Expert’s view

Karin Slaughter: my six best books

The bestselling author chooses her favourite books on plagues and lawyers (‘not the same thing’)

Karin Slaughter’s 2018 thriller, Pieces of Her, is being adapted by Netflix, and her latest novel, False Witness (HarperCollins £20), is out now.

1

Katherine Anne Porter (1939)

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

The title story in this collection was my introduction to the visceral horror of the 1918 flu pandemic. The memory lingered so much that I felt compelled to incorporate Covid into my current novel. Fiction captures history in a way that textbooks cannot.

2

David M. Oshinsky (2006)

Polio: An American Story

Polio: An American Story

Until recently, the distribution of the polio vaccine was the largest public health project in American history. This book delves into the rush to create the vaccine, and the politics surrounding it, and calls out Isabel Morgan, considered the most skilled polio researcher, who had to retire to raise her family

3

Alafair Burke (2018)

The Wife

The Wife

This sly legal procedural is told from the point of view of the suspect’s wife. An excellent read in any setting, but particularly gripping with a margarita on the beach.

4

Steph Cha

Your House Will Pay

Your House Will Pay

Past is prologue in this riveting and at times shocking tale of racial unrest in LA. You wouldn’t think that the city that gave us Rodney King, O.J. Simpson and the Banditos would have any more stories to tell, but Cha manages to frame the narrative through the lens of two families grappling with the fallout fromahorrific decision that turns the city up to its boiling point.

5

Emily St. John Mandel (2014)

Station Eleven

Station Eleven

Another flu pandemic, this one set in a dystopian future. While the author didn’t capture the rush on toilet paper, she certainly predicted our reliance on the arts to get us through these horrible times.

6

Lee Child (2015)

Make Me

Make Me

This young man studied law but went into television, then gave up TV to write novels. I really think he’s onto something with these Reacher books.

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