Karin Slaughter, A Faint Cold Fear

£68.00 £60.00

The author of the Grant County, forensics mystery series Karin Slaughter quickly established her reputation as one of the strongest crime writers in the area of visceral description of violent murder and police detection. This partly due to her interest in what provokes the violence, and her talent for making each story develop a group of central protagonists whose skills as well as personal demons are brought out. She has since this novel was published brought out other, but related series. Val McDermid was the obvious choice for our the appreciation.

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Karin Slaughter is an interesting modern crime novelist. She placed herself in the slip-stream of the niche that comprised fans of strong female private eye characters (Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Malone) or pathologist heroines (Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta); and added the perhaps starker more chilling material that overlapped with the horror genre, found say in the work of Thomas Harris, David Lindsey and others. Her work quickly received attention,for she had a quality that and gave rise to an ever expanding number of readers. Additionally, we should note that the best, most valued writers tend to raise awkward questions about why horrible events happened. This is what Karin Slaughter attempts to do, and this is why she is on the top shelf of modern crime writers.

Karin Slaughter’s began her Grant County novels with Blindsighted (2001). It introduced police chief Jeffrey Tolliver and medical examiner Sara Linton. They work as a duo, and they are particularly well drawn. Each story develops these characters whose skills as well as personal demons are brought out. After five Grant County novels she introduced a new series with special agent Will Trent.

Plotline: 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.

A Faint Cold Fear (2003) was issued in an edition of 80 numbered and signed copies, and a small number for presentation purposes. It contains a wonderfully perceptive appreciation by Val McDermid. See also the anthology edited by Karin Slaughter, Like A Charm which contains stories by other kindred spirits such as Mark Billingham, Lee Child, Laura Lippman and Lydna La Plante. Karin is an author to follow. See blog on women and crime fiction.

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews for Karin Slaughter, A Faint Cold Fear

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rating by Beverley on Goodreads on June 17, 2012 :

    Beverley on Goodreads
    Grant County Georgia medical examiner and pediatrician Sara Linton is called to a crime scene while with her pregnant sister Tessa. Tessa wanders off to relieve herself while Sara joins her ex-husband police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. It appears that the victim is a male college student Andy Rosen and that it was an apparent suicide. Both Sara and Jeffrey think there is more to his death. When Tessa does not return Sara and Jeff search for her. Sara finds her just in time and they whisk her off to the hospital in Atlanta. Is the attack on Tessa connected to Rosen’s death? Is the apparent suicide of the girl who found Rosen’s body connected also? Lena Adams former cop who was kidnapped and raped a year ago is now working as a security guard on the campus. She is still suffering the after effects of her ordeal. She seems to be lost. She becomes involved with someone with a violent past. Why? Are all these things related? Surprise ending.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rating by Kirkus Reviews on June 17, 2012 :

    Kirkus Reviews
    Lena Adams, the cop-turned-security-guard whose twin sister was murdered in the opening scene of Slaughter’s striking debut (Blindsighted, 2001), takes center stage in this third volume.
    Readers familiar with the gruesome doings in Grant County, Georgia, may be lulled into a false sense of security when the opening calls pediatrician/medical examiner Sara Linton (Kisscut, 2002) to the scene of nothing worse than the apparent suicide of Andy Rosen, a Grant Tech student who took a header from a bridge. But Sara’s cool examination of the corpse is only the prelude to the real horror that comes when Tessa, the very pregnant sister she’s brought along for the ride, steps into the woods and is savagely attacked by a knife-wielding assailant. As Sara alternates between hovering over Tessa’s hospital bed and listening to her conscientious parents tell her it wasn’t her fault, the investigation explodes in a sequel violent enough to make Lena check out the sex-and-drugs Grant Tech scene on her own, bringing her face to face once more with the nightmare of her abduction and rape – and enough to make Sara think twice about that suicide verdict.
    Though the plot tails off in complications that make this the least coherent and satisfying in the series so far, Slaughter keeps baring her living characters’ psychic wounds in scene after scene with a remarkable intensity the reigning postmortem specialists, Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, can’t match.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rating by E-notes on June 17, 2012 :
    Karin Slaughter is a relatively new voice on the hard-boiled female detective scene dominated by Patricia Cornwall and Kathy Reichs. Sarah Linton is the medical examiner in Heartsdale, Georgia, and A Faint Cold Fear is the third book in the Grant County series.
    Like most others of the genre this novel has a high body count and lots of blood, but it also has some delicate character sketches and complicated motivation. A Faint Cold Fear begins with the apparent suicide of a troubled student at the local university, and the university administrators are more interested in avoiding adverse publicity than in investigating the issue. Sarah and her ex-husband Jeffrey Tolliver, police chief, want to look into the circumstances surrounding the death, but they are hampered by not only the university officials but by conflicting authorities and jurisdictions.
    The complexity grows when Sarah’s pregnant sister insists on coming along for the ride on an investigation trip, and is brutally beaten. The element of guilt makes the situation even more problematic for Sarah, who feels responsible for her sister’s situation. Other deaths follow, and the conflicts over who is in charge hamper the investigation.
    The investigator is not the only one whose character is presented in depth – Lena Adams, a former cop from an earlier book, is a major figure in this novel, and her motivations are explored realistically as she too tries to discover truths despite the fact that she has lost her position as a police officer and is now trying to operate as a security guard. A rape victim, Lena has a personal stake in the exposure and punishment of violent crime.
    This book offers a genuine surprise at the ending which does not violate the rules of the game and which does provide intellectual satisfaction. Readers of this genre will eagerly await the fourth Grant County murder mystery.

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