Karin Slaughter | The Silent Wife (Will Trent #10)

the silent wife by karin slaughter

The Book:

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter (Will Trent #10); 2020

The Characters:

GBI Special Agent Will Trent and Dr. Sara Linton; GBI Special Agent Faith Mitchell, Deputy Director Amanda Wagner; Grant County Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver

If you need a refresher of The Last Widow, check out my summary here.

The Plot:

The Silent Wife picks up a few weeks after The Last Widow left off. Will and Sara are still stuck in miscommunication about whether they want to move in together, get married, or both. 

Will, Sara, and Faith are called to the state prison to investigate a riot. An inmate claims that he has information about the riot, but will only exchange it if his case is reopened. He claims that Chief Tolliver (Sara’s late husband) had botched the case against him eight years ago and that he was wrongfully convicted. He says the killer is still at large, and points the GBI towards a case that is similar to the one he was charged for.

The GBI is hesitant to investigate the inmate’s claims, but when Sara performs an autopsy on the recent murder victim she notices similarities between this murder and the ones that occurred in Grant County eight years ago. 

The timeline jumps forwards and back as Jeffery investigates these murders in the past and Will, Sara, and Faith investigate in the present. A clear pattern begins to emerge. 

TW: rape and extreme violence towards women

How did The Silent Wife end?

Click here for book spoilers for The Silent Wife
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Silent Wife, I suggest you turn back now.

You guys, I am well and truly rattled by who the murderer was. I don’t have anyone I can talk to about it in real life (I tried to explain it to my boyfriend and have been sitting here on my couch huffing about it since I finished it, and his response was, “It’s a book.” He doesn’t get it.)

I thought KS did a good job lining up the dual storylines. The first murder eight years ago was the brutal attack of a college student. Lena made the should-have-been-career-ending mistake of not checking properly to see if she was still alive, costing her half an hour and irreversible brain damage. This first victim is still alive but completely incapacitated. The second attack followed within the same morning; this time the victim didn’t survive. Sara found the broken-off handle of a hammer in her vagina with a serial number that was their best lead. 

As Jeffrey and his team discovered something in the past, Will and his team rediscover or dispute it in the present. We meet Tommi, a victim of the murderer who was brutally raped but got away alive. In the past, she doesn’t have much useful information pertaining to the case due to extreme trauma. 

Will and Faith track down a woman posing as a private investigator and investigating the connections between the murders, which leads them to more surviving victims of the killer. Sara is tasked with tracking down as much information as she can from her past investigation. She visits Dan Brock, her high school friend who was the coroner in Grant County at the time, to get his notes on the case. 

They get permission to exhume the body of another potential victim. As Sara is performing the autopsy, she finds she has a broken jaw and a piece of latex caught in her teeth that were not written up in the initial report. Mid-autopsy, she gets a call back from Tommi. Tommi says she still doesn’t remember anything, just that her rapist had cried a lot and said he did it because his mother was in the hospital and he was lonely. After she hangs up, Sara tells Will that the latex was a condom. Right here, I said, “Oh no” out loud. It couldn’t be…

We flash back to the past again, where Sara and Jeffery confirm that Brock’s mother was in the hospital at the time that Tommi was raped. In fact, Sara had offered to sit with his mother so Brock could go home and get some sleep, and that was when he raped Tommi. KS drops this bombshell on us and then goes on to let Sara and Jeffrey DISCUSS THEIR RELATIONSHIP FOR THREE PAGES. That was the only point I was exasperated with this book–I just wanted there to be another explanation besides Brock.

The Twist: 

The murderer was Dan fucking Brock, the sweet, goofy, odd funeral home director that has been in these books for nearly 20 years. I can’t believe it–definitely didn’t see that one coming, and never thought it would be someone we knew. I’m sad that it was him, but at the same time, that’s some awesome writing. 

Well done, Karin. I figured someone important was going to die since it’s about that time in the series where it needs another jump start. But this twist is way better. 

Sara went to Brock to get a confession, and he admits it all on camera. Brock knew she was coming; he had gotten all of his affairs in order, written a detailed report of all of his attacks, and prepared a hotshot of heroin and formaldehyde to kill himself with. He had intentionally left the hammer handle inside Leslie to frame Daryl Nesbitt, as he knew he was a pedophile. So we get that one shred of comfort that at least he put another disgusting man behind bars? It’s not much!

He kills himself in front of Sara. He had also killed his mother so that she wouldn’t find out about his crimes. 

The End:

Will and Sara got engaged, finally! I’m also thrilled that in the reader’s note at the end of the book, Karin promised to continue their story.

If you’ve read the whole Grant County/Will Trent series, you’re probably wondering when the heck she started foreshadowing this twist. You’re in luck–I’ve been re-reading and looking out for foreshadowing. I’m putting my thoughts in a separate post here.

The Review:

I was so excited for Will and Sara’s story to continue, and Karin Slaughter did not disappoint. It’s amazing how she has managed to keep these characters interesting across so many books. If you’ve read the series since the beginning, you’re going to want to read this one asap. That’s all I’ll say for fear of spoiling anything–it is 100% worth it to go in blind. Come back once you’ve read it and expand the spoilers for my full thoughts! 

Do you think she’s dragged it out too far, or are you hoping for more of Will and Sara? Let me know in the comments!

Wondering if you can read the Will Trent series out of order? 

I don’t recommend it. Since Karin Slaughter develops all her characters throughout both series, I definitely recommend reading them in order of publication date. Personally, I started with The Kept Woman (#8) and then jumped back to the beginning. I had to re-read it by the time I got back to it on the list. 

I’ve also posted spoilers for all of the Grant County books, so check this link or the search bar to find what you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for a matching set of the Will Trent books, most of them are included in this set, which I purchased recently and love!

Will Trent books in order

*Once again, I do recommend starting with the Grant County books. See this post.

Undone (also titled Genesis)
Snatched (novella)
Busted (novella)
The Kept Woman
Cleaning the Gold (novella)
The Last Widow
The Silent Wife
After That Night

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