidnapped in a shopping center parking lot. If I remember correctly, this happened on the third or fourth page. One month and just a few pages later, Will and Sara were at her Sara’s aunt’s house, near Emory University in Atlanta, when they heard and felt an explosion. It turns out the neighborhood surrounding Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, AND the CDC had been bombed. As first responders, Will and Sara quickly head to the site of the explosion when Sara is abducted by the same assailants who took Michelle.

I was NOT prepared for this book. Even if I’d read a description of this book before reading it, I still wouldn’t have been prepared. I’ve been reading a lot of thrillers lately, but this one was on another level because it was real. The reason being that it touched on themes extremely close to my heart. Will and Sara ended up in the middle of a terrorist conspiracy, one that was headed by a Nazi who believed the world needed to be cleansed of everyone not straight and white. In an effort not to give any spoilers, that is all I will say of the book’s plot.

There are many disturbing themes in this book that readers should be aware of. These themes are rape, pedophilia, domestic violence, racism, terrorism, Christian extremism, Nazism, cult-like behavior, homophobia, misogyny, and a lot of death and violence. If you can handle these themes, then I HIGHLY recommend this book because it was thought-provoking and strong. It is obvious that Slaughter conducted an intense and thorough background into the aforementioned topics for this book. I can only imagine what she had to read to write alt-right characters as convincing as the ones in this book. It’s easy to tell that as she immersed herself in each character as she was writing them. After writing some of these characters, I’m sure she had to go and take a shower hot enough to take off her first layer of skin.

Between 2015 and 2020, the rise of hate in the United States few ten-fold and this book was a statement about that. Slaughter gave us a bone-chilling insight into the hateful minds of the Alt-right. This book is hard to read. It is stomach-clenching. It is brutal. It is yell-inducing. It is insomnia-inducing because not immediately finishing this book as soon as possible is unthinkable.

My favorite character in this book was a tie between Will and Sara. They are both written so well that you just can’t help but to love them both. Each of these characters in the book felt real to me and that’s what made it so terrifying. No matter how despicable, low, and extreme Slaughter’s writing went, absolutely none of it surprised me because it was really how some people think. There are people who hate me for being black. There are people who hate me for being a woman. There are people who hate my friends for being LGBTQ+. There are people who hate my friends for being nonbinary. Unfortunately, these people will always exist, but there will always be the minority, not the majority.