Special agent Will Trent is a creation of the American thriller author Karin Slaughter, as he solves various cases from his branch in Atlanta. Working for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the series works in tandem with Slaughter’s previous collection of ‘Grant County’ novels, as many of the characters are recurring. Growing up in the Atlanta Children’s Home after being found in a trash-can, he comes from a troubled past, something which has shaped him in his pursuit for justice. Dedicated to his job, he prefers to work alone, as he gains himself a reputation for his professional, but isolated demeanor.
The first of the Will Trent novels would come out in 2006 with Triptych, setting up the series, whilst also loosely attaching it to the ‘Grant County’ novels. There would then be another eight books to follow, with the ninth, The Silent Wife, on its way to being released. Sara Linton from Grant County joins the series in the third title, Undone, in 2009, with other recurring characters being Angie Polaski and Faith Mitchell. Extremely smart with one of the highest success rates for solving crimes, he puts himself down for his dyslexia, something which he’s battled against his whole life. Coming out on top despite all his hardships, he’s persevered, fighting to get to the top, never asking for help of any kind along the way.
While Karin Slaughter is set to have her Pieces of Her novel made into a Netflix television show, there are no plans to adapt a Will Trent series as of yet. Lending itself well visually to the medium, it’s a vividly told series with a strong narrative arc for all of its characters throughout. The series has also won an American Association of People With Disabilities Justice for all Award, thanks to her portrayal of dyslexia, which has gone some way to securing the series’ successful status, with many notable highlights.
Best Will Trent Books
These are my own personal top five books in the Will Trent series so far:
See at Amazon#5: Fallen (2011)
A hostage situation has tipped over to boiling point, as Faith Mitchell of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations is up against the clock, enlisting the help of her partner Will Trent. A witness herself, Faith has gone beyond just being a cop, as her and Will also bring in trauma doctor Sara Linton to assist them too. Surrounded by police corruption, though, along with bribery and murder, Faith must do whatever it takes to ensure that justice sees the light of day.
Easy to read and highly accessible, this is a difficult book to put down, as you constantly want to know what’s coming next. The story is compelling, allowing the reader to feel as if they’re really there amidst all the action, alongside the characters themselves. Will Trent himself is also very well drawn, this being the fifth title in the series, as it provides another solid mystery for him to solve.
See at Amazon#4: The Last Widow (2019)
A doctor and scientist from the Center for Disease Control abruptly disappears, as he’s snatched from a parking lot. Then, just one month later, an important neighbourhood is bombed, disrupting the tranquillity of Atlanta one quiet Sunday afternoon. Stepping onto the scene, Will Trent and Sara Linton dive head-first into a monumental conspiracy, one that could threaten thousands of lives.
There are some really interesting themes and ideas covered here, with a lot of insight and research into the subject matter. Looking at why people join certain movements, it shows a great understanding of a need to belong and fit in. Not only that, but the mystery itself is once again compelling, really letting the reader feel invested in the story and the characters.
See at Amazon#3: Criminal (2012)
Working for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Will Trent is inexplicably held back from the case of a missing college student by his deputy director and mentor Amanda Wagner. Then the two of them meet after finding themselves drawn to the orphanage where Will was raised after his father was imprisoned for murder. The case that helped launch Amanda’s case forty years prior is back to haunt her too, as the two of them must overcome the demons of their past, and work together to take down a new threat.
Focusing on the backstory of Will Trent, this emotional piece of character development is a great addition to the series. Taking Trent to new previously unexplored places, this really works, giving his character a greater real sense of weight and heft. The mystery itself is also well integrated into the narrative, showing what Slaughter clearly does best as an author of compelling thrillers.
See at Amazon#2: Undone (2009)
Entering the trauma center of an Atlanta hospital, a young woman with a tortured past needs help, which sees the medical examiner Sara Linton thrown into the deep-end. Finding herself in the middle of an intensive police investigation, she turns to Will Trent and his partner, Faith Mitchell, for help. Guarding themselves, the three of them soon discover that they’re all that stands between one crazed individual and their next victim.
Dealing with some heavy themes and ideas, this expertly handles a lot of tougher subject matter than what’s come before. With this being the third book in the series, this is definitely one of the stronger entries, allowing its story to deeply immerse the reader. The characters are well drawn, in a book where everyone is somewhat flawed, giving the story a greater level of depth and meaning.
See at Amazon#1: The Kept Woman (2016)
Found at an abandoned construction site, the body of a murdered ex-cop is discovered, as Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in. Examining the scene, both him and the medical examiner Sara Linton realize that there are footprints leading away from the body, showing someone that’s experienced extensive blood loss. With another potential victim out there, Will must find them before it’s too late, as there’s a cover-up surrounding the site itself, with its owner being mired in scandal.
Not holding back on the content once again, this book really delivers, giving one of Will Trent’s best entries to date. Whilst it’s the eighth book in the series, it shows the progression of his character, reaching a high-point in this more than exemplary entry. You should probably read Grant County prior to this, although it’s not essential to understanding what’s going on, as it’s an accessible and compelling read.
Best Books & Series To Read If You Like Will Trent:
Quincy and Rainie: The American thriller writer Lisa Gardner is well known for her Quincy and Rainie series of mystery novels, as they investigate and solve crimes. Working as FBI profilers, they largely concern themselves with serial-killers, with Pierce Quincy taking the lead in the first book, before being joined by Lorraine ‘Rainie’ Conner in the second. They manage their cases as working partners, dealing with all manner of psychopath, whilst Agent Kimberley Quincy, Pierce’s daughter, joins them later on.
Harry Bosch: Combining noir with the police-procedural, this LA set series from the acclaimed American crime thriller author Michael Connelly is a tightly written collection of mysteries. Following the character of detective Harry Bosch, he’s an empathetic individual with a troubled past, typically working best by himself. There has also been a highly popular Amazon Prime television series made from the stories, starring Titus Welliver in the lead-role.
Kay Scarpetta: First appearing in the 1990 novel Postmortem, the American thriller writer Patricia Cornwell would base her character on a former Virginia Chief Medical Examiner. Using forensic technology throughout, the series is noted for its accuracy and attention to detail, inspiring other novels and even television shows in their depiction of the practise. Solving various crimes, Kay Scarpetta is a highly astute medical examiner who continually manages to get to the bottom of any given case.
Alex Cross: A forensic psychologist and detective, Alex Cross is a former FBI agent who lives and works in Washington, D.C. The creation of the bestselling American thriller author James Patterson, Cross is a shrewd and effective detective who gets the job done his way. Much like Trent, he’s a stubborn individual with a sharp mind, whilst he’s also been portrayed on-screen by both Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry.
Smoky Barrett: Written by the American thriller author Cody McFayden, Smoky Barrett lives and works in Los Angeles, solving various cases and crimes. Previously being scarred by a serial-killer, she’s an FBI agent who fights for justice, persevering in her constant search for the truth. Her family was taken from her as well, as she deals with the trauma of her past, attempting to move on, in this compelling series of mystery novels.
Best Podcasts If You Like Will Trent:
Harper Audio Presents – Karin Slaughter: Talking about her craft generally, Karin Slaughter gives some insight into her own life. Easy-going, it’s a fun listen that provides plenty of analysis of her and her work.
Southern Fried True Crime – Karin Slaughter: Getting to the heart of what drives Karin Slaughter as a writer, this takes a direct look at her life and novels. As a straight-forward interview it’s interesting for both fans of her, and of the genre overall.
Writer’s Routine – Karin Slaughter: Laying out her writing routine, Karin Slaughter breaks down her creative process for the listener. It’s highly informative for any aspiring writers in the field.