Will Trent is the fictional main protagonist in author Karin Slaughter's Georgia Bureau of Investigation Atlanta series. Other major characters are Angie Polaski and Faith Mitchell. Current books in the series have the US titles of Triptych, Fractured, and Undone. Slaughter also writes the Grant County series. She has over 17 million books in print and is published in 30 languages. Some of her book titles differ in the US and other countries.
Will was found in a trashcan when he was a baby, and taken to the Atlanta Children's Home where he grew up. Despite the name, it was little more than a state orphanage. The woman who ran it and her assistants did the best they could, though they were understaffed and underpaid. The children were fed and clothed, the place was kept clean, some stability was provided. The state tried to place the children with foster families, which sometimes led to adoption into a loving environment, but more often than not that wasn't the case. Will never gave up, carefully grooming himself every visiting day, so that someone would want to adopt him. Will became one of The Doors, the nickname given to the children who always came back, as if the system was just a big revolving door. When he reached the legal adult age of eighteen, he left the home.
When Will was eight he met eleven-year-old Angie Polaski, recently arrived at the home. First they became allies and friends, eventually sexual partners, then developed a relationship. Though they admit they love each other, they are not in love. Will is comfortable with the familiarity and not interested in other women; Angie isn't and is interested in other men. She's left Will over a dozen times, but always comes back. He finally gave her an ultimatum and she agreed to marry him. However, they did not get married.
After leaving the home, Will began working for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). He worked in the Major Case Squad, where he had a reputation for being a good agent who didn't get along well with others. He was drafted into the Special Criminal Apprehension Team, a new unit headed by Amanda Wagner.
Will has solved 89% of his cases, a phenomenal clearance rate. He is an excellent puzzle solver, one of the best agents in the bureau. However, he is dyslexic. Will looks at his dyslexia as a personal failure and has never sought help for it. He uses all kinds of tricks to hide it: wearing a wristwatch to tell his left from right, using color-coded folders to identify his cases, using a digital recorder and voice recognition software to generate his reports, pretending that he forgot his glasses when someone hands him something to read. He shops for groceries based on familiar-looking labels or pictures on the packaging, and avoids new restaurants because he doesn't have the menu memorized. He has trouble with the signs when driving in unfamiliar areas, and he can not read roadmaps. He hates changing technology—a new cell phone or stereo or television costs him hours laboriously reading the directions or programming the functions. Despite his problem, he can take apart, repair, and reassemble almost anything with moving parts. He restored two automobiles, he can fix a piano or a washing machine or a lawnmower.
Will Trent is 6'3" tall and broad-shouldered, lanky and strong, with short dirty-blonde hair. He has huge hands. He has a scar on his upper lip where it was split so badly it couldn't be sewn back together properly, another running from his ear down into his collar, and still another on the back of his head from a shovel attack. He has scars from a whip, electrical burns, cigarette burns, and an open fracture. He also has a self-inflicted scar on one forearm from a suicide attempt. In spite of all the scars, some women find him good-looking, but he only has eyes for Angie. And in spite of the dyslexia, Will finished high school and got a college degree. Though he worked ten times harder than the other students he barely passed. He went further and obtained dubious upper-level degrees through correspondence schools. Will is controlled and not likely to be impulsive or spontaneous. Loud noises make him flinch. He's a snappy dresser with a penchant for three-piece suits. He is eminently fair and reasonable, has poor social skills, and is kind to animals.
Angie Polaski was eleven when she joined the Atlanta Children's Home. Since by that time she'd been abused by an endless string of her drug addict mother's boyfriends and found her mother overdosed in the bathroom just prior to entering a vegetative coma. She suffered more still at the hands of various foster parents and always ended up back at the home. The home itself became the source of some of her happiest childhood memories due to the devotion of Ms. Flannery, who ran the place and, though not particularly nurturing, conscientiously cared for her charges as best she could with what she had. After leaving the home Angie joined the Atlanta Police Department, and her long, strange relationship with Will Trent continued. One time Angie tried to count the number of men she had left Will for and came up with eleven. All of a type, as Will was happy to point out, that were bad for her. And every time she ended up back on Will's doorstep, and he took her back.
When Angie was with the APD she worked vice, dressing as a prostitute to lure and arrest men. She developed a kinship with the working girls, as she shared a similar background of abuse with many of them. There but for the grace of God and all that. Angie never knew who her father was, and perhaps the most painful aspect of her childhood was the treachery of her mother, Deidre Polaski, tossing her maternal duties for drugs.
Angie left the police department due to medical disability brought on by an attack in the line of duty which would have restricted her to a desk job had she stayed. At the end of Fractured, she has moved in with Will and they are engaged.
Faith Mitchell is named after her grandmother. She is tall and blonde and pretty. She is a homicide detective with the Atlanta Police Department. Faith's mother, Evelyn, was one of the city's highest-ranking police commanders when Faith got her gold shield five years ago at the ripe young age of twenty-eight, which brought on rumors of nepotism. But Faith's competency soon quelled them and she was accepted into the squad. However, Faith's mother is no longer a police captain; six of her detectives were caught skimming money off of narcotics busts and she refused to testify against them. They were fired and she was forced to retire. The man who led the investigation was Will Trent.
When Faith was fourteen, she met a boy, and became pregnant. Upon learning the news, he disappeared. She waited until she was in her third trimester to tell her parents, and they ultimately left the decision up to her. Her son Jeremy was born and she didn't give him up for adoption. She eventually got used to the stares and the comments, but it was many years later that she found out that her father, a very devout man, was forced to leave his church.
Though early, Faith's motherhood was relatively normal. She loved her son dearly, anxiously passing many hours worrying about where he was, about drinking and drugs and accidents, that he might repeat her own mistakes.
Faith has a brother Zeke who is a surgeon in the Air Force, serving overseas in Brandenburg, Germany. Her father, Bill, died of pancreatic cancer. His death left a huge hole in Faith's life. It was not long after his death that she was promoted to homicide, becoming one of only three women in the division.
After seeing the toll the internal investigation took on her mother, transforming her into an old woman before Faith's eyes, Faith came to hate Will Trent. In Fractured, she meets him, and ends up having to work with him. Over time, she grew to like Will, and at the end of Fractured, She accepted Amanda Wagner's offer to join the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as Will's partner.
Amanda Wagner -- Amanda is Will Trent's tough as nails supervisor.
Caroline -- Caroline is Amanda's secretary.
Leo Donnelly -- Another homicide detective, Leo may or may not be the victim of a bad rap. Throughout Triptych he's castigated by the other cops for his bad manners, his bad breath, his bad hygiene, but he's the one with the contacts and he's the one with the instincts to first smell the hinky smell. In Fractured, as Faith's partner, he screws up and schedules emergency surgery so he can go on medical leave rather than face Amanda's wrath. Leo's been divorced four times.
Pete Hanson -- Pete is a verbose, eccentric and able coroner. He's been divorced three times. He likes to gamble and wears a big gold medallion and shorts or scruffy jeans under his starched white lab coat. He admires Will Trent's intellect and skill as an investigator.
Charlie Reed -- Charlie is a crime scene technician with the Criminal Apprehension Team, another of Amanda's recruits who's been around almost as long as Will. Charlie's meticulous and a good investigator who always goes the extra mile, and Will requests him on all his cases. Charlie is not above bending the rules if it will save lives.
Victor Martinez -- The Dean of Student Relations at Georgia Tech. He and Faith spark the second time they meet.
Hamish Patel -- Hamish is a hostage negotiator for the GBI, trained by Amanda.
Ivan Sambor -- A Polish cop.
Books in the series
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Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is on the trail of a serial rapist with a gruesome inclination when he comes into contact with Michael Ormewood, an Atlanta homicide detective with a past, who caught the squeal on a case Will is interested in. Will and Michael work to solve the case, mingling with the pimps and hookers of Atlanta's housing projects in the search for clues. Will continues his struggle to keep anyone from finding out about his dyslexia, a definite career ender.
Six months ago, Atlanta homicide detective Faith Mitchell's police captain mother was the focus of an investigation that resulted in her retirement and the firing of six narcotics officers. It was a righteous bust but the cops want to protect their own, and Faith, along with the entire Atlanta police force, simmers with rage at the man responsible, GBI agent Will Trent. Now Faith and Will are thrown together on a shocking murder/kidnapping case involving some of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the city, and neither one of them is happy about the pairing. But Faith gradually discovers that not only is Will not the verminous heel she expected him to be, he is a sleuth par excellence, and Will must deal with a bully from his past who is now a victim and whose irrational hostility threatens the investigation. As the case begins to center on dyslexia, Will waits nervously to see if anyone will notice his own, and he and Faith race frantically from the dormitories of Georgia Tech to the halls of one of Atlanta's exclusive private academies to keep another corpse from surfacing.
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Agent Faith Mitchell is late leaving a training workshop with the GBI. She was supposed to pick up her baby at noon, but there's no answer at her mother's house. Retired Atlanta Police Captain Evelyn Mitchell never leaves the house without letting someone know-especially when she's babysitting her daughter's child. Faith's worries turn to serious concern as her mother fails to answer numerous phone calls. She arrives at Evelyn's house to find a bloody handprint on the front door, a gory and chaotic crime scene, and her mother kidnapped. Finding Evelyn becomes the number one task of Amanda Wagner, a deputy director for the GBI as well as Evelyn's closes friend. She brings Faith's partner Agent Will Trent onto the case to help her run a shadow investigation. Suspicions point to the members of Evelyn's former narcotics team, all of whom were convicted of corruption after skimming money off the top of drug raid; however, a lead from a nosy neighbor regarding a gentleman friend who visited Evelyn several times a week provides an alternate avenue of theories for the case. During all of this turmoil, Dr. Sara Linton and Will Trent's relationship appears to be growing as Sara is drawn further into the case. While Faith struggles to cope with the unimaginable situation, Amanda and Will chase leads and suspects throughout the criminal underbelly of the state of Georgia, hoping to find Evelyn Mitchell and apprehend her kidnappers before it's too late.
Will Trent, a dedicated agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for fifteen years, knows that there’s definitely such a thing as a cop’s intuition. Which is why he should have listened to his own.
While in an airport restroom at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, Will overhears a girl’s pleading, plaintive voice: “Please, I wanna go home.” Something isn’t right here, thinks Will. He feels it in his gut. But he waits too long to act, and now the girl and the anxious, angry man she’s with have disappeared into the crowds at the busiest passenger airport in the world.
After a desperate search and with time running out, Will makes a call to his supervisor, Amanda Wagner. Will’s partner, Faith Mitchell, immediately sends out an abducted child alert. The entire airport will soon be grinding to a halt: Eighty-nine million passengers a year. Five runways. Seven concourses. Six million square feet of space that sprawled across two counties, three cities, and five jurisdictions. All shut down on a dime because Will has a hunch that he is certain is true: a girl, maybe six or seven years old, has been snatched from God knows where. And he intends to bring her back—no matter what it takes.
Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda’s motivation until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before, when his father was imprisoned for murder, this was Will’s home. It appears that the case that launched Amanda’s career forty years ago has suddenly come back to life—and it involves the long-held mystery of Will’s birth and parentage. Now these two dauntless investigators will each need to face down demons from the past if they are to prevent an even greater terror from being unleashed.
Detective Will Trent is standing in a Georgia convenience store, waiting on an obstinate Icee frozen drink machine. To the surveillance cameras and bored staff of the Lil’ Dixie Gas-n-Go, however, Will appears to be someone very different—the menacing ex-con Bill Black. Going undercover as Bill, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent is about to infiltrate the most corrupt town in the most corrupt county in the new American South. But first: his Icee.
Everything changes in one horrific instant, as all hell breaks loose at the Lil’ Dixie. A cop is shot. A bag of cash goes flying across the floor. A young woman disappears while a killer takes off in a battered pick-up truck. Within seconds, Will is in pursuit.
Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.
Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.
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- Karin Slaughter received an American Association of People with Disabilities Justice for All award for writing about Will Trent and his dyslexia. AAPD website
- GoodReads page on Triptych
- BookReporter article where Karin Slaughter talks about Will Trent
- Complete list of Karin Slaughter's book from her Official Website