A while back, I read Karin Slaughter’s ‘The Kept Woman’ but I don’t particularly recall much of it. I recently came across a review of ‘Pretty Girls’ and it made me want to give Slaughter another shot. But lockdown meant my regular bookstore was closed. Luckily, I had a book by Slaughter lying around and I finally dusted it off the shelf.
‘Genesis’ is much older than The Kept Woman (2016), or Pretty Girls (2015). It’s, in fact, only the third book in the Will Trent series. This particular book is published under the name ‘Undone’ in the United States and under the name ‘Genesis’ elsewhere in the world.
After reading Genesis I really want to get my hands on the rest of the books in the series. Slaughter is the mistress of crime, I should say. In Genesis, she spins a spooky, creepy story that makes you want to race through the pages.
This novel starts with a woman being hit by a car. She, Anna, is naked and it looks like she has been abused. Medical investigation by Sara Linton, the attending doctor at the hospital Anna is taken to, reveals that she had been starved and tortured for weeks before the accident.
Special Agent Will Trent of the Criminal Investigation Team returns to the scene of the accident to investigate what is clearly not his case and he stumbles upon a torture chamber underground. He then finds another victim who, like Anna, had escaped from the dungeon but didn’t make it very far—she is found hanging from a tree, having taken her own life since she had lost her sight and hearing and feared being found by her kidnapper. Soon, two other women go missing and Will Trent and his partner, Faith Mitchell, work around the clock to find the women and the sadistic predator.
As someone whose television diet mostly consisted of ‘Bones’, ‘Criminal Minds’, and ‘CSI’, I thoroughly enjoyed Genesis, though I did find certain bits too graphic for my liking. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
The story, if you think of it as a thriller and just that, is perfect. But the book has many flaws.
First, I had problems with how Slaughter presented her characters. They all have so many weaknesses and issues in life that it feels unreal. Second and most importantly, I was disturbed by the women in the story. They are either bitchy and successful, or nice but unsure of themselves, or appear to be strong and independent while pining for a man to make them feel wanted and loved. The stereotypes are a bit much to handle especially when today, as women, we are trying so hard to break away from them all. Worse, it’s a woman stereotyping women, and that hurts.
I will still give Slaughter another chance because I have only read two of her books so far. But I hope the entire series isn’t as condescending towards women as I found Genesis to be.