Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter

In brief: Julia’s a good girl. She watches out for her friends, volunteers and is determined to bring to the campus paper the big stories. But who watches out for Julia?

The good: The intricate details of Julia’s life are amazingly achieved in so few words.

The not-so-good: The ending – it’s not bad, just surprising!

Why I chose it: Really enjoyed Cop Town, thanks to Random House for the eARC.

Year: 2015

Pages: 80 (eARC)

Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (Random House)

Setting: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

My rating: 9 out of 10

I’m really excited that Karin Slaughter has a new book out next month (Pretty Girls, a new stand-alone) and to tide me over in the meantime, I decided to pick up this short story by her. Normally, I don’t do too many short stories because well…I like to know a lot of detail about my characters (I think that just means I’m plain nosy). I can now say with confidence that Karin Slaughter writes a fine short story – she packs in the kind of detail you’d expect from a novel, but it doesn’t detract from the story at all.

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes is about Julia, a college student in the early 1990s. When we first meet her, she’s on her way to volunteer at a food van for the homeless. But Julia’s mind is full of missing girls – a girl her own age went missing on the way to buy her father an ice cream and she finds out that one of the homeless girls is also missing. Who took them and why? Julia’s even more determined to look after her friends and to publish a story in the college newspaper about the women who have gone missing or been raped. We learn about Julia’s life – her sisters, her parents, her boyfriend all in great detail. Julia looks out for them. But she needs to look out for herself too…

I didn’t realise it at the time, but this short story is a prelude to Pretty Girls. I haven’t started reading Pretty Girls yet, so I can’t say if it’s necessary reading but I think that it won’t be. It will just be interesting for background and I’m certainly looking forward to meeting Julia’s family again. The world building of the time, setting and family is so intricate and well-crafted you can’t help but gasp at the ending. (The short story also contains an excerpt of Pretty Girls too).

This is a quick, intense read that will have you running for Pretty Girls on release!

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