If your fiction needs to have that hint of the macabre with some additional thriller elements, then I would heartily recommend that you read some Karin Slaughter. Slaughter is the author of 21 novels altogether which have sold around 40 million copies across the world.
She was raised as a Christian but was soon expelled from her devout school for tearing up a copy of the bible. She has also received multiple awards for her fiction and her works have been translated into over 35 languages.
But what are the best ways to read Karin Slaughter’s work? Well, you can always read them in the order they were published (which is what I would personally recommend) or you can read them in chronological order, which gives you a more continuous story.
Who Is Karin Slaughter?
Karin Slaughter is an American author who hails from Georgia. She is known for putting a lot of research into her novels. For example, she browsed coroner and autopsy reports to research certain parts of her books.
Karin is very dedicated to the preservation of books and library services, founding the Save The Libraries Project, which helps to financially support libraries across the country.
Karin Slaughter Books (In Publication Order)
There are 2 ways of reading Karin Slaughter’s books. Reading these novels in order of chronology might make the story easier to understand, although I would always recommend reading in publication order, as there are some details that will only be revealed as the novels progress.
Here is the Karin Slaughter books in order of publication, along with a brief synopsis for some of the works:
This is the first novel in the Georgia County series. Here we are introduced to Sara Linton, the local pediatrician and coroner who is called in to examine the case of a waitress who has been assaulted and brutally murdered.
Sara must team up with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver if they are to solve the mystery.
- A great place to start with Karin Slaughter
- Plenty of thrills and grisly murder scenes
- Great pacing, will have you riveted at page one
- Might be too grim for some readers
This is the second book in the Grant County series and follows Sara Linton as she has to deal with a case of ritualistic murder and mutilation. Once again, she must team up with her ex-husband as well as the grieving detective Lena Adams to find an abducted girl.
- 3 well-developed and compelling main characters
- A great follow-up to Blindsighted
- Plenty of twists and turns that will keep you gripped
- Some readers found this book way too graphic
A Faint Cold Fear (2003)
In this next novel, the trio of Sara, Jeffrey and Lena must investigate the mysterious suicide of a young girl on a collage campus.
While all the evidence points to a suicide, the evidence doesn’t quite add up, leading to a trail of intrigue that goes much deeper than the three of them could ever have guessed.
- A good story arc for all 3 characters
- Great for suspense and thriller fans
- Builds to an electrifying climax
- Another incredibly graphic story
This next novel is probably one of the most gripping in the Grant County series. When a hostage situation breaks out at the police station and Jeffrey Tolliver is wounded. Meanwhile, Lena has to help a divorced couple that is trapped outside the station.
- A roller coaster chapter of this series
- Great character development
- Thousands of great reviews on Amazon
- Might be too different for fans of the other Grant County books
After a grisly murder during which the victim was buried alive, Sara and Jeffrey must work together, although this time their relationship does not run so smoothly as they face one of the most heinous killers either of them has ever witnessed.
- More subtle in tone than the previous books
- A great read for newcomers to the Grant County series
- A classic thriller story
- More scenes of graphic violence
This next book is the first in the Will Trent series, as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation detective Will Trent is on the hunt for a serial assaulter.
In this novel, we are also introduced to the vice cop Angie Polaski, who Will once had a strange relationship with. Now they are forced to team up to investigate this series of crimes.
- Introduction to the Will Trent series
- Gripping characters and an engaging story
- Plenty of intrigue and danger
- Another slice of Slaughter violence that some readers might find disturbing
Beyond Reach (2007)
This is the final climactic book in the Grant County series. Lena Adams is accused of murder and only Sara and Jeffrey can help to clear her name.
However, Lena flees back to where she grew up, where she has to confront some demons from her past that she has thought were long buried.
- A great ending for this series
- Plenty of twists and turns
- Great read for Dean Koontz fans
- You will have had to have read the other Grant County books for this to pay off
This is the second book in the Will Trent series and we dive straight in with the murder of a young girl along with a mother who has killed her daughter’s killer with her bare hands.
Will Trent has to link this case with a string of other murders, revealing a rich pattern of deception that runs far deeper than he thought.
- Comes with thousands of great Amazon reviews
- A thrilling page-turner
- One of the best books in the Will Trent saga
- Too gory for a lot of readers
This next chapter in the Will Trent story follows the detective as he uncovers a torture dungeon buried underneath the ground that a killer uses to abuse and then murder his victims.
Will and his partner Faith Mitchell are on a race against time to find the killer as they try and face their own demons.
- A great chase thriller
- Evocative of place and tone
- Great characters and story development
- Some of the torture scenes are very disturbing
This is another Will Trent novel that deals with heartbreak and loss as well as murder and deception.
This is where we learn of the death of one of Grant County’s main characters, Jeffrey Tolliver, it is also the first story where the characters Sara Linton and Lena Adams from the Grant County series feature. Together, they need to figure out how Chief Tolliver was killed and why.
- Combines characters from Grant County and Will Trent books
- Gives a large emotional impact
- A story of much intrigue and murder
- The plot of this story might feel too labored for some readers
This is another crossover novel, this time featuring the pairing of Sara Linton and Faith Mitchell as they try and deal with a hostage situation that involves Faith’s own mother.
Faith will have to go against her partner Will Trent as well as the police force to find out the truth about what happened to her mother.
- An exciting mixture of 3 well-known characters
- A plot that will keep you guessing right up until the last page
- Mature and complex female characters
- Some readers have complained that the plot is too complicated
This next novel follows Will Trent as he overhears a pleading girl in a crowded airport. When they disappear into the crowd, Will has the airport closed in an attempt to find her. He will try and find the girl and the man who he saw spirit her away no matter what it takes.
- This is a grand and thrilling story
- A great Will Trent-focused story
- Will have your heart in your mouth as you keep reading
- Some readers might not like the single-setting story
This next novel features Will Trent as he starts to investigate the case of a girl that goes missing from her college dorm room.
When Will is inexplicably taken off the case by his boss Amanda Wagner, he starts to ask questions. He soon uncovers a tale involving his father and a tragic tale of his own origins.
- This is a nail-biting story
- Great for those avid Will Trent fans who want to be drawn into his evolving history
- More police procedural than thriller
- Some readers have complained this is not a strong Will Trent novel
Will Trent finds himself caught in the middle of a robbery at a gas station. This novel is included as a companion piece to Unseen, which is the full-length follow-up book.
- Whets the appetite for the next novel ‘Unseen’
- More action-packed than other Will Trent stories
- Too incidental for die-hard Will Trent fans
In this novel, Will Trent goes undercover as an ex-con called Bill Black, who rides around Macon on his motorbike. However, as he gets further embroiled in a drugs ring, his world starts to crumble as he is cut off from his Sara Linton, the only thing he loves the most.
- A game of cat and mouse
- Plenty of jeopardies and lots of plot twists
- A fearsome book that is chilling and entertaining
- Might be too violent for some readers
Cop Town (2014)
This book is another riveting tale about a serial killer on the hunt for cops.
- Featuring a female protagonist
- Plenty of thrills, murder and intrigue
- Thousands of amazing reader reviews
- Might be too gory for some readers
Pretty Girls (2015)
This is a story of three sisters, one of whom disappeared a long time ago. Now begins the story of the two remaining sisters trying to piece their family history together.
- Plenty of suspense
- Great for female readers
- A good novel for fans of family drama
- More aimed at female than male readers
The Kept Woman (2016)
This next novel is an international bestseller and book 8 in the Will Trent series. In this book, Will Trent investigates the murder of a retired cop in a warehouse in Atlanta.
- An international bestselling book
- A great source of mystery and suspense
- Thousands of great reviews
- Not for people who don’t like the Will Trent novels
The Good Daughter (2017)
This is a story about a fractured family, with a daughter who is looking to follow in her father’s path as a lawyer. But when she investigates a crime 30 years later, it dredges up some of her own demons.
- A novel that will really get under your skin
- Plenty of twists
- Great for female-led fiction fans
- Not enough action for some readers
Pieces Of Her (2018)
This is the story about a hidden identity that comes back to haunt you in later life. Andrea thinks she knows her mother Laura, but after a violent shoot-out in a shopping mall, everything she thought she knew was turned upside down.
- Gripping family drama
- A hidden past returns
- Great characters
- Might be too slow-paced for some readers
The Last Widow (2019)
This is another book that features both Will Trent and Sarah Linton, as both detectives are thrust into a kidnapping plot and an explosion.
- Plenty of riveting twists
- A deadly conspiracy
- Great for fans of Will Trent or Sarah Linton
- Some readers described this book as being too grim
The Silent Wife (2020)
This is another novel that features a secret that is threatening to tear a family apart. When Lara finds a letter in her attic, her life is turned upside down.
- Great for anyone who likes marriage-themed thrillers
- Three-dimensional central characters
- Secrets and intrigue
- Might be a little too slow for action fans
False Witness (2021)
This is a story about a childhood that is haunted by trauma and violence that has had repercussions for years. This follows the story of a lawyer who has to represent a wealthy man who has something to do with her dark family tragedy.
- Thousands of great ratings
- A fast-paced and dark narrative
- A great central character
- Slightly too slow
Girl, Forgotten (2022)
This is a novel about a girl who was murdered on her high-school prom. This features a judge who is determined to get justice for young Emily 20 years later.
- Takes place over decades
- Great central characters
- A decent police procedural
- Some readers have complained this plot is too labored
After That Night (2023)
In this bestselling Karen Slaughter novel, Sarah Linton is forced to face the violent attack that happened to her 15 years ago when a younger girl is attacked in the present moment. It is up to Will Trent to find out how the two cases are linked.
- An exciting read
- Dramatised on ABC channel
- Great for fans of Will Trent and Sarah Linton
- Not for people who don’t like Will Trent
Karen Slaughter Books (By Series)
Now, this is the second method that you can use to read some of these books. I’ve grouped them into their respective series, which allows you to chart the progress of certain characters across multiple books.
Grant County Series
This series is set in the fictional town of Heartsdale in Georgia and it follows 3 main characters: Sara Linton, who is a pediatrician and coroner, her ex-husband, who is the chief of police and his immediate subordinate, detective Lena Adams.
A lot of readers of Karin Slaughter wonder whether they should read the Grant County series before the Will Trent series and whether the two are related.
I would recommend reading the Grant County series first, although the first two Will Trent books relate to the 2009 book ‘Genesis’ (also titled ‘Undone’).
This is the first in the Sarah Linton book series, with the pediatrician and coroner is called out to do a post-mortem on a woman who was murdered at a local diner. However, after another gruesome murder, she realizes this is the work of a serial killer.
- A small town thriller
- Features lots of gruesome prose
- Solid introduction to Sarah Linton
- Might be too gruesome for some
This story starts off quite innocently but soon ends up in a deadly shoot-out which pediatrician and coroner Sarah Linton is forced to confront.
- Plenty of intriguing characters
- Thousands of great Amazon reviews
- The perfect continuation for the Sarah Linton story
- Another gory tale
A Faint Cold Fear (2003)
This story follows Sarah Linton and her ex-husband Jeffrey Tolliver as they track a string of mystery suicides on college campuses that might not be what they seem.
- Features plenty of intrigue and murder
- Great for Sarah Linton fans
- Thousands of great reviews
- Might be too grisly for some readers
Now for an explosive chapter in the Sarah Linton saga as she is caught up in a terrifying hostage situation. This book is well-paced and really drives up the suspense.
- A great chapter in the Sarah Linton saga
- Great for fans of action
- Something different from the usual Sarah Linton novel
- Die-hard Sarah Linton fans might not be fans of the change of pace
This novel skillfully weaves in the relationship of Sarah Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver with a murder victim that they find buried alive (and then swiftly murdered) in the woods.
- More suspense than thriller
- An intriguing central premise
- Good relationship between the main characters
- A little slow for some readers
Beyond Reach (2007)
This novel is the final in the Grant County series and it really ends on a high. In this novel, Jeffery Tolliver’s deputy Lena Adams has been arrested and it’s up to him and his wife Sarah Linton to prove her innocence… with a few shocking twists on the way!
- A great series finale
- All the characters are well-outlined
- Rich and gripping prose
- Too gruesome for some readers
Will Trent Series
This series of novels focuses on the FBI detective Will Trent and his partners Angie Polanski and Faith Mitchell for the first few books only to be joined by Sara Linton from the Grant County series later on.
This series is mainly comprised of novels and a few short stories. Here is the order that I would recommend you read the Will Trent series in:
- Triptych (2005)
- Fractured (2008)
- Genesis (2009)
- Broken (2010)
- Fallen (2011)
- Snatched (2012)
- Criminal (2012)
- Busted (2013)
- Unseen (2013)
- The Kept Woman (2016)
- The Last Widow (2019)
- The Silent Wife (2020)
- After That Night (2023)
Georgia Series (In Publication Order)
This series sees the coming together of the Grant County and Will Trent series of books. The story follows Sara Linton as she relocates from Heartsdale to Atlanta where she starts working with Faith Mitchell and Will Trent.
When it comes to the order of reading, then you should read both the Grant County and the Will Trent books before you delve into this series.
This is a continuation of the Grant County series. This time we find Sarah Linton in a hospital in Atlanta, trying to get away from the horrific events that she encountered in Grant County.
- A very vivid and complex narrative
- A mystery that will leave you on the edge of your seat
- Great for fans of Sarah Linton
- Another gory novel
This is the story of Will Trent as he journeys to Grant County, the home of Karen Slaughter’s other protagonists Sarah Linton and Lena Addams. Will Trent has to solve the death of Jeffery Tolliver and the role these two women played in that death.
- A gripping narrative arc
- Great characters
- A good crossover between Will Trent and Sarah Linton
- Some readers felt this novel didn’t answer many questions
This novel focuses on the partner of Will Trent, Faith Mitchell. When Faith finds a man dead and a hostage taken in her mother’s house, there are many things she needs to get to the bottom of and, with the help of Will Trent and Sarah Linton, she will.
- A New York Times Bestselling book
- A thrilling mystery
- Great for crime fans
- Some people found the plot a little labored
Good Daughter Series (In Publication Order)
This novel follows Charlotte Quinn who becomes a lawyer just like her father. However, after a series of horrific events, Charlotte has to confront her childhood past which she thought was long buried.
This is a great two-parter for someone who wants something longer than a book but doesn’t want to commit to a whole series.
Last Breath (2017)
This is the story of lawyer Charlie Quinn who, after having her childhood overturned at the murder of her father, decided to become one herself. When a teen turns up asking for help, Charlie is reminded of her past and delves into the case.
- An electrifying book
- Full of twists and turns
- A great lead character
- Might be too different for fans of Karin Slaughter’s other books
The Good Daughter (2017)
Standalone Books (In Publication Order)
These are books that can be read without having read any of the novels by Karin Slaughter. This is the best option for anyone who is just looking to dip in and out. A lot of these books I would recommend for a gripping vacation read.
- Cop Town (2014)
- Pretty Girls (2015)
- The Good Daughter (2017)
- Pieces of Her (2018)
- False Witness (2021)
- Girl, Forgotten (2022)
Short Stories (In Publication Order)
These are Karin Slaughter’s collection of short stories. They can be read in any order and require no knowledge of any prior series to understand them.
Martin Misunderstood (2008)
This book is about hapless office worker Martin Reed, who comes into work one day to find he is the accused in the murder of his colleague. So begins a twisting and sharply-written tale where we find out if Martin is guilty or simply misunderstood.
- A tightly-paced mystery
- A great central character
- Hundreds of great reviews
- Might be too light-hearted for Karin Slaughter fans
Thorn In My Side (2011)
This is a short story about two brothers who go out to pick up girls in a bar but soon find themselves embroiled in some shady business.
- Short and sweet
- Full of action
- Classic Karin Slaughter
- Might not be a good vacation read
The Unremarkable Heart (2011)
This is a short story collection that covers all of the classic Karin Slaughter themes of death, murder, intrigue and secrets.
- A varied batch of stories
- An entertaining read
- A good introduction for Karin Slaughter newbies
- Too short for novel fans
The Blessing Of Brokenness (2012)
This is a single story taken from the previous collection ‘The Unremarkable Heart’, following a member of a baptist church trying to repair the cross, with disastrous results.
- A great short journey read
- Perfect for a Kindle
- Great characters and story
- You’ll finish it in an afternoon
Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes (2015)
This is a short story that will have you captivated right from the first page until the last. Julia Carroll is worried when all of her college classmates start disappearing…
- One of Karin Slaughter’s best stories
- Full of suspense
- Plenty of action over a small amount of time
- Too short for a long train or plane journey
Three Twisted Stories (2015)
Next up, we have three amazing stories from Karin Slaughter. These are all stories of murder, kidnapping and intrigue that have earned Slaughter her place as a bestseller.
- Three great stories for a long journey
- Plenty of riveting characters
- Great intro for anyone unfamiliar with Karin Slaughter
- Might be too short for some readers
Cold, Cold Heart (2016)
This is a short story that covers death, revenge, marriage and everything in-between. This is a great short story for anyone who is a fan of Gillian Flynn.
- An extremely clever story
- Full of twists and turns
- Great for reading on vacation
- Might be too short for someone who wants a novel
This is a collaboration between Karin Slaughter and Lee Child, with a rip-roaring story that is brimming with drama, tension and explosive action.
- Ideal for fans of these two authors
- Combines their styles in amazing ways
- Gripping and revealing
- Some readers might not enjoy the crossover
Anthology Books (In Publication Order)
These are books that feature Karin Slaughter stories as well as other authors. There are some Karin Slaughter stories in these anthologies that you won’t find anywhere else.
Like A Charm (2004)
This is a very interesting book featuring renowned thriller and crime novels from around the world. This novel is centered on one single theme: a charm bracelet and all of the unlucky people who come into contact with it.
- A great collection of stories with a unifying theme
- Good for Karin Slaughter fans who want to branch out
- Thousands of great reviews
- This is not for purist Karin Slaughter fans
First Thrills (2010)
This is a collection of chilling short stories from a list of prestigious authors including Karin Slaughter.
- These are tales of high-intensity murder
- Great for people who like scares
- Plenty of diversity in this anthology
- Might not satisfy fans of Karin Slaughter novels
The theme of this book is vengeance and the author Lee Child has gathered together some of the best crime writers in the game to tackle it.
- Some of the best crime writers in America
- Featuring some of these writers’ best characters
- Plenty of thrills and killers
- If you want solo Karin Slaughter, go with one of her novels
This is another book from the literary supergroup the Mystery Writers Of America. This one has the theme of mysterious locked boxes, whether they are prison cells or empty coffins, there is intrigue and darkness in every tale.
- Stories from some of the most popular writers in America
- An amazing rollercoaster of different genres
- These will make you laugh as well as shiver
- Readers might tire of the locked box theme
This is a pretty unique concept and perfect for anyone who follows a lot of crime fiction. This involves the pairing of famous male and female fictional detectives, in the case of Karin Slaughter, it’s the police chief Jeffrey Tolliver.
- A unique treat for crime writers
- Full of gripping and suspenseful stories
- Thousands of positive reviews
- The novelty might wear off after a few chapters
Karin Slaughter is an amazing writer and if you are a fan of writers such as Darby Kane, Catherine Dang or Debbie Babbit, then I would certainly recommend you read some of Slaughter’s work.
These novels are thrilling and emotive and I was turning page after page as soon as I started reading.
There is plenty in Slaughter’s biography to get excited about and if you like police procedural thrillers with a dash of murder and psychological accuracy, then this might be the author for you.
Each series take you on a journey, so we would always recommend that you start from the very beginning.
You can read these novels in chronological order if you want, although we would recommend that you do this on the second reading, as some of the plot details might be lost if you read the books out of sequence of publication.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Authors Are Like Karin Slaughter?
Here is a brief list of authors that have been compared to Karin Slaughter:
Chevy Stevens – The novel ‘Those Girls’, with its female-centered narrative and ghost of a childhood past will certainly resonate with Karin Slaughter readers.
Darby Kane – With her novel about a missing husband filled with intrigue and suspense, this is a page-turner that is very tonally similar to Karin Slaughter.
Catherine Dang – In her novel ‘Nice Girls’, a social media star disappears from her old town and it’s up to her former best friend to find her. There is plenty of suspense and intrigue in this story.
Lisa Gardner – This is a story about a kidnap victim trying to adjust to modern life after 7 years in captivity. Suddenly she’s involved in a murder case and a detective has to try and solve the mystery. Much like Karin Slaughter, this is a great police procedural.
Debbie Babbit – In her debut novel, Babbit writes about a judge who is called in the defend someone who has stabbed a pregnant woman. However, soon her life starts to unravel, and she makes a terrible discovery that will change her life forever.
How Many Books Has Karin Slaughter Sold?
Karin Slaughter has sold over 40 million books all over the world and has been translated into over 35 languages.
Do I Need To Read The Grant County Series Before The Georgia Series?
Yes, you should read the Grant County series first, as the characters that appear in the Georgia series also appear in both the Grant County and Will Trent books.
However, Karin Slaughter has stated that she tries to construct novels that you can start at any point, discovering who the characters are without any prior knowledge of the other books.