Tuesday, October 15, 2019


HARPERCOLLINS/William Morrow – @HarperCollins @WmMorrowBks

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

AUTHOR: Karin Slaughter – @SlaughterKarin
ISBN: 978-0-06-285808-2; hardcover (August 20, 2019)
464pp, B&W, $27.99 U.S., $34.99 CAN

The Last Widow is a 2019 novel from American crime writer, Karin Slaughter.  She is an international bestselling author who has sold millions of books in a multitude of languages around the world.  The Last Widow stars the lead character from each of Slaughter's two book series.

The first is Will Trent, a special agent in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the star of the “Will Trent” series.  The second is Sara Linton, a doctor and medical examiner from Slaughter's “Grant County” novels.  The Last Widow finds Will and Sara trying to unravel the mystery of a impending terrorist attack that will take place somewhere in or around Atlanta, Georgia.

The Last Widow opens with three shocking events.  First, on Sunday, July 7, 2019, Michelle Spivey, a scientist, is kidnapped from a shopping center parking lot one night while she is out with her daughter.  On August 4, 2019, two explosions rock the campus of Emory University, a 600+ acre-complex that is the home of two major hospitals and also government agencies and institutes, including the FBI headquarters and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

George Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent and the love of his life, Dr. Sara Linton, head for the scene the explosions in order to help civilians, each in the way he or she has been trained to do.  However, what they first rush into is the scene of a multi-car accident.  Sara immediately finds something peculiar about the accident scene, but by the time Will catches on to the oddities, Sara is in the clutches of a small group of highly-skilled and armed men.

After the assailants abduct Sara, Will throws himself into the case and goes undercover, putting his life on the line to save the woman he loves and to discover the kidnappers' plot, which may endanger the entire nation.  Meanwhile, in the clutches of an extremist group, the Invisible Patriot Army (IPA), Sara meets the mysterious leader, a man known as “Dash,” who plans an attack that will rock the United States.  But Sara can't quite figure out Dash's machinations, and she is running out of time and is hoping that Will can save her.

I have seen Karin Slaughter's name in book club magazines, on bookstore shelves, and in the emails online bookseller send me for more years than I can remember.  The Last Widow is the first book of hers that I have read – thanks to a review galley copy I received from her publisher.  After finishing The Last Widow, I realize that I should have been reading her books years ago.

The Last Widow is a crime thriller the way that Shakespeare's Hamlet is a historical drama – both defy convenient literary labels.  The Last Widow is every post-9/11 nightmare blended into all three NCIS series, flavored with the police procedural, and a sprinkling of books, TV, and films about the FBI (which is practically a genre onto itself).

I am determined not to spoil neither the intricacies of this novel's narrative nor the ultimate diabolical design of Dash and the IPA.  I will say that The Last Widow is pulse-pounding, ass-pounding, and heart-stopping.  Warning!  Reading it may cause sphincters to clinch.  Everything about it – from the tactics of the heroes to the evil of the villains seems so real-life.  Karin Slaughter offers a scenario so plausible that writing The Last Widow should get her put on some kind of FBI watch-list.

For all that makes this novel a potboiler, The Last Widow is filled with sparkling wit and pointed social commentary from a writer who is as witty and as sly as she is versed in the ways of law enforcement.  Religious extremism, racism, and the Confederacy and segregation are among Slaughter's targets.  Also, fans of her “Will Trent” series can take comfort that series regulars like Faith Mitchell and Amanda Wagner are supporting characters in The Last Widow.

Fans of her novels cannot let The Last Widow get past them.  Readers of the genre known as “crime thriller” will want to discover Karin Slaughter and this absolutely fantastic novel.  It may be the most explosive way to finish your summer reading.

9 out of 10


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You'

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.


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