I will first start with the title of the book. This is the first time I remember when I look up a title in the dictionary. My digital Collins says:
n 1. a set of three pictures or panels, usually hinged so that the two wing panels fold over the larger central one: often used as an altarpiece
2. a set of three hinged writing tablets
From Greek triptukhos, from tri- + ptux plate.
One of the story’s characters has a triptych on her mantelpiece. When the two side panels fold over the central one a new image or canvas is formed. There is a blurb on the book cover: Three people with something to hide. One killer with nothing to lose. I believe the Triptych reference is to these three people and the way their deception makes things take different forms at different times.
I bought this book after I read Fractured by the same author because I liked the character of Special Agent Will Trent and wanted to read more about his personal story. This book did not disappoint, as the plot moved at a cracking pace. There were plenty of unexpected twists that kept me turning the pages, and re-reading some parts to discover how the author expertly wove the pattern of deception.
I love the way Karin Slaughter handles her characters. Unlike clean predictable sleuths such as Temperance Brennan (Kathy Reich’s forensic anthropologist), Karin Slaughter comes up with more vulnerable and gritty characters for her police force. They show many human frailties that anyone can relate to and sympathize with. Her characters fight their private battles as they are fighting crime, and this makes them all the more appealing.
The story starts with the murder and mutilation of Aleesha Munroe, a prostitute and a drug addict living in one of Atlanta’s rough neighborhood. Detective Michael Ormwood is in charge, but he soon finds out that he needs to work with Special Agent Will Trent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). Will Trent is helping out because the murder has some similarities with other attacks around the state. Within 24 hours Michael’s next door neighbor is found dead in his backyard and in order to solve the mystery the two men need to look back into a past that refuses to stay buried.
I will not elaborate more on this excellent thriller in order not to spoil it for future readers. More than just a good thriller the story challenges the perceptions of right and wrong, justice and injustice. It showed the grim reality of prison and why a convicted felon almost always ends up back in prison.
I will remember many characters in this book. For example there was the mother character who fought bravely and unrelentingly for her son, it was a character I related to. She stands in contrast to the mother who fought blindly for her son doing a lot of damage to people’s lives in the process.
Another character later in the book speaks poignantly about her children: “It’s the most wonderful blessing God has given us, our ability to bring a child into the world. You hold them in our arms that first time, and they are more precious than gold. Every breath you take after that is only for your child”. This is so true.