Women aren’t treated well in Karin Slaughter’s new thriller, but that’s hardly anything new.
Her bestsellers are often teeming with stalkers, rapists and abusive spouses.
In The Kept Woman (William Morrow, $27.99), Slaughter gives us all three types and then some.
“Some readers and even a few critics have asked me, ‘Why are your books so violent?’ ” says Slaughter, whose book tour brings her to the North Richland Hills Library on Friday. “But I think it’s important to bring a woman’s perspective, especially when you’re talking about issues like rape.
“Some men have written very evocatively about it. But a lot of them, especially during the 1990s, if a woman was sexually assaulted [in an installment of a crime novel series], she was either alcoholic or catatonic in the next book until the hero made sweet love to her.
“I would rather talk about this stuff in a more realistic way.”
That she does. And Slaughter’s readers evidently approve. Her novels, beginning with 2001’s Blindsighted, have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.
Her 2014 effort, Cop Town, was nominated for an Edgar Award.
After two years of stand-alone thrillers, the Atlanta-based author has returned to her series character, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
When Will and partner Faith Mitchell investigate a bloody murder at an abandoned construction site, it turns out to be connected to a high-profile rape case involving an NBA superstar. Will’s erratic ex-wife Angie, a former cop who has been stalking Will’s current girlfriend, is also linked to the crimes.
We chatted last week with Slaughter, the crime novelist with the best name in the business, about Will Trent and The Kept Woman.
What was your inspiration for The Kept Woman?
We’ve all seen this recent spate of athletes and famous people getting away with sexual assault and domestic violence. Things that people who don’t have money and the best lawyers could never get away with. I wanted to talk a little bit about that and put it in the context of a story about domestic violence.
Which in turn opened the door for you to take a long look at Will and Angie’s dysfunctional relationship, right?
Strangely, a lot of my readers love Angie and Will’s relationship. I say strangely because it is a very abusive relationship. Angie is a horrible person. She is very abusive verbally and sometimes physically toward Will. I wanted to bring that out in the light and also explain how Angie got that way.
Regarding domestic violence, are you trying to send a message to some of your male readers, those who are the friends and colleagues of the abusers?
It’s a very small number of men who are committing these crimes, but I think we need to challenge the men who are standing by and not intervening. We need to challenge them to stand up and do something. Men tend to be pack animals. If there are enough who say, “Don’t do this,” then other men won’t do it.
When you created Will Trent in 2005’s Triptych and gave your detective dyslexia, didn’t it occur to you that this condition might make it impossible for him to excel at the job?
I’ve talked to a lot of police officers and a couple of them have said, “Oh, that would never happen. Somebody who had that difficulty reading and writing would never be able to be a police officer. There’s so much paperwork.” But then they inevitably add, “But there was this one guy …”
While you’re in North Texas for your book tour events in North Richland Hills and Dallas, is there anything else that you want to do?
My friend Sandra Brown is in the area. I love her latest book (Sting). Whenever I’m in Dallas or she’s in Atlanta, we always talk about meeting up and doing something. But inevitably, we’re always too tired by the end of the day. But if anybody’s got any great recommendations, I’m open to suggestions.
The Kept Woman
- By Karin Slaughter
- William Morrow, $27.99
Meet the author
Slaughter will discuss The Kept Woman and sign copies at the North Richland Hills Library, 9015 Grand Ave., at 1 p.m. Friday. It is preceded by a private meet-and-greet at noon; cost is $35, including a signed book.
Slaughter will be at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St. in Dallas, at 2 p.m. Saturday. A reception is at 1:15 p.m.; cost is $30, including a signed book.