"Fallen" is another fine entry in Karin Slaughter's thrillers featuring Dr. Sara Linton. This time the crime spotlight is on Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Agent Faith Mitchell, while the romance spotlight focuses on Sara and Faith's GBI partner, Will Trent.
Faith leaves her infant daughter, Emma, with her mother, Evelyn, while she attends a relatively short GBI training. When she returns, she finds her mother's house ransacked, trails of blood, her mother gone, Emma hidden in a shed, and armed intruders inside Evelyn's home. For the remainder of the novel, Faith, Will, and their supervisor, Amanda Wagner, try to uncover who the people who took Evelyn are and what they want. They must work the case from outside GBI's normal investigative responsibilities because the Atlanta Police Department has claimed jurisdiction. They enlist Sara, a former coroner, to feed them information about some of the bad guys who are killed during the investigation.
Slaughter's novels are distinguished by the personal struggles of her characters, waged largely outside of the main storyline, but impacting their approach to investigation and how they handle stress. Faith struggles with her diabetes, the combativeness of her older brother, and Emma's father whom she did not inform about their daughter's birth. As do most of the featured characters, Faith has relationship issues. Will struggles (although not as much as in other books) with his dyslexia, his damaged and destructive wife, and his attraction to Sara. Sara, too, is conflicted about her attraction to Will and his attachment to his wife, as well as about moving on after husband's death. (I still haven't quite gotten over Jeffrey, myself.)
The pace is fast, with a few stops for characters to reflect on their lives and their pasts. Slaughter reveals more about Will's childhood and his relationship to Angie, his wife. But she does nudge the characters into making some changes, even if they are sometimes small ones. Certainly, I can't wait to find out where they go in her next book, just as I couldn't wait to find out what happened in "Fallen".