Ever since Pieces of Her found its way onto hundreds of thousands of bookshelves, Karin Slaughter has become the subject of interest among thriller readers in general. Her books meld psychological storytelling devices with familial bonds.
In this post, you will find a complete list of her works, along with bits of her biography. You will also discover the best books that new Slaughter fans must read, along with plot overviews for each one. To start, let’s look at the best Karin Slaughter books.
our best Karin Slaughter Books at a glance:
- Pieces of Her
- Pretty Girls
- Girl, Forgotten
- The Good Daughter
- False Witness
- The Silent Wife
- The Last Widow
- The Kept Woman
Karin Slaughter: The Woman Behind Emotional Thrillers
Karin Slaughter was born on January 6, 1971. She was a curious child and grew up writing stories for her own amusement. As a small-town upbringing in the seventies prevented her from easily consuming entertainment, she developed a creative outlet to keep herself occupied.
Her family-centric themes stem from the fact that the majority of the connections she witnessed as a child were between family members. Having penned over 20 books, Slaughter’s forte remains thrillers set in otherwise boring settings.
In some ways, her imagination was shaped in a similar setting. When she got her first publishing deal, the process was similarly “boring,” but the book she delivered was far from it.
Karin Slaughter’s first book, Blightsighted, made it to the Dagger Award shortlist for “Best Thriller Debut” of the year. She hasn’t looked back since and continues to write books that weave suspense and heart into one narrative thread.
She continues to pen standalone books that have her signature style and themes but aren’t repetitive. To do so across as broad a body of work as hers is a true feat of fiction-writing acumen.
Karin Slaughter Books In Order of Publication
The Grant County Books In Order
- Blindsighted (2001)
- Kisscut (2002)
- A Faint Cold Fear (2003)
- Indelible (2004)
- Faithless (2005)
- Beyond Reach (2007) (Skin Privilege In The UK)
The Will Trent Books In Order
- Triptych (2006)
- Fractured (2008)
- Undone (2009) (Genesis in the UK and Australia)
- Broken (2010)
- Fallen (2011)
- Snatched (2012)
- Criminal (2012)
- Busted (2013)
- Unseen (2013)
- The Kept Woman (2016)
- The Last Widow (2019)
- The Silent Wife (2020)
- After That Night (2023)
Other Books In Order Of Publication
- Like A Charm (2004)
- Martin Misunderstood (2008)
- Thorn in My Side (2011)
- Cop Town (2014)
- Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes (2015)
- Pretty Girls (2015)
- Last Breath (2017)
- The Good Daughter (2017)
- Pieces of Her (2018)
- False Witness (2021)
- Girl, Forgotten (2022)
Best Karin Slaughter Books
Pieces of Her
This is one of Slaughter’s most popular works. It has been turned into a TV series, which further fuels its popularity, cementing its top position in the Karin Slaughter bibliography.
This is a “memories found” book, with the protagonist’s reality shattering as the perfect image she had constructed of her mother disappears when it becomes obvious that she had been keeping secrets.
Andy Oliver is stunned by seeing her mother confront a shooter in a way that doesn’t add up with who she thinks her mother is. After a series of events, Olver’s mother asks her to go find a specific storage unit, which turns out to be well-equipped for starting a new life.
The story gets interesting when Oliver chooses not to run and instead proceeds to investigate the inconsistencies.
Pretty Girls tells the story of what happens when an entire family is gaslighted by one individual. The story follows Claire Scott and Lydia Delgado, two sisters trying to make sense of a past that brings trauma and bad memories.
They are investigating the true cause of death of their sister, who died more than two decades ago. During this, they find out that someone close to the family has been lying to a horrifying extent. That individual may even be responsible for their sister’s death.
The book is a classic Karin Slaughter thriller with family at its heart. The relationship between sisters is such a relatable bond that even the extremely subversive nature of the “Pretty Girls” narrative cannot shake the readers off this emotional ride.
You will never go through what these sisters went through, but you will feel for them anyway. This empathic connection makes Pretty Girls one of the most recommended Slaughter books. Above all, it is a great standalone read for the average suspense and thriller fiction fan, so you don’t need to be a Karin Slaughter fan to enjoy this one.
Girl, Forgotten is Andy Oliver’s second appearance in Slaughter’s bibliography. In this story, Oliver is a US Marshall, and instead of her mother’s past, her father’s past takes up more of her attention and quest focus.
An unsolved murder with potential links to her father gives Andy Oliver the motivation she needs to throw herself into a case that brings twists, new facts about her past, and higher stakes than ever.
Reading the first Andy Oliver book isn’t mandatory to enjoy this one. However, it is highly recommended that you read Pieces of Her before you read this or any other Karin Slaughter book.
Girl, Forgotten doesn’t just invoke Andy’s past but also sows seeds for future endeavors, signaling a future reunion with readers who have come to love her since her debut in Pieces of Her.
Blindsighted is not for the weak of heart, and it is not the ideal way to get introduced to Slaughter’s work. It uncovers human depravity in a narrative that is as gripping as it is plausible. While being a crime thriller like most of Slaughter’s other books, this one borders on realistic horror, the extent of which is revealed in the autopsy of the main victim.
If you like mild gore in your fiction, you’ll love this book, but if you like your crime reads to be violence-free, you might not like it as much. This division makes Blindsighted rank lower than it would have, had it shied away from the darker elements.
That said, a part of what makes Blindsighted uniquely fascinating is how twisted the killer’s mind is. The reactions of the characters as the details are uncovered drive the point home. It is not for the uninitiated but is a treat for crime fiction lovers.
The Good Daughter
The Good Daughter has an interesting premise with an even more interesting execution. Two sisters are taken into the woods at gunpoint.
One runs away, and the other is presumably shot. Fast-forward to the present, and the protagonist is living a life with her past appropriately buried. Needless to say, it comes back to haunt her as she is made to face the reality she would much rather ignore.
While the protagonist is a lawyer, the book is far from a legal drama. It embraces the Karin Slaughterness of it all by being unapologetically dark and even gut-wrenching in some areas.
Despite not being the broadest-appealing novel by the author, it is one with some of the highest critical acclaim from genre-specific publications and blogs. If you like dark and haunting tales, you’ll love this read.
To an extent, the premise of False Witness is similar to that of The Good Daughter, mainly with a sibling pair and a dark secret hidden decades ago. However, the execution of the idea differs significantly enough to land False Witness in our top-ten list.
The protagonist, Leigh Coulton, starts a defense attorney gig, which marks an unremarkable peak in a career and a life best described as “average.” But this average life is built on the ruins of a dark past, which comes knocking in the form of a rape case.
When Coulton meets the accused, she finds out that he selected her because he knows her. And he knows what happened twenty years ago. She has to get him acquitted, or she stands to lose a lot more than she has already lost. In this case, if there’s anyone who can help, it’s her sister, whom she doesn’t even want to see.
Triptych refers to a painting or an image that is broken into three frames or canvases. This book title refers to the storytelling method used in this story about a serial killer. Slaughter writes the narrative from the perspectives of three different individuals and uses the unreliable narrator device in one telling.
This creates a compelling narrative that is a page-turner throughout the length of the entire book. It is a great standalone read and requires no initiation into the Slaughter bibliography. That said, there is a serial rapist who takes up the bulk of the investigative focus, so you must be cautious of the potentially triggering nature of the book.
The Silent Wife
One of the latest novels by Karin Slaughter, The Silent Wife, has quickly become a fan favorite. It follows Will Trent, who was the primary investigator protagonist of Triptych, which is also one of Slaughter’s most revered reads.
In this story, a woman is discovered beaten and abandoned. The investigation doesn’t go anywhere until Trent meets a prisoner who recognizes a pattern from a past encounter.
This book has all the aspects of Karin Slaughter’s later bibliography, which shifts away from family-centric crime thrillers to multi-narrative crime novels. It is ideal for those who like domestic thrillers as well as for people deeply interested in detective fiction.
Old-school Karin Slaughter fans will find themes worth appreciating, while mainstream readers will find a satisfactory beginning, middle, and end to a slow-burning yet high-octane semi-psychological thriller.
The Last Widow
This entry has Karin Slaughter in her commercial thriller era. While investigator Will Trent is the protagonist in this book, it tells a story unlike most of his previous adventures. This time the stakes are higher, and thousands of lives are at risk.
You will enjoy this book if you like conspiracy thrillers. In many ways, this title has broad appeal. It might not be reminiscent of earlier Slaughter books, but it has unmistakably dark and surprising twists that define her recent work.
The Last Widow would be top-ranked in many thriller writers’ bibliographies, and the fact that it is at the tail-end of this author’s top books list is a compliment to her storytelling talent.
Fractured is more reminiscent of Slaughter family-centric crime thrillers, as it tells the story of a mother who walks in on an active crime scene where the victim is her daughter. Fractured follows the story of Abigail Campano, an Atlanta housewife who has to deal with the aftermath of a struggle with her daughter’s killer.
Chronologically, it follows Will Trent after the events of Triptych. Slaughter readers know that Trent is her vehicle into more mainstream thrillers. This book seems to balance her family-in-crime style with her modern thriller writing. If you liked Triptych and any of Slaughter’s earlier works like Pieces of Her, this book would be a double treat for you.
The Kept Woman
This is yet another Will Trent mystery that follows the GBI investigator as he tries to uncover the murderer behind the dead body found at an abandoned construction site. As the investigation proceeds, more details come out, starting with the identification of the dead body.
It belongs to an ex-cop, which complicates matters. And at the same time, it takes the plot in a more sinister direction.
It is an ideal read for anyone who loves cop novels, detective fiction, and thrillers. The Kept Woman does feature some family-centric elements but is largely a mass-appealing Will Trent narrative, which seems to unfold like a piece of cinema on paper.
Karin Slaughter Faqs
What Is Karin Slaughter’s Real Name?
Karin Slaughter’s real name is Karin Slaughter. She considers her last name a lucky coincidence since it sounds like it was made up to fit her role as a crime fiction author.
Where Was Karin Slaughter Born?
Karin Slaughter was born in South Georgia and was raised in a small town.
How Many Books Has Karin Slaughter Written?
Karin Slaughter has written 21 novels with thriller, suspense, mystery, and noir themes. She did this over 20 years with an average frequency of releasing one book a year.
Is Karin Slaughter Still Writing?
Karin Slaughter is an active writer who has not expressed an interest in retiring. She hasn’t publicly retired any of her characters.
What Are Some Karin Slaughter Shows?
Karin Slaughter’s books have been adapted for the screen in the form of Pieces of Her (a Netflix show) and Will Trent (an upcoming show set to release in 2023).
Wrapping It Up
Karin Slaughter is a crime fiction writer best known for “Pieces of Her.” She also writes novels that follow investigator Will Trent, who is set to find himself on the screen thanks to the popularity of the Pieces of Her adaptation.
If you want to go beyond what is translated for the screen and read the source material, you should read the top Karin Slaughter books covered in this post.