“The Last Widow” by Karen Slaughter is graphic, terrifying, and redemptive, and thus not for sensitive readers. It is part of the “Will Trent” Series, but new readers will immediately become immersed in the story. This book is about hate and the people who make hate a commodity. Sara Linton’s husband had died in the line of duty, and it seemed like the world was filled with widows.
Sara Linton brought Will Trent with her to a dinner gathering at the family home. Trent’s divorce had just been finalized, and they had settled into a happy routine. Two explosions from the near-by Emory University campus shake the ground. Trent, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Linton, a doctor, immediately rush to the scene. This decision forever changes them.
The chapters that follow expose danger, trauma, and horror. Linton and Trent are caught up in a detailed and complicated plot that includes domestic terrorists, white supremacist groups, military dissidents, survivalists, antisocial drug dealers, and lone-wolf shooters. The goal is many people dying, and the motivation is fame.
Time is important, and events involving different people in different locations occur simultaneously. The time is noted at the start of each chapter, and that starting time goes slightly backward to encompass the actions of the previous chapter from a different perspective. Each point of view reflects different concerns, procedures, and levels of panic. All commentaries work together to develop a complex and complete view of the action. Like a diorama, everything happens all around with the reader in the center. Tick-tock, tick-tock, the minutes pass for each person; details are revealed, and plans are discussed. Readers react to the trauma, follow the preparations, and feel the tension along with characters. The pace is non-stop, and the action is intense.
“The Last Widow” deals with controversy, hate, and abuse. Danger, desperation, and blood ooze from every line. Despite the trauma, the story is compelling and gripping. Every page pulls readers into the ordeal. Ultimately, there is resolution along with the death.
I received a review copy of “The Last Widow” from Karen Slaughter, HarperCollins, and William Morrow. The story is relevant, current, and frighteningly real; it could be from any nightly news broadcast. I recommend it with a caveat for violent content, but this is consistent with Slaughter’s previous books. Regular readers will be glad to know that amidst the distress and devastation, Will and Sara attempt to address at least some of their many complicated personal issues.