Today we welcome a new contributor to the MO Books Blog, Kelly Brinkmann. She is an artist with a love of writing, and likes to paint images with words. Kelly enjoys books about art, and mysteries as well. She is currently writing a book about how creating art parallels her spiritual journey, and how reading helps her become a better writer.
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In Karin Slaughter’s novel, sisters Charlotte and Samantha are known simply as “Charlie” and “Sam” in their small hometown. They are also known as the girls who escaped a horrific break-in at their home that ended their mother’s life, leaving them scrambling to escape.
The intruders were angry, scared clients of their father, Russell, the town’s defense attorney. When they arrived unannounced at Rusty’s home, to settle a debt they owed him, only his daughters and wife were there. So began a fatal detour on their part as they directed the girls to the woods behind their home to a gravesite already dug to bury them.
The Culpeppers were known as the town bullies, yet their actions on that sunny day shocked people who knew their family lineage by name. Townspeople were known to give them wide berth to pass by the sidewalks and streets of the small town of Pikeville, Georgia.
Following the attack, Rusty scrambles to find his family. After locating his youngest, he tries to help her stop sobbing by telling her to catch all of her pain from that day, put it in a box, tape it closed and stow it in the closet for later. She manages to pack it away, well, mostly.
As the years pass, the seams and corners of the box bulge and Charlie’s anger seeps out of her in relationships that mean the most to her. The final straw that unleashes her deepest hidden anger and fears is undone when she is in the middle of a school shooting in Pikeville.
Having survived a horrific event again, Charlie uses her legal expertise to search for the attacker and discover his/her motivations. During her search she uncovers players connected to the attack in her family’s home from decades earlier.
After the home intrusion that took their mother’s life, Charlie’s sister, Sam, escaped, literally, to New York City where she flourished practicing law. Sam didn’t return home for some time because running was all she knew how to do, and she wanted distance to make her own life.
It is said that time heals all wounds, but this story unfolds with increasing depth when each person shares their experience of the devastating day. As they share their perspective, the mystery of right or wrong is entwined in familial relationships, bound by a father’s love and fed by deep loyalty while dealing with ongoing loss. The tale races to fit all the puzzle pieces together, including new, emerging characters of the story.
Slaughter unique and descriptive voice brings insight and clarity to moments the family shares. She has a keen understanding about how people process grief, regret and sadness, and writes insightfully, adding words to feelings that have no words.