4 stars out of 5
Overall, my feelings about this book are mixed, quite honestly, but one thing I'll say for sure: It takes codependency to a whole new level. Normally, that would drive me more than a little bit crazy; but the "hero," Will Trent, is so likable that for the most part I just want to hug him (that is, when I'm not wanting to give him a good whack on the head).
Not so, however, for his relationship partner, Angie Polaski, who's worse than despicable and a sorry excuse for a human being. Yes, I know she had a traumatic childhood - as did Will; if you've been following this series (this is the eighth book), you know a good bit of the background. And if you don't, you'll get an eyeful here in almost excruciating detail. But in a nutshell, once Will and Angie hooked up as kids some 30 years ago, they formed a virtually unshakable and extremely unhealthy bond that's been impossible for Will to break (in fact, they once got married and remain legally attached to this day).
The book begins with the discovery of a dead body - a former cop - in a construction site for a soon-to-be big-money development project. There's plenty of blood, but Sara Linton, medical examiner and Will's love for the past year or so, determines that most of it didn't come from the victim. Apparently, there was a female victim here as well, but she's nowhere to be found. Then comes awareness that the site belongs to a rich, powerful and connected pro basketball player who was exonerated of rape charges a few months earlier despite efforts by Will, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
That deep South setting, in fact, served up a delightful quote to which I, a person who turns into a shrew when temperatures climb much beyond 75 degrees, can relate:
"Going outside was like walking straight into the mouth of a yawning dog."
Well yes. Yes it is. But I digress.
The case herein takes still another turn for the worse when evidence links the crime scene to Angie, who for the most part has been staying under the radar ever since Will and Sara got together (a relationship Angie's clearly not happy about). That's about to change, though, forcing Will to deal with memories he's tried to sweep under his rug for years and now threatens to break the bonds that have tied him to the seriously messed-up Angie. Much of the rest of the book, I'll add, focuses on Angie and her background; Will is there, of course, but he almost seems to play second fiddle as her current actions and layers of the horrors of her past are peeled away.
And I wish I could work up some sympathy, but after all these years of Will Trent books, that's not gonna happen. Throughout the whole thing - which not insignificantly is fast-paced, action filled and hard to put down - I kept the fingers crossed on the hand that wasn't turning pages on my Kindle that Angie would finally get her comeuppance (getting bumped off works for me) and Will would grow a backbone.
If you want to find out whether either of those wishes became reality, though, you'll just have to read the book.
The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow, September 2016); 485 pp.