I very much enjoyed Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. It’s a fast, suspenseful read that will appeal to fans of Tana French and Gillian Flynn. However, it is in Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes, the prequel novella to this book, where Slaughter truly shines.
Pretty Girls follows the stories of Claire and Lydia. They lead very different lives. Claire is the quintessential trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire while Lydia is a single mother dating an ex-con and struggling to make ends meet. They have nothing in common, except for Julia.
Kind, smart, beautiful Julia was everything to Claire and Lydia: their best friend, confidant and protector. She was their big sister. Julia vanished without a trace more than 20 years ago.
Nothing was ever the same after that. Their family fell to pieces and Claire and Lydia haven’t spoken to each other since. But when Claire’s husband is killed and a teenage girl disappears, the sisters enter a tentative truce. The two events seem to be strangely connected and neither sister can stop themselves from searching for the truth and hoping they can find this missing girl.
Be warned, this book is gritty, graphically violent and very disturbing at times. It might make you flinch, or cause you to lose sleep or even miss a step. Please exercise extreme care if listening to the audiobook version while on the treadmill.
But as good as Pretty Girls is, the prequel novella is even better. I recommend reading Pretty Girls first and then Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes to get the full impact of the stories. Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes tells the story of Julia and the events leading up to her disappearance. If you read Pretty Girls first, then when reading Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes, you will already know exactly was is going to happen to Julia. This creates a different type of suspense where you keep hoping something would change but you know already that that’s impossible.
Ariana Galeano is a community services librarian with the Richmond Public Library