Title: Criminal [buy the book] [buy the audiobook]
Author: Karin Slaughter [website] [FB]
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Running Time: 16 hours
Date Published: July 3, 2012
I’d been hearing that Criminal by Karin Slaughter was a fantastic read — perhaps her best book to date. I’ve also started really enjoying audiobooks, so when I was offered the audiobook for review purposes I jumped at the chance.
Criminal bounces back and forth between the present and the past. In the past, Amanda Wagner is a woman in a boy’s club, the Atlanta Police Department. She is assigned to take the statement of a rape victim, which leads her to investigating the disappearance of some prostitutes, one of whom is found murdered. Fast forward to the present day, and she is overseeing an investigation of a kidnap/murder that looks to be the same type of murder that happened back in her early days of the APD. One of the police officers she’s overseeing, Will Trent, finds out that his father is out on parole and it’s likely that this latest kidnapping/murder is his doing.
I really enjoyed the way Karin Slaughter did the dual narratives. In the present day, Amanda Wagner is a gruff and by-the-book boss who always seems out to get Will. But when you read about her in the beginning of her career, dealing with sexual harassment, no personal freedom (her dad had to cosign for her apartment because women weren’t trusted to pay the rent on their own!), and a new career that had her trying to please everyone, you understand why she is the way she is. But even more than that, you see why she’s followed Will throughout his career, and why she’s harder on him than the other officers.
The book went along at a nice, brisk pace, and I never felt like it dragged. Part of that might have been the dual narrative — you never ended up in one spot too long, and I was always anxious to get back to the other time period because she usually left on a cliffhanger when she would switch to the other time period.
I liked how the whole story comes full circle at the end, and while everything isn’t tied up in a nice neat package, enough loose ends are tied up to make me feel satisfied with the story yet I could still make up my own ending for a couple story lines.
This was the fourth book that I’ve read on audio, so I don’t have much to compare it to. I listened to the unabridged audio edition narrated by Kathleen Early. She used different inflections for different characters, though I wouldn’t say she had different voices for each character. I was particularly impressed with the narrator’s ability to enunciate, though sometimes I felt like this slowed down the reading. I wouldn’t normally have a problem with this, but with a mystery like Criminal, the tension was extremely high at times and I wanted to race through the story, but I couldn’t make her talk any faster.
I felt a bit like a junkie while reading this book. Ethan’s getting to the age where I probably shouldn’t be listening to books that have cursing with him in the car, but the book was SO GOOD that I couldn’t help myself. I loved listening to this book on audio. With my reading time limited, audio is a great substitute for physical books. The only problem I have now is which book do I pick up next?
I received a copy of this audiobook from AudioGO for my honest opinion.