If you’re here intentionally, you’ve probably just had your mind blown by the tenth book in the Will Trent series. Either that, or you thought the twist was fine but couldn’t understand why people were freaking out about it. Perhaps you didn’t realize you were reading the tenth book (or 16th, depending on how you look at it) in a series when you started, but you definitely don’t have time to go back and catch up.
If you’re here unintentionally and haven’t read Karin Slaughter’s Grant County/Will Trent series, particularly the tenth book released in 2022, please turn back now.
I’m worried about people accidentally stumbling upon spoilers by googling the name of the tenth Will Trent book, so I’m not going to call it by its name in this post. I will refer to it as TSW, which anyone here intentionally should understand, but in case there is any confusion, I’m talking about this book.
Final warning: this post contains spoilers for TSW as well as many of the earlier books in the Grant County/Will Trent series. I don’t recommend reading further unless you have already read the whole series and want to discuss it.
If you just finished TSW and are absolutely speechless, you’ve come to the right place. This twist was the closest I’ve ever come to actually throwing a book. I definitely yelled “what?!?!” and startled the dog and my boyfriend when I got to it. I was well and truly shook. I tried to explain the shock to my boyfriend, but he hasn’t read the books and doesn’t care. There isn’t anyone I know in real life who has read all 16 books, and even on Bookstagram it seems like most people started with TKW, TLW, or TSW. I saw so many reviews that were like “it was fine”, but they didn’t know it was part of a 16-book series and didn’t understand the magnitude.
Alright, I’m done beating around the bush. If you’ve read this far and don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now.
Dan. Fucking. Brock?!?
Now, when I first read TSW it had been a long time since I read the rest of the series, and this blog was just a baby so I didn’t have my handy spoilers written at the time. I knew we’d met Brock multiple times before, but I wasn’t paying attention to him. I certainly did not expect this twist at all, and I thought it was spectacular.
I’m extremely curious when Karin decided to make him a serial killer–did she have this plotline in mind during previous books, or did she decide on it right when she sat down to write TSW?
In honor of the Will Trent TV show coming out in 2023 I’ve decided to do a re-read of the whole series, and you better believe I’ll be watching out for Brock foreshadowing along the way. Follow along here to find out what I pick up.
Who is Dan Brock?
Even if you only read The Silent Wife, you know that Dan Brock is the owner of Brock’s Funeral Home and local funeral director. He attended school with Sara, where he was picked on for his family’s business. He liked Sara because she was always nice to him.
When was Dan Brock mentioned in previous Will Trent books?
Sibyl’s wake is held at Brock Funeral Home, but Dan isn’t mentioned.
In the foreword for the 2020 reprint of Blindsighted, Karin mentions that she knew halfway through writing Blindsighted that she would be continuing Sara and Jeffery’s stories through Kisscut, A Faint Cold Fear, and Indelible. Since she didn’t necessarily plan on the series going beyond that, I’m guessing she didn’t plan on the twist at this point.
This is where Dan is actually introduced. When Jenny’s body isn’t picked up from the morgue, Sara calls Dan Brock to see if he’d been asked to collect it. The narrator mentions that Sara and Dan went to kindergarten together.
Dan says he was expecting Jenny’s funeral to be held at his funeral home because the Weavers went to his church. He mentions that “that little Jenny was a peach”, since he knew her from directing the children’s choir.
Later in the book, the reader learns a little history of Brock Funeral Home, that Dan’s father John had purchased the house for a low price at auction and started the funeral home shortly thereafter. Dan and his family lived above the business, and Dan was teased whenever the bus picked him up outside. He “quickly learned to fight back and threatened to touch them with his dead man hands if they didn’t leave him alone”–everyone except Sara, who was always nice to him.
Sara had gone to the funeral home to meet with Dan, and when she walked in, his mother Audra was asleep in the front room. Dan was in the basement, reading a newspaper while Grace Patterson was hooked up to the embalming machine. Could he have been doing something questionable while Grace was hooked up??
Dan was brought in to do some of the coroner responsibilities on Andy’s body while Sara was in Atlanta at the hospital with Tess.
“There was a reason Dan Brock was nearly forty and had never married.” Karin was talking about him being a momma’s boy, but I’m chucking at this in hindsight!
“[Brock] had a very dry wit and a somewhat alarming sense of humor.”
He had been the county coroner by default before Sara.
Dan claimed he never touched the bodies at the funeral home when he was young, but “[his] brother Roger was the one that touched them”. He meant he would take kids into the morgue to scare them when they were young. Sara also commented on thinking Roger was weirder than Dan.
This book might be where the seeds are being planted, y’all. Carlos, Sara’s easygoing morgue assistant, insists that he does not want to work with Mr. Brock again because he is “very strange”. Sara dismissed it because she was used to standing up for Brock when kids in school thought he was strange.
There was an autopsy that Brock was supposed to attend that he was especially late to.
Neither Brock nor the funeral home was mentioned.
HERE WE GO. If Karin wasn’t planning this twist when she wrote Faithless, then this is a hell of a coincidence. In Chapter 13, Sara goes to Brock’s to drop off paperwork for Abby’s funeral. She finds him in the back room: “He was a tall, gangly man, but he had managed to lean the entire upper part of his body into a casket, the lid resting on his back. A woman’s leg, bent at the knee stuck up beside him, a dainty high-heel-clad foot dangling outside the casket. Sara would have suspected something obscene if she didn’t know him better.”
He jumped and made a joke when she startled him. The woman was 80, and he played it off like he was just adjusting her jacket.
This is as far as I’ve gotten in my re-read. At the moment, I am re-reading the Will Trent books that occur before he meets Sara. When the two series meet, I’m sure I’ll have more updates! Stay tuned.