#439 ~ Criminal

Criminal by Karin Slaughter

Published by: Random House

Published on: July 3, 2012

Page Count: 448

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

My Reading Format: Audiobook received via a dropcard received at the BEA Blogger Conference from the AudioAGoGo girls

Audiobook Published by: AudioGo

Narrator: Kathleen Early

Audiobook Length: 15 hours 35 minutes

Audiobook Sample: Here is an audio sample from Chapter One of Criminal. Please note that while this audio sample is of the first few minutes of the book, this novel contains adult situations, graphic violence and language.

For more about the book as well as a fun place to explore the interesting time and place of Criminal, be sure to stop by Karin Slaughter’s website. It’s fantastic and is sure to have you singing some tunes from the 70s.

Audiobook Giveaway: AudioGo is graciously providing a complimentary copy of Criminal to two of my lucky readers! The winners can pick from either a CD copy or a dropcard, which is a cool plastic card that provides access to a free digital download of the book. This is how I listened to the book and I loved it. For aa chance to win, leave a comment on this post by Monday, July 16th at 11:59 pm EST. I will select the lucky winners using random.org.

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook

My Review

Lucy Bennett is 19 years old in the mid 1970s, but she feels like  an old woman. Her desire to become thin in high school led to a discovery of pills and then injected drugs. Her desire to lose weight more quickly led to the discovery of the high that eventually led her to Juice, her pimp, and a street corner on a hot Atlanta summer night. She once was Juice’s favorite girl, but Kitty, a girl no older than 16, is moving to the top of the heap. Regret and frustration pool up within her and she finally breaks. When she does so, Juice sends her away. Unfortunately, this doesn’t set her free. It sends her into the arms of a demon.  At that same time, Amanda Wagner is beginning her career in the Atlanta police force. While by law women can pursue careers in the police force, the road is not an easy one. Not only is the good boy network in place, but there is deep seated politics that she cannot fully understand. Just as Amanda was trying to get her footing, the force underestimated what female officers could bring. She and Evelyn, another female plain clothes officer, start putting together the puzzle of the mysterious disappearances of prostitutes no one else cares about. Jumping ahead to modern day, Agent Will Trent seems to be in hot water with Deputy Director Amanda Wagner. He’s being kept off a case of a missing college student that, by rights, should have been his main concern. Instead, he’s being grounded to airport duty. Amanda knows something that she’s not sharing and Will is determined to get to the bottom of it.

A lot of time and territory is covered by Karin Slaughter in Criminal. There is commentary about gender, racial, and socioeconomic politics. Atlanta was the perfect backdrop for the turmoil of the 70s. Change for everyone was in the air and it wasn’t always well received. It was difficult even for those happy to live differently to know how to act. It was uncharted territory and it was all there in Atlanta. With all that going on, people were even less likely to take notice of a few missing prostitutes.

Criminal is most definitely a thriller. I got a little cocky during the first half. The way in which Karin Slaughter alternated points of view and time kept me on the edge of my seat, but I didn’t think it was getting to me. It turns out this book was as sly as the preacher man. Just after Lucy explained how her abductor would get her attention by gently touching her on the shoulder, a coworker tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention and I jumped out of my chair. The hair on the back on my neck was standing up and, at that point, I didn’t even have a clear picture of all that was going on. After that, I had to admit that Karin Slaughter had me hooked and had me on edge, just the way she had planned. There were sections in the second half that were difficult to sit through, but the story was so interesting and rewarding that I always wanted to continue.

Kathleen Early gave a great performance in Criminal. There were so many different types of characters to give a voice. Her talent especially shined for the least refined characters like Juice and his prostitute Jane. There was a scene between Amanda and Evelyn, just shortly after they had escaped harm, that highlighted her skill perfectly. I would have liked there to have been a more definite voice for Will, but I could tell well when he was speaking the way he was narrated. I did notice a few times where the narrator’s voice changed, but they were few and far between. Kathleen Early’s narration was smooth and consistent throughout.

Criminal was my first Karin Slaughter novel and I very much enjoyed the experience. While I didn’t have any familiarity with Will Trent and his past cases, I never felt as though I was at a disadvantage. I feel this novel works well as a stand alone book, but of course I want more of Will. There is just something about a good cop with a messy past that always gets to me. Slaughter doesn’t pull any punches, so readers must come to this book prepared for a ride. As much as I enjoyed the chilling creepiness during this hot summer weather, this novel may not be for everyone. Characters are harmed and tortured between the covers. If you do like a good thrill, you should pick this up. I highly recommend this audiobook.

The Next Stops on the Audiogo Criminal Audiobook Tour

Tuesday, July 10: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Thursday, July 12: Book Addict Reviews
Friday, July 13: In Real Life
Monday, July 16: Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog
Tuesday, July 17: You’ve GOTTA Read This!
Wednesday, July 18: Alison’s Book Marks
Thursday, July 19: Jen’s Book Thoughts


  • At 2012.07.09 00:24, Catherine said:

    Hi Jennifer. This sounds like the perfect summer “listen”! I have read a few of Slaughter’s books and they were very entertaining. Thanks for the giveaway. I will keep my fingers crossed. 🙂

    • At 2012.07.09 07:22, Sheila (Book Journey) said:

      Thanks Jennifer, I have found this author to be sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss with me. This one does sounds really good and if you say it got to you…. well maybe it would get to me too 🙂

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      • At 2012.07.09 07:32, Serena said:

        I love books that are sly and get to you when you aren’t expecting them to.

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        • At 2012.07.09 10:53, Patti Smith said:

          I haven’t tried listening to detective fiction on audio yet nor have I tried any Karen Slaughter. Might be a good place to start 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!

          • At 2012.07.09 12:40, bermudaonion(Kathy) said:

            I’m glad to see Early did a good job with the narration. I listened to one Slaughter book and the Southern accent was so bad it drove me to distraction.

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            • At 2012.07.09 13:39, Nise' said:

              My daughter loves Karin’s books. Thanks for the giveaway.

              • At 2012.07.09 21:23, Caite said:

                I have read all of Slaughter’s books and can not wait to read this one…especially if I were to win it..lol

                • At 2012.07.16 10:32, Sandy said:

                  I don’t know how I missed this review (well, I do know because I’ve been on vacation). Anyway, my review is up tomorrow. I freaking LOVED this book. I have read several from this series prior to this one, and I’m fully invested in the characters. To see how Amanda and Evelyn became the women they are now? To FINALLY learn about Will’s background? I was flipping out. I also thought the total immersion into the 1975 Atlanta was pretty darned brilliant. Slaughter has hit a home run with this one.

                  • […] clip to each blogger on the tour. So you can start with the one here…but I really recommend you begin at the beginning. If you’ve listened to other audio clips on the tour so far, then you know that Karin Slaughter […]

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