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July 15, 2024

Review in Haiku: Triptych

By Katrina Stonoff

Murdered prostitute.
Detective. Sex Offender.
Three puzz'ling viewpoints.

Triptych, by Karin Slaughter, will keep you questioning everything you know.

It's unsettling. As a reader, one makes certain assumptions, assumptions you couldn't apply in the tenuous real world.

Nor can you apply them here. What you know isn't necessarily true, and what appears obvious might be exactly opposite of what you believe. Or it might be exactly as it appears.

The story opens with Detective Michael Ormewood going to the projects to investigate the brutal murder of a prostitute. Especially notable: the killer bit off her tongue. Helping him (maybe) is a detective from the state he doesn't want to work with and his former lover, a vice cop who usually works undercover as a prostitute.

In Chapter 7, the tale shifts to a registered sex offender who makes your skin crawl. He's recently been paroled from a 22 years-to-life sentence for raping and killing a 15-year-old girl. But he's about to learn something shocking about the years he was incarcerated.

The multiple points of view pull the reader from fact to fact, and at any given point, we know more than the character we're following. But the shocking revelations bounce the reader from point to point like a person on a bungee cord. Not exactly a comfortable ride, but definitely exciting.

The book roars to a climax that keeps your heart pounding until you put it down. In fact, don't read it late at night: you'll have trouble getting to sleep even if you drink a glass of warm milk first.

This isn't a genre I read much: crime fiction? Maybe thriller? I read this one because Miss Snark recommended it as a good example of an unusual narrator. And it's definitely that.

But I can't imagine there's much crime fiction written better than this. Triptych is quick, fascinating and shocking. Characters are real and intriguing, and we get to know to several of them intimately, via their own thoughts. Best of all, the driving pace never slows for a second.

This is one author I plan to read more.

Article © Katrina Stonoff. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-10-08
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