Will Trent’s GBI team travels to the Phillips State Prison in the aftermath of a deadly riot. One of the inmates claims that he was framed for a string of murders in Grant County and, if exonerated, will provide information necessary to solve the killing that happened during the prison unrest.
The older murders were particularly cruel, and the investigation was led by the late Jeffrey Tolliver who was married to Sara, Will’s girlfriend. The community was relieved to see someone in prison, and the arrest solidified Jeffrey’s reputation.
Will is understandably reluctant to bring Sara on board, worried about reopening old wounds—and having to deal with Lena Adams again—but when similar assaults and murders are identified in other areas of Georgia, it is clear Will must reopen the case.
For some time, I’ve been extremely passionate about Will Trent, and I admit that when I learned Karin Slaughter was bringing Jeffrey Tolliver back, I was worried about how I would react. That worry was entirely misplaced. Not only did I love The Silent Wife, I think it is my favorite Will Trent book yet. The book plays out in dual timelines: during the original case, led by Jeffrey, which was also the period in which he and Sara were divorced and the current time with the new investigation both looking into new leads and retracing the path Jeffrey and his officers followed. With constant reminders of Jeffrey on top of an already strained relationship with Will, Sara spirals into a sea of negative emotions while Will has his own reactions to the figurative resurrection of Jeffrey, and there future together has never been more uncertain.
Besides the core mystery, Sara and her sister Tess have some great exchanges, Faith Mitchell, Will’s partner, is her sarcastic, firecracker self, and Amanda spends her time looking at her phone and pulling the strings. I was fascinated by details about the funeral industry that were peppered into the plot as well as the impact of citizen detectives.
I cannot rave about this book enough: the writing and pacing as well as transitions between timelines were superb, and each character was well-presented, with both Will and Sara growing over the course of the novel. However, I will warn that descriptions of the crime scene are very intense. A new character, Gina, was so funny, though, she provided quite a bit of comic relief if of a dark nature.
While I think the entire two series (Grant County and Will Trent) are worth reading from the beginning, I also think it would be possible to read The Silent Patient without having read any other books in the series, although some character background would be missing.
Thank you to William Morrow for providing me with a gifted copy of the finished book.