Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Kept Woman" by Karin Slaughter, Served with Quick & Easy Peanut Butter and Granola Protein Bars

Congratulations to Karin Slaughter as her thriller, The Kept Woman, hits bookstores today! I am happy to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for this latest installment of her popular Will Trent series. I am pairing my review with some Quick & Easy Peanut Butter and Granola Protein Bars--to provide some quick energy to the hard-working Georgia Bureau of Investigation team as they solve the crimes.

Publisher's Blurb:

Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future.
Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.
The author of Pretty Girls returns with an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges its fascinating protagonist into the darkest depths of a mystery that just might destroy him.
With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.
Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.
Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.
But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.
Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, peopled with conflicted, fallible characters who leap from the page, The Kept Woman is a seamless blend of twisty police procedural and ingenious psychological thriller — a searing, unforgettable novel of love, loss, and redemption.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (September 20, 2016)

My Review:

A confession; I signed up to review The Kept Woman based on loving the creepiness that was Slaughter's last book, Pretty Girls (my review is here) and having no idea that it was the eighth book in a popular series. My bad completely, because I didn't pay attention. One of my quirks is that I absolutely hate not reading a series in order and in this case I was seven books behind. At first, it made a difference because I found myself annoyed by Will Trent and his actions and somewhat frustrated with the book. Slaughter does do a great job of bringing in the back story as the book progresses which helped, and then I hit a turning point where the action ratcheted up big time, Slaughter's mastery of creepy, pulse-pounding tension took over and soon the fact that I didn't know these characters ceased to matter. So I guess if you twist my arm, I will admit that The Kept Woman could be read as a standalone, but personally it is not the way I like to do it.

Once I found myself understanding Will, I began to like him more and began to bond with him and his team. Slaughter writes her characters well--no one is perfect, there are layers to uncover, and there are varying shades in and between good and evil. Faith (Will's partner), Amanda (his boss), and Sara (his love interest) are all strong and interesting women. Angie, his ex-wife is definitely complicated and evil beyond words, but Slaughter writes her so that there is a (very small) kernel of empathy generated for her. The timeline goes back and forth between the main crime, a week before and a few days after in a seamless way that lets the story unfold and kept me guessing about how it would all play out. Like Pretty Girls, The Kept Woman is a dark and twisty book and there are some pretty graphic descriptions of the crime scenes and forensic details, as well as domestic violence and sexual abuse--so it's not for the faint of heart. There is a quote on the book cover about Karin Slaughter from Gillian Flynn that says, "I would follow her anywhere." Even after only two books, I agree with Flynn, when it comes to thrillers and crime procedurals, Slaughter is a master. So as gigantic as my TBR pile is, I have a feeling the Will Trent books one through seven will be added very soon.  


Author Notes: Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestselling standalones, Cop Town and Pretty Girls. There are more than 35 million copies of her books in print around the world.
Find out more about Karin at her website and connect with her on Facebook.


Food Inspiration:
The Kept Woman is not a foodie book. Most of the food mentioned consists of an energy drink, candy bars and Skittles, Cheetos and Pringles, burgers, a wilted-looking chicken salad from a hospital cafeteria, peanuts, root beer, some fresh peaches, coffee and McDonald's breakfast platters and ice cream. Add to that the often graphic forensic descriptions and the book doesn't exactly call for food.

I decided to go with a simple protein bar, perfect for cops, state investigators, and criminals on the go (except Faith who is diabetic). I tucked in some vanilla protein powder and natural crunchy peanut butter for protein, granola for fiber, and honey and dark chocolate to add sweetness and make them a little candy-bar like. They go together quickly and are easy to grab for a quick snack or breakfast on the go.

Quick & Easy Peanut Butter & Granola Protein Bars
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 8-12 bars depending on how you cut them)

2/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey

1 pinch sea salt
1 cup granola of choice (I like this Nature's Path kind)
2 Tbsp protein powder of choice (I like vanilla)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

coarse or flaky sea salt to garnish (optional)

Lightly grease a square or small rectangular pan (8x8" or 9x7"), line with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a large pot, heat the peanut butter and honey over medium-low heat, until it has thinned out. Remove pot from heat and stir in granola and protein powder and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is two thick, add just a bit of non-dairy milk to get it to a thick but still moldable consistency. 

Place the mixture into the pan and pat down to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. 

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, using 30 seconds intervals and mixing in between until melted and smooth. Cover the top of the peanut butter mixture with the chocolate and spread evenly. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt if desired. 

Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until bars have hardened. Cut into squares or rectangles and enjoy. Keep bars stored, covered tightly in refrigerator.

Notes/Results:  Crunchy, chewy, sweet and salty, these bars are a treat that while not entirely healthy, are certainly better than your average candy bar from the vending machine and most store-bought granola bars. You could of course use oats or another cereal in place of the granola, but I like the crunch the granola adds. The honey helps, along with the peanut butter, to hold things together but if you want a vegan bar, you could use maple syrup. The sprinkle of sea salt gives that nice sweet and salty balance and the protein powder is hidden in the mix in terms of flavor and texture but gives them an added boost of nutrition. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, I would make them again.  

I'm linking up this review and recipe to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The Kept Woman" was provided to me by the publisher, Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.



  1. I used to read nothing but suspense/thrillers but after my husband passed last year I wanted lighter reads. This does sound good though, but not as good as that recipe :)

  2. Books is a series always make my TBR list grow exponentially ... but I love them anyway!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. I love Slaughter too, but I've not read the Trent books in order. I used to be like you, but now I realize that I'd just not read certain books or authors if I had to go back 7 or 10 books! Still, I love to see characters develop over the course of a series. It's a dilemma.

    Love the sound of those protein bars!

  4. I suspect I would like your PBG bars better than the packaged kind. The advantage of the packaged ones is that they last forever in your purse or backpack until that day when you suddenly can't go on without a bite to eat. And then you unwrap one -- problem solved! I think the chocolate in your recipe, though far superior in flavor, would be kind of messy in one's purse!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  5. The granola bars look yummy but I'm allergic to peanuts (sigh). Enjoyed hearing about the book, though :).

  6. You've made it sound delicious . Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  7. I haven't gotten around to reading Pretty Girls yet and actually didn't know she had another book out. I think I'll add it to my ever lengthy list of books to read.
    I have been wanting to make proteiy bars to

  8. Ack! I didn't finish my comment and hit publish by mistake! I want to make protein bars for work snacks, as we are eating better these days. We have cut meat out to once a week and it's looking like this week will be solely vegetarian. Trying to lose weight and do better.


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