Book Review



  • Author: Karin Slaughter
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller
  • Publication Date: February 10, 2015
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • Series: Grant County #1

CONTENT WARNING: blood, gore, murder, rape, addiction, racism, torture, use of homophobic and racial slurs, violence, gun violence, suicide, kidnapping, abortion

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic when Sara Linton, pediatrician and medical examiner, finds Sibyl Adams dead in the local diner. As well as being viciously raped, Sibyl has been cut: two deep knife wounds form a lethal cross over her stomach. But it’s only once Sara starts to perform the post-mortem that the full extent of the killer’s brutality becomes clear. Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver – Sara’s ex-husband – is in charge of the investigation, and when a second victim is found, crucified, only a few days later, both Jeffrey and Sara have to face the fact that Sibyl’s murder wasn’t a one-off attack. What they’re dealing with is a seasoned sexual predator. A violent serial killer. 

I’ver read all of the Will Trent books available so far, so I figured I’d go back and start the Grant County series, featuring Sara, one of my favorite characters. I had a good idea of what I’m in for, since I’m familiar with Slaughter’s gritty, no-holds-barred writing style, her intriguing characters, and the fast-paced, action-packed, plots that are full of so many twists and turns I generally can’t figure out who the bad guy is until it’s spelled out for me. Slaughter also has a special talent for changing my perspective on certain characters — I hate them in some books, then get to know them in others and view them completely differently. This book was no exception, and I loved every minute of it.

Having already encountered Sara in the other series, that take place in the future, I was psyched to get a first-hand peek at her past. Let me tell you — I got more than I expected. The story starts with plenty of gory action, immediately. If you have a weak stomach, or are sensitive to any of the content warnings above, this isn’t the book for you. Slaughter doesn’t just touch on the topics mentioned above — she has a tendency to delve into them in gruesome detail. 

Sara is just having lunch when she stumbles upon the violent aftermath of a murder in a diner bathroom. As the medical examiner, she’s sucked into working on the case with her ex-husband, the police chief. Naturally, this brings up some other issues, since they’re only recently divorced. She’s trying to adjust to the dating scene, fending off her persistent ex-husband’s advances in winning her back, navigating life in a tiny town where everyone is in everyone else’s business, and this case brings up some trauma from a previous crime that occurred. 

As mentioned, the action starts early, and continues on throughout the story. The narrator did a great job, bringing the Southern accents to life perfectly. My only complaint was that she would pronounce the ‘h’ in words with a ‘wh,’ such as ‘white,’ which consistently made me think of the Wheat Thins episode of Family Guy and chuckle. Which just felt wrong when listening to this story. Other than that, I’m definitely planning to listen to the rest of this series.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 8

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