Book Critique – Triptych (Will Trent Series #1)

For review of all books in the anthology: Go here on my liveJournal blog or for here on WordPress blog.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Karin’s plot truly gets under your skin, keeping you breathless all the time, gluing you to the edge of the seats, while each turn of the page gives you new suspense and unexpected turns.

Triptych is the first book in the Will Trent Series by Karin Slaughter published in August of 2006. The plot revolves around the very first case that Will Trent handles as a detective from Georgia Bureau of Investigation, weaving his past and present in the plot along with the past and present of two characters playing cat and mouse with each other.

The books in Will Trent Series aka Atlanta Series, as the name suggests, revolve around the various cases handled by Special Agent Will Trent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation along with his partner Detective Faith Mitchell from Atlanta Police Department and his fiancée Angie Polanski, a Vice Squad Detective. Naturally all the plots are set in Atlanta. He is frequently assigned to cases involving gruesome murders and horrific crimes that delve into the dark, dark recesses of human mind.

Will Trent is called to Atlanta to investigate the latest death of a prostitute with mutilation involved; something he has been following on other cases as well across borders. While he is trying to piece together the details, he has to deal with this childhood friend and on and off girlfriend, Angie Polanski, now a vice cop; and veteran homicide detective Michael Ormewood who hates Trent from his first sight on him. And the killer is becoming more brazen and more elusive as they can become.

I read the second book in this series, Fractured, last year. It was a gripping novel. So at a recent book sale when I found two more books from the series, I had to pick them. Incidentally one of the book I picked is the first one in the series, making it all the more better. Cause you all know that I love to read any series from beginning as much as possible. 😛 So here we are with the review of the book Triptych, the first in the series.

Another reason why the book interested me was the title. Never knew that a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together is called as Triptych. I always wondered how such kind of art work is created and what that kind of art was called. Interesting !!

Karen wrote this book in the form of chapters showing past and present of all the characters involved, including Trent and Polanski; spanning years beginning with a case that starts in 1985 and ends with this case in 2006.

Having already read the second book, I was prepared for the damaged background both Trent and Polaski shared. Even knowing that as dysfunctional as their relationship looked for an outsider, they actually fit well with each other, it hadnt prepared me to know the events that went on in their past which brought them to the present they were in. Now I got a clea picture how they fit; and why she has the will to fight crime despite his extreme urge to protect her and why he accepted her way of loving him despite her reputation to be promiscuous.

I don’t think anyone else could have been a partner for Will. However, I have seen with other authors where they give a different kind of partner if the hero or heroine has such a disturbing childhood like these two. While the approach the other authors I have read tends to be closer to romance and rosy life, what Karin took is very hardcore and shuddering. As a reader I like both scenarios.

Some parts of the prison life that Karin tells us reminded me of what Andy Dufresne from the 1994 American drama film The Shawshank Redemption. I am sure the Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the movie was based on, must have had shown it in much more detail just like what Karin showed here.

Though this book was written sixteen years ago, what Karin brings forth to everyone’s attention on the most gravest issues of our societies still exist, and infact are compounding. A clever plot spun around murder and mayhem, delving into social issues and darker minds of humans, fringed lightly with romance.

The amount of hate one person can have towards another, hate them so much that they make that person’s life a living hell. And Karin summed it up very nicely in her amazing style of writing. It gave me chills through the core of my bone and I felt them chilly for a few days after I finished the book.

Karin’s plot truly gets under your skin, keeping you breathless all the time, gluing you to the edge of the seats, while each turn of the page gives you new suspense and unexpected turns. However, this would be the last of Karin’s book that I will be reading. There is so much of violence, human mind’s depravity and all the evils out there, and my imagination makes them all very real for me.

But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to read. Do pick her books and read them; or even better yet watch the pilot of the Will Trent series that ABC channel will be airing soon in 2023. Enjoy!!

Spoiler Alerts:

  1. Plot Reveals:
    1. Detective Michael Ormewood’ family & friends: married to Gina. Has a mentally challenged son Tim; Gina’s mother Barbara; neighbor Phil & his very young wife Cynthia.
  2. Sub-Plots:
    1. Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) team – Special Agent Will Trent; Amanda Wagner, Will’s boss and heads GBI; Caroline, Amanda’s secretary; Hamish Patel, hostage negotiator; Charlie Reed, crime-scene tech; Barry Fielding, GBI Canine Unit Director;
    2. Atlanta Police Department team – Officer Collier; Lieutenant Ted Greer; Officer Bill Burgess; Detective Leo Donnelly; Detective Faith Mitchell; Ivan Sambor; Billy Peterson;
    3. Other people tied to law enforcement – Pete Hanson, the city medical examiner; Snoopy, ME’s assistant; Gordan Chew, fingerprint expert; Becky Keiper from crime lab;
    4. Will Trent’s Family – We see that they are not engaged in this book, but in the second book we know that he is engaged to Angie Polaski, a detective from Vice, Will’s childhood friend; his dog Betty. Will has extreme dyslexic disorder that makes him highly functional but unable to read proficiently.
    5. Detective Faith Mitchell’s family – her teenage son Jeremy; mother Evelyn Mitchell, retired police commander; brother Zeke, an Air Force Surgeon; Amanda Wagner dated Faith’s Uncle Kenny for fifteen years. Dean Victor Martinez flirts with Detective Mitchell.
    6. From Fractured:
      1. Will Trent had closed a case six months prior to when this book was written, where he had got six Atlanta police detectives who were skimming cash off narcotic busts; and a police commander. Evelyn Mitchell, was forced to retire. Will wonders about an out of state account that Faith’s father had opened, and Evelyn possible used it to hide the cash she skimmed.
      2. Paul Campano, Will Trent and Angie Polaski were living in Atlanta Children’s Home as kids.
      3. There is mention of Natalie Maines being in relation with Will Trent. I wonder who she was. I was hoping it was covered in this first book, but guess not. May be it was explored in other books.
      4. There is reference to The Hiker Murders several months before this plot. This again was not part of this first book.
      5. At the end of the plot, Detective Faith Mitchell becomes Special Agent Will Trent’s partner.

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