What are the best Karin Slaughter books? In what order should you read them? Find those answers and more with our list of the best Karin Slaughter books as well as a complete listing of all her books by series.
With the debut of Pieces of Her, an eight-episode television series on Netflix, one of the top Karin Slaughter novels has finally arrived on screens.
Legions of new Slaughter fans are no doubt wondering how to start devouring her canon of 21 novels. In addition to her Grant County series and Will Trent series, Slaughter has numerous one-off novels and novellas to choose from. To help new fans get on board, we’re ranking her best.
Hollywood, take note. As the American author told Entertainment Weekly, “I have a great benefit in the fictional realm: I get to punish the bad guy, every time.” Her strong point of view and bias toward personal justice – especially for those who victimize women – is pervasive throughout her impressive canon.
Slaughter was born with perhaps the best name of any thriller novelist (yes – it’s her real name!). The Georgia-native’s first novel, Blindsighted won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Dagger Award shortlist. In the years since her books have sold more than 40 million copies to date and been translated into more than 120 languages.
She is also the founder of the Save the Libraries Foundation, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local libraries.
As a bonus, below our ranked list, please find a complete list of all Karen Slaughter’s books by series and publication order.
1) Pretty Girls
After slaying us with the greatness of Cop Town, which first convinced us of her greatness, Slaughter topped herself again with Pretty Girls, a chilling police procedural that haunted us weeks after finishing the final page.
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenage sister Julia vanished without a trace.
The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different.
Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire.
Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet.
But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart.
What could connect them?
What really happened to Julia?
Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago.
And uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
Readers will be rewarded with one of the top crime thrillers in contemporary literature.
2) Cop Town
Winner of the Steel Dagger Book Award.
One of Slaughter’s hardest-hitting feminist novels takes place in 1974 Atlanta.
As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last.
She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun.
But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies.
It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.
Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat.
Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes.
When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point.
With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation…
…risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.
3) Pieces of Her
Now adapted for a hard-hitting Netflix series of the same name, this novel is an absolute masterwork.
Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura.
She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle.
She knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.
Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?
But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.
Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different.
For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find h
er. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.
The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter.
Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past.
And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them.
4) False Witness
Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life.
She’s an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is managing to successfully coparent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter.
But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood no one should have to endure…
…a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence.
On a Sunday night at her daughter’s school play, she gets a call from one of the firm’s partners who wants Leigh to come on board to defend a wealthy man accused of multiple counts of rape.
Though wary of the case, it becomes apparent she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to keep her job.
They’re scheduled to go to trial in one week.
When she meets the accused face-to-face, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s specifically asked for her to represent him.
She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he may know what happened over twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades avoiding her past.
Suddenly she has a lot more to lose than this case. The only person who can help is her younger, estranged sister Callie—the last person Leigh would ever want to drag into this after all they’ve been through. But with the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice.
5) The Good Daughter
Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind.
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home.
It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated.
And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter.
But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare.
Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress.
Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever.
Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.
It all started with Blindsighted, Slaughter’s 2001 award-winning debut novel.
Slaughter’s first crime thriller is, fittingly, set in her home stage.
A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner.
But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.
Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation.
A trail of terror grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later.
But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands.
The county’s only female detective, Lena Adams—the first victim’s sister—wants to serve her own justice.
But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer.
A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath…
…or mean her death.
Blindsighted served as a a forebearer of one of Slaughter’s signature themes – that personal justice is as important, if not more so – than any justice that law enforcement can bring.
7) The Silent Wife
This novel, deep in the Will Trent series, may be one of Slaughter’s best.
Investigating the killing of a prisoner during a riot inside a state penitentiary, GBI investigator Will Trent is confronted with disturbing information. One of the inmates claims that he is innocent of a brutal attack for which he has always been the prime suspect.
The man insists that he was framed by a corrupt law enforcement team led by Jeffrey Tolliver and that the real culprit is still out there—a serial killer who has systematically been preying on women across the state for years.
If Will reopens the investigation and implicates the dead police officer with a hero’s reputation of wrongdoing, the opportunistic convict is willing to provide the information GBI needs about the riot murder.
Only days ago, another young woman was viciously murdered in a state park in northern Georgia. Is it a fluke, or could there be a serial killer on the loose?
As Will Trent digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the cold case in order to find the answer. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear, and lies to become truth.
But Will can’t crack either mystery without the help of the one person he doesn’t want involved: his girlfriend and Jeffrey Tolliver’s widow, medical examiner Sara Linton.
When the past and present begin to collide, Will realizes that everything he values is at stake .
All Karin Slaughter Books In Order (as of 2022)
The Grant County series
A Faint Cold Fear (2003)
Beyond Reach (2007), Skin Privilege (UK title)
The Will Trent series
Undone (2009), Genesis (UK/Australia title)
Snatched (2012, ebook novella)
Busted (2013, ebook novella)
The Kept Woman (2016) 
The Last Widow (2019)
The Silent Wife (2020)
Other Karin Slaughter Books
Like A Charm (2004; editor)
Martin Misunderstood (2008)
Thorn in My Side (2011; ebook novella)
Cop Town (2014)
Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes (2015)
Pretty Girls (2015)
Last Breath (2017) (novella)
The Good Daughter (2017)
Pieces of Her (2018)
False Witness (2021)
Girl, Forgotten (2022)