Bibliophile | Unravel the mystery in Karin Slaughter’s ‘Girl, Forgotten’

Girl, Forgotten
by Karin Slaughter
Harper Collins

Warning: This review contains mentions of sexual violence

On 17 April 1982, Emily Vaughn escapes from her house, ignoring her drunken and violent father’s demands that she go to her room. Sneaking out without her shoes, she walks towards her school where the prom is underway, even though her dress is tighter than she wants it to be and she knows that she is not welcome at the celebration.

After being kicked out of school in the small Delaware town, she has been locked in her house for the last four months because “she is no longer the good girl with the promising life ahead of her but the bad girl who was going to pay a heavy price for her sins”.

When her social studies teacher sees her on the road, he is shockingly violent and threatening as he and tells her to go home. There are more threats and violence when she confronts one of the boys at the dance and by the time she stumbles into an alley after an altercation with another ex-friend, she knows that someone has always planned to hurt her and her unborn child.

Forty years later, everyone has moved on when newly appointed US Marshal Andrea Oliver comes to town to guard a federal judge who has received death threats, and also investigate the cold case murder of the judge’s daughter Emily. It’s actually more complicated than that – by why ruin the intrigue?

Was it only forty years ago that a teenage girl could be accused of destroying some poor boy’s future because she couldn’t keep her knees together, even though she had no say in her predicament? I suppose, given the recent turn of events in parts of America where rape victims are denied abortions, it could have been last week.

As those involved close ranks, Andrea Oliver tries to piece together what happened to the forgotten girl. There were so many nasty, twisted characters I just had to keep reading to unravel the mystery. I can see why Karin Slaughter’s crime fiction has been published in 120 countries, selling more than 40 million books.

Lezly Herbert

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