Good Minds Suggest: Karin Slaughter's Favorite Female Thriller Authors

Posted by Goodreads on July 24, 2017
Karin Slaughter

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Crime novelist Karin Slaughter is known for her page-turning thrillers. She's written 17 novels, including the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls.

This month she's back with The Good Daughter. Twenty-eight years ago sisters Charlotte and Samantha Quinn survived a violent attack on their small-town home. It left their mother dead and their father—Pikeville's defense attorney—devastated.

Now Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself—the ideal good daughter. But when violence returns to Pikeville, Charlie finds that the case brings up the memories she's spent her life suppressing—and that the truth about the crime that destroyed her family won't stay buried.

Slaughter says that people are often surprised that a woman can write such gritty and graphic novels. Well, not only does her work neatly dispel that notion, here are five more female authors who write unflinching fiction and a book from each that Slaughter recommends.

Garnethill by Denise Mina
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"Denise Mina is terrific at writing about what's really close to what actually happens with most crimes, which is that people just make stupid mistakes. And they keep making them and keep making them, and suddenly they can't dig themselves out. The main character in this book is an addict—she's an alcoholic—and she gets blackout drunk, and she wakes up and her boyfriend has been brutally murdered, and she's not sure whether or not she did it."


Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger
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"This is about a guy in a really bad relationship, and the woman who does not want to be out of the relationship, and the awful things that ensue. This one is unputdownable. It is so dark and scary, and really dives deep into psychology that accompanies betrayal and regret. It is told from a male POV, which was a really compelling choice."


Tokyo by Mo Hayder
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"It's about a tall, blond former model turned escort in Tokyo. It revolves around the Nanking Massacre, which was in 1937, though it's set in present day. The protagonist, Grey, she's just so amazingly screwed up and such an unreliable narrator. Hayder is amazing at tapping into that deep dark psyche. She masterfully displays how when something bad happens to a woman, they tend to punish themselves. Usually guys, when something bad happens, they punish someone else."


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
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"A lot of people don't think of Rowling's writing as very dark because they think of Harry Potter as being for kids. But she can go very dark (even in Harry Potter), and that is on full display here. She is an exceptional plotter."


212 by Alafair Burke
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"This is an intense thriller about Ellie Hatcher, an NYPD detective who is investigating the murder of a student. The girl was targeted on the gossip website at school. This story shows what—at a very personal level for the character—is the fallout of this kind of stalking/attack. I think men who spend a lot of time on the internet are kind of anesthetized to some of the violent language because they see it all the time. But what's on the other side? What about the woman who's on the receiving end? This story really delves into that. Also, it's just a really good hard-boiled detective story."


Want more book recommendations from authors? Check out our Good Minds Suggest series.



Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan With you all the way on most of them, and love most of your books, Karin, but I find Alafair Burke a bit tedious (especially after her father). Try Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer. It's a knockout.


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan Like most of them, Karin, except for Alafair Buke, whose books area bit tedious. Try Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer. It's a knockout. By the way, a lot of us thought Unseen was a step down for you. Too much gratuitous violence and rough sex, and a dopey plot.


message 3: by Martha (new)

Martha Karin Slaughter is my favorite but I think you missed two good ones. Lisa Gardner and Lisa Jackson are also very enjoyable.


message 4: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Denise Mina is absolutely top-notch, and Garnethill is the first of a trilogy that will knock your socks off. Mina's writing is literate but also very gritty. She has not written a clunker, imo.

Besides Tana French, Robt Galbraith/J.K. Rowling, and Louise Penny, check out Harry Bingham whose detective, Fiona Griffith, is odd, snarky, and a pleasure to read about. (Honestly, I actually think she's a real person!)

And, also Jane Casey and Sarah Hilary. Really, really excellent writers and great stories.


message 5: by Deb (new)

Deb R I used to love all of Karin Slaughter's novels and waited with great anticipation for each new book to be published. However, Slaughter lost me as a faithful reader when she killed off Jeff in the Grant County series. I was devastated by her decision to do that and was completely disappointed in her as an author. His death served absolutely no purpose and totally ruined the entire series. I have read descriptions of other novels by Slaughter since then, thinking I might give her another chance, but I just can't bring myself to read anything else she has written. I understand that she is the author and has the right to make choices about the characters and plots in her own work, but as a reader, I also have the right to refuse to allow myself to be let down by her again. It's so sad that such a talented author chose to alienate her readers.


message 6: by Claire (new)

Claire Lowe Deb wrote: "I used to love all of Karin Slaughter's novels and waited with great anticipation for each new book to be published. However, Slaughter lost me as a faithful reader when she killed off Jeff in the ..."
You should really try to read The good daughter or pretty girls neither of which have anything to do with the Grant county series and are awesome reads. There is also Cop town, personally I couldn't get into it at all but I've read rave reviews by other people.
As for killing Jeff off it did in fact serve a purpose if you had continued past there. Sarah moved on from Grant county and became involved with Will Trent in the Trent series set in Georgia, but not before it had taken a toll on Sarah, her mentality and the way she viewed things. It also had a great affect on Lena and the downhill slide she was on. Honestly I can't suggest enough to read them.


message 7: by Martha (new)

Martha Deb wrote: "I used to love all of Karin Slaughter's novels and waited with great anticipation for each new book to be published. However, Slaughter lost me as a faithful reader when she killed off Jeff in the ..."

You might want to try the Will Trent series. I actually read that one first so I already knew what happened to Jeffrey. I don't know how I would have felt not knowing, but I do think it helped. (I put off reading "Beyond Reach" for quite awhile because I didn't want it to end.) I also liked "Pretty Girls" a lot so you might want to give her another shot by reading this stand-alone.


message 8: by Lyndall (new)

Lyndall I am a huge Karin Slaughter fan too. Loved the Grant County series and just as much the Will Trent Series. I agree with Martha as I also love all of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner books. Another great crime author that I love is Joy Ellis. Keep the great female authors going. I only wish I had the gift to be able to write myself. There is not much that is better than a great book. I can't wait to read some of the books that Karin has suggested here.


message 9: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Liza Marklund - love Scandinavian crime and she is one of the best!


message 10: by ZnajomyZnajomego (new)

ZnajomyZnajomego A very interesting situation occurred.


message 11: by Marian (new)

Marian Camilla lackberg is also a good one


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