I found this thriller series at my local library some years ago and within hours I was a huge Karin Slaughter fan. Good, in two places I had the feeling that the author dragged the plot out a little. But the “why” was not quite clear to me and neither was it. A point that I found a bit of a shame because I think that the author does not need it because otherwise, she has a captivating and exciting style. Only in case you are wondering why this thriller got the rating it got.

by Karin Slaughter 
Grant County Series #2
Publisher Arrow on June 23, 2011
Genre Thriller
Pages 448
Format Paperback
Source Library

When a teenage quarrel in the small town of Heartsdale explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton – pediatrician and medical examiner – finds herself entangled in a horrific tragedy. And what seems at first to be a terrible but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications when the autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse and ritualistic self-mutilation. Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, but the children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime. And unless Sara and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it´s going to happen again … 
Sara Linton makes a gruesome find on the toilet of the Heartsdale roller skating rink: a dead newborn. First, a pediatrician and pathologist Sara and chief of police, Jeffrey Tolliver assume that thirteen-year-old Jenny, who Jeffrey had to shoot in the parking lot, was the baby´s mother. But the autopsy of the body results in something completely different, and soon Sara and Jeffrey face a drama that puzzles them on the one hand and could not be more terrifying on the other. During the investigation, the two discover a family tragedy and two ice-cold mothers and discover a crime that is more tragic and repulsive for the two.

In her second Grant County volume, Karin Slaughter also uses a language that makes the reader swallow in some places and yet doesn´t look out of place.  On the contrary. This gives the plot an intensity that is often cruel and close to the edge of the disgusting, yet the author remains in a stylish and readable area. Even in those moments when so many tragic situations unfold in front of the reader´s eyes and one would like to put the book out of hand, disgusted by one or the other character, the reader remains captivated. Because the author knows how to describe these passages with feeling and level. The psychological cat and mouse game that Karin Slaughter plays with her characters is brilliant and gripping but also cruel and self-destructive.

The characters are not always immediately clear, and some are a little pale, but they convince and bring depth to this thriller, as is otherwise only the case in very few thrillers or crime novels. A figure is so fragile and silent that I almost missed it at the beginning of its appearance, so quiet and at first it seemed inconspicuous to me. But after a while that changed suddenly, and I got a vague suspicion that turned out to be correct at the end of the story. Despite all the tenderness and gentleness, this figure was so ice-cold, so calculating and manipulating, I was really stunned. But in addition to the characters and the drama around them that gradually reveals themselves as you read, it is above all the two characters Sara and Jeffrey that have changed. While Sara in the first volume of the Grant County series was still trying to finally detach herself from her ex-husband, it can clearly be seen in this book that she doesn´t want that. And yet does not know what exactly she wants, what her life and her feelings are for Jeffrey. But it is precisely this ambiguity of the character Sara Linton that makes her so wonderfully convincing and realistic, and above all, so endearing.

A cruel thriller that deals with one of the worst topics related to children in a fascinating way and that never lets the reader forget how disgusting and terrible this topic is and remains. I am extremely excited to see how the third volume will be.

Happy reading

Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter ©Alison Rosa

Karin Slaughter, born 1971, is from Atlanta, Georgia. In 2003 her debut novel Blindsighted was published and went straight to the top of the international bestselling list and catapulted her onto the Thriller-Olympus. She 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.


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