After That Night
Grade : B-

Looking for a light, fun read? Karin Slaughter's latest addition to the GBI Special Agent Will Trent and Dr. Sara Linton series is not it. This book, the 11th installment in the renowned Will Trent series, is a harrowing journey into the depths of human depravity. After That Night compels us to confront the grim realities of sexual violence, the resilience of survivors, and the unwavering determination of those who seek justice. It's a powerful novel but not a pleasant one.

As anyone who has followed the story of Sara Linton, steadfast medical examiner and the love of Will's life, knows, fifteen years ago, Sara was brutally raped. After That Night begins with the death of a young woman, Dani Cooper, who manages to reveal the horrific assault she suffered before her demise. Sara is determined to secure justice for Dani, but her resolve is tested when she becomes a central figure in a high-stakes civil trial where her testimony holds the key to justice for the accused rapist, Tommy McAllister. As Sara delves into both cases with Will's assistance, she uncovers disturbing connections that are nothing short of horrifying.

Slaughter skillfully weaves a complex tapestry of characters, each grappling with their own inner demons. Special Agent Will Trent, alongside his partner Faith Mitchell, who battles PTSD, embarks on an undercover mission that takes them deep into Atlanta's criminal underworld, transcending the boundaries of law enforcement jurisdiction. Their unwavering dedication to the case shines through as they confront not only the criminal elements but also their formidable boss, Amanda Wagner.

The story's strength lies in its unflinching portrayal of the horrors experienced by survivors of sexual assault. Slaughter doesn't spare readers from the raw details of these heinous crimes, compelling us to confront the brutality and misogyny that persist in our society. One conversation between Sara and another rape survivor left me in tears. However, it's worth noting that some scenes in the novel are so distressing that they may leave readers wanting to forget them. And so many men in this book are so evil--after a while, I felt a bit numb from reading about their mayhem and misogyny.

After That Night is not an easy read. It exposes how the troubling combination of sexual violence, corrupt law enforcement, and a culture prone to doubting women's stories allows predators to act with impunity. There are moments of grace in the novel. Will and Sara's relationship, as they plan their upcoming wedding, is a beacon of hope. Faith Mitchell's ongoing efforts to be a better mother are lovely to read. And, as always, Amanda Wagner's commitment to justice and getting her own way is awesome.

After That Night is a gripping and thought-provoking read, but it's not for the faint of heart. While I don't regret reading it, I can't recommend it without warning readers to brace themselves for its almost overwhelming darkness.

Reviewed by Dabney Grinnan
Grade : B-
Book Type: Suspense

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : October 8, 2023

Publication Date: 08/2023

Review Tags: Will Trent series

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Dabney Grinnan

Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day. Publisher at AAR.
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