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With many murder cases, the killer is caught soon after the crime. But other times, the hunt for justice is stalled and cases languish for decades without answers. That's the situation in Karin Slaughter's new fiction read, "Girl, Forgotten," the September 2022 pick for Oxygen Book Club, which uses dual perspectives in the past and the present to uncover who killed Emily Vaughn, a teen who was murdered on her prom night in 1982. A successor of sort to Slaughter's book "Pieces Of Her," in the story a U.S. Marshall named Andrea Oliver, has arrived to a small town to help a federal judge from death threats, but soon becomes fascinated by solving the Emily Vaughn cold case.
Oxygen digital correspondent Stephanie Gomulka spoke with Slaughter about the decision to use multiple timelines, her thoughts on the casting for "Piece Of Her," and more in a wide-ranging interview, which you can watch, above.
"It's two stories and two different timelines: One's 1982 with Emily Vaughn, a young teenager on the way to the prom. Unfortunately, she's in the first chapter of a Karin Slaughter novel, so you know things won't go well for her. And then, the present day narrative is with Andrea Oliver, who is a newly minted U.S. Marshall and she gets put on a case that kind of overlaps with the investigation of Emily's untimely death," Slaughter explained of the book's premise.
As for why she decided to have both Emily's voice and Andrea's in the novel, Slaughter said it was about ensuring Emily felt like a real and vivid character.
"I didn't want Emily to be forgotten. The title talks about 'Girl, Forgotten' and we all know there are horrific crimes that happen to women every single day and we don't really hear their names ... I wanted to talk about that. Emily Vaughn in a real person to her friends, her family, her community, and I felt it was really important to have her throughout the novel so we understand not just who she was, but what we lost," she said.
Slaughter fans will recognize Andrea from "Pieces Of Her." She returned to the character because she wanted to show another stage of Andrea's growth and progression in the book.
"I say it's in the world of 'Pieces of Her' because it's obviously a different story with Andrea being a U.S. Marshall, that gives it a turbo drive. 'Pieces Of Her' was more about Andrea trying to figure out who's this woman she's called mother her entire life who's actually been lying to her, and for Laura, her mother, her part is about trying to push Andrea out of the nest ... start adulting, and then we catch up with both Laura and Andrea in the beginning of 'Girl, Forgotten' and Andrea's done all those things and more, and Laura, in typical mother fashion, is saying, 'Not that apartment, not that life not that career,' so part of Andrea's journey is learning sometimes you have to disappoint your parents to do what she thinks is best for her," she explained.
As for whether "Girl, Forgotten" will be turned into a movie or show like "Pieces Of Her" was, Slaughter is hopeful.
"I'd love to see it but no one's called me up yet," she revealed.
For more on Gomulka's interview with Slaughter, watch the interview above.
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