Friday, August 9, 2013





By Karin Slaughter


Series: Will Trent #1


Published by: Delacorte Press


Published On: August 15, 2006

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

The many reviews that praise the thriller TRIPTYCH by Karin Slaughter must be based, I think, on the second half of the book. (You may disagree. More on that later.) If so, then the praise is justified. But a book review should be based on a book’s entirety, and Slaughter paints a picture of characters and background for almost 200 pages before she gets to the suspense. She risks losing readers after page 50. But if you stick with it, it not only gets better; it gets great.

TRIPTYCH is the first book in a series about Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the book doesn't begin with him. It begins with a newspaper clipping from 1985 about the murder of a 15-year-old girl in Georgia. This is why you may disagree with my opinion. Because the book begins with a murder, you might say, it begins with suspense. Maybe. But that little clipping wasn't enough for me.

Next, TRIPTYCH fast forwards to 2006, when a detective, Michael, begins an investigation of a murder similar to the 1985 murder, although no one yet links the two. Then the book takes us back to 1985 when a teenager, John, is accused of the murder; then it goes forward again to 2005 and 2006, when we meet Trent; then we're back to 1985, then forward, and so on until we have what appears to be the complete picture of crimes occurring in 2006 that are similar to that first one in 1985.

Probably the first 180 pages are Slaughter's effort to give depth to the characters so that this novel is not simply plot driven and to show that the 1985 murder and characters are connected to the 2005 and 2006 murders and characters. But, especially in the case of the 1985 murder, the details are hard to read because they are so infuriating and frustrating. What needs to be said is never said, what needs to happen never happens.

But after a surprise about one of the character's identity is revealed, TRIPTYCH does get really good. Now it's a thriller.

One reader review of this book complains that the murderer is apparent halfway through the book. That person doesn't get it. True, we can figure out the mystery 200 or so pages in, but the suspense is just beginning. After we know who the murderer is, the book gets un-put-downable. Believe it, this book WILL grab you.