August 15, 1974
A cinnamon brown Oldsmobile Cutlass crawled up Edgewood Avenue, the windows lowered, the driver hunched down in his seat. The lights from the console showed narrow, beady eyes tracing along the line of girls standing under the street sign. Jane. Mary. Lydia. The car stopped. Predictably, the man tilted up his chin toward Kitty. She trotted over, adjusting her miniskirt as she navigated her spiked heels across the uneven asphalt. Two weeks ago, when Juice had first brought Kitty onto the corner, she’d told the other girls she was sixteen, which probably meant fifteen, though she looked no older than twelve.
They had all hated her on sight.
Kitty leaned down into the open window of the car. Her stiff vinyl skirt tipped up like the bottom of a bell. She always got picked first, which was becoming a problem that everyone but Juice could see. Kitty got special favors. She could talk men into doing anything. The girl was fresh, childlike, though like all of them, she carried a kitchen knife in her purse and knew how to use it. Nobody wanted to do what they were doing, but to have another girl—a newer girl—picked over them hurt just as much as if they were all standing on the sidelines at the debutante ball.
Inside the Oldsmobile, the transaction was quickly negotiated, no haggling because what was on offer was still worth the price. Kitty made the signal to Juice, waited for his nod, then got into the car. The muffler chugged exhaust as the Olds made a wide turn onto a narrow side street. The car shook once as the gear was shoved into park. The driver’s hand flew up, clamped around the back of Kitty’s head, and she disappeared.
Lucy Bennett turned away, looking up the dark, soulless avenue. No headlights coming. No traffic. No business. Atlanta wasn’t a nighttime town. The last person to leave the Equitable building usually turned off the lights, but Lucy could see the bulbs from the Flatiron glowing clear across Central City Park. If she squinted hard enough, she could find the familiar green of the C&S sign that anchored the business district. The New South. Progress through commerce. The City Too Busy to Hate.
If there were men out walking these streets tonight, it was with no amount of good on their minds.
Jane lit a smoke, then tucked the pack back into her purse. She wasn’t the kind to share, but she was certainly the kind to take. Her eyes met Lucy’s. The dead in them was hard to look at. Jane must’ve felt the same. She quickly glanced away.
Lucy shivered, even though it was the middle of August, heat wafting off the pavement like smoke from a fire. Her feet were sore. Her back ached. Her head was pounding like a metronome. Her gut felt like she’d swallowed a truckload of concrete. Cotton filled her mouth. Her hands felt the constant prick of pins and needles.
Copyright © 2012 by Karin Slaughter. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Karin Slaughter’s new novel, Criminal, is an epic tale of love, loyalty and murder.
Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Grateful that his feelings for Dr. Sara Linton are returned, all Will wants is to finally put a difficult past behind him. Then a college girl goes missing…Will cannot fathom why his mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner, keeps him off the case until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before—when Will’s father was imprisoned for murder—this was his home….
Flash back nearly forty years. In the summer Will Trent was born, Amanda Wagner is taking her first steps in the boys’ club that is the Atlanta Police Department. One of her first cases is to investigate a brutal crime but Amanda and her partner, Evelyn, are the only ones who seem to care if an arrest is made….
Now the case that launched Amanda’s career has come back to life, intertwined with the long-held mystery surrounding Will’s mother. And these two dauntless investigators will each need to face demons from the past if they are to prevent more terror from being unleashed.
Hardcover Book : 448 pages
Publisher: Bantam Books, Inc./ Div Random House ( July 03, 2012 )
Item #: 13-579521
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.01inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
This is a great story. I was very happy to learn about Amanda. I wasn't crazy about Amanda before this story came out about her past life entwined with Will's. I can certainly relate to how the 70's were in regard to women in the work force. Amanda has gained star status in my eyes. Will's back story is heartbreaking. Excellent book!
You know you've read a really good book when you are disappointed to finish it. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and the way Slaughter went back and forth from past to present day. Her revelations on Amanda and Will's pasts and how they are intertwined were great. I'm hooked on Karin Slaughter!
I loved this book. I have read all of Ms.Slaughter's books and they are all great.
This is a great read. I did get confused - briefly - a few times, but the story is both compelling and heartbreaking. Well done!
I struggled with this book a little bit b/c I hate the back and forth between the past and the present. And please get rid of that psycho Angie!