Book Review

A Faint Cold Fear

A Faint Cold Fear

  • Author: Karin Slaughter
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller
  • Publication Date: February 10, 2015
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Series: Grant County #3

CONTENT WARNING: racist slur, death, gore, suicide, antisemitic imagery, drug use, violence, domestic violence, rape, blood, murder

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An apparent student suicide has brought medical examiner Sara Linton to the local college campus, along with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. But a horribly mutilated corpse yields up few answers. And a suspicious rash of subsequent “suicides” suggests that a different kind of terror is stalking the youth of Heartsdale, Georgia—a nightmare that is coming to prey on Sara Linton’s loved ones.

A small town is being transformed into a killing ground. And the key to a sadistic murderer’s motive and identity may be held in the unsteady hands of a campus security guard—a former police detective driven from the force by the hellish memories that will never leave her. Lena Adams survived the unthinkable and has paid a devastating price. Now the survival of future victims may depend upon her … when she can barely protect herself. 

It’s become a no-brainer to just access the next audiobook in this series immediately after finishing one; I don’t even look at the summary anymore. Kathleen Early has narrated all the books so far, and she does a great job (aside from pronouncing the “h” in words with a “wh”), but I’m assuming that is just part of the southern accent? Correct me if I’m wrong here. 

After the breakneck and horrifying events of Kisscut, the pace of this book initially seemed kind of slow, but trust me when I say that things pick up in the later parts of the book. Karin Slaughter has a flair for writing in a way that always holds my attention no matter what.

In this book, Sara and Jeffrey are tracking a string of apparent suicides that are more than they appear. And the biggest clue is that someone close to Sara has been brutally attacked at a crime scene. As they struggle to find clues to who could be behind these crimes, we’re presented with a variety of unsavory characters who seem like they could be likely suspects. Naturally, everyone is questionable.

This book picks up shortly after Kisscut, leaving us with Lena dealing with the trauma of what happened to her in Blindsighted, and basically on a road to self-destruction. She’s no longer a detective, but is working as a security guard on the campus where two apparent suicides have occurred. Although she’s barely holding it together, she is an important part of the case whether she wants to be or not. And of course, she doesn’t want to be involved. She just wants to escape her trauma, but she’s going about it in all the wrong ways. It’s actually painful to see her melt down so brutally. While I read these in the wrong order, but starting with the Will Trent series, I’ve only known Lena as a tough, strong, and basically invincible character. So seeing her struggle so hard and actively work towards self-destruction is difficult. In addition, Lena’s journey is juxtaposed with Sara’s history of coping with her own trauma, and it’s hard not to notice the difference in their supports — Sara has a hugely supportive family and network of people surrounding her, while Lena has very little support, and she’s incredibly reluctant to accept the tiny bit that she does have. 

The pace is a little slow at first, but it definitely picks up towards the later half of the book. It’s obviously gory, because would it really be a Karin Slaughter book if it wasn’t? Alongside the central plot of the book is the budding relationship (re-relationship?) between Sara and Jeffrey, and the changing relationship between Sara and her family members. It kept me hooked the whole time, as did the twists and turns in the case they’re tracking. I’m hopelessly addicted to Karin Slaughter books, and this series is no different. It didn’t take long for me to access the fourth book after finishing this one.

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: 7

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