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Books 154-155: Criminal and Seven Up

Book 154: Criminal (Will Trent #6).
Author: Karin Slaughter, 2012.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Hardcover. 448 pages

Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda’s motivation 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 going to college, making Sunday dinners for her father, 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 in one of the city’s worst neighbourhoods. Amanda and her partner, Evelyn, are the only ones who seem to care if an arrest is ever made.
- synopsis from publisher's website.

As always Karin Slaughter does a superb job of writing crime fiction that I seem to zip through in a day or so. Here she alternates chapters between the present and 1975 where supporting characters Amanda Wagner and Evelyn Mitchell step into the spotlight during their early days in the Atlanta Police Department. Along the way there are major revelations about Will's personal history.

Racism and sexism are rampant in the 1970s and as well as the gruesome descriptions of crime scenes and the like, something which is very much Slaughter's signature style , the language is very strong. The author note acknowledges those who assisted her in gaining a sense of what policing was like in the mid-70s. I felt she did an excellent job of capturing the period.

Karin Slaughter's page on 'Criminal' - lots of goodies to explore including reading guide, 'then and now', excerpts and locations.

Book 155: Seven Up (Stephanie Plum #7).
Author: Janet Evanovich, 2001.
Genre: Chick Lit Crime Fiction. Comedy/Drama.
Other Details: Unabridged Audio, Length: 8 hrs, 32mins. Read by Lorelei King.

In this seventh outing for New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum all she has to do is bring in elderly semi-retired mobster Eddie DeChooch when he fails to appear in court after selling contraband cigarettes. It seems an easy assignment but semi-blind Eddie has a knack for slipping out of sight. To make matters more complicated Stephanie's Grandma Mazur has been dating DeChooch and her two stoner high-school friends, Walter 'MoonMan' Dunphy and Dougie 'The Dealer' Kruper are also involved in Eddie's cigarette scheme.

This was great fun and also had Stephanie's relationships with her mentor Ranger and on-again/off-again love interest Joe Morelli taking some interesting directions. It again was my audiobook in the car and I feel very committed to continuing this trend until I read #19 as their relatively short length and fluffiness make them perfect for in-car listening.

There was a change in narrator from the earlier novels that had been read by C.J. Critt. I tried the version read by Tanya Eby but quickly abandoned it. The reason was that Eby read with a New Jersey dialect in contrast to Critt's neutral accent-free reading. My ears were practically bleeding after the first hour. Happily after a short delay I was able to source an alternative version narrated by Lorelei King, who again reads in a neutral accent. Plan on sticking with her for the rest of the audio books.
Tags: audio book, chicklit, crime fiction, period fiction (20th century), police drama, race, sexual violence
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