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Karin Slaughter

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Century

Published : 2003

Copyright : Karin Slaughter 2002

ISBN-10 : HB 0-7126-6268-5
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-7126-6268-0

Publisher's Write-Up

Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember. But when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton - the town's paediatrician and medical examiner - finds herself entangled in a horrific tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a terrible but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self-mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. But when a young girl is abducted, it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. And unless Sara and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it's going to happen again...

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (190203) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
I have to say that this, like Blindsighted, is a book that you should probably not read alone or after dark. It is definitely not a book for the faint hearted, and yet it is positively breathtaking.

Here when we meet Sara and Jeff again, they are tentatively renewing their relationship. Sara is still working both as a paediatrician and the town pathologist, which in this case is unfortunately one and the same. The story opens with their arrangement to meet at the local skating rink. Sara sees some of the children that she has treated and recognises Jenny. Jenny is behaving strangely and when she threatens to shoot another local boy with a gun, Jeff realises that she is serious when she tells him that the only way to stop her is to kill her.

What follows devastates Jeff, faced with no option, in front of the group of people; he does what he has to do to be able to prevent her from killing the young man, Mark. Sara, who has followed Jenny outside, has found a dead baby who she thinks belongs to Jenny and arrived in time to see the final confrontation.

This is the opening to the story, and what they start to find about this young woman’s life is dreadful. The autopsy brings information that blows apart the relationships between some of the families in the town, with findings of systematic child abuse led by adults both male and female. In a twist that goes against the majority of beliefs and suspicions that most people have of paedophiles, it is the women in this case who are the ringleaders.

In investigating the circumstances that have lead to the death of Jenny, Sara is distressed that she may have missed some vital clue that could have shown what the young woman has been through, while Jeff is struggling to come to terms with his decision, and whether he could have saved both her life and the life of the young man, Mark.

Mark becomes the focus of their investigation, and there seems to be a connection between him and Lena, the policewoman struggling to rebuild her life after her abduction and mistreatment at the hands of the madman in Blindsighted. Lena is now back at work, albeit not as a detective but the shell of her life is very fragile, her relationship with her uncle tenuous and yet being one of the few things that is keeping her going. Her story is one of the developing strands of narrative throughout the book. She remains a very damaged lady but by the end of the story we can see more of a future for her, having learned how her confinement has affected her psychologically.

I bought this book in Waterstone’s on Friday but did not pick it up until Saturday evening, when I sat and (very rudely) read it from start to finish, until I could no longer focus my eyes and my rear was completely numb. It delivers on much of the promise of Blindsighted, and I would say, illustrates just what a powerhouse of the genre Slaughter is going to be in the future.

In Kisscut she has handled this dreadful subject without the histrionics, which are an inherent danger for any author considering a story in which child abuse could be a theme. She has fashioned her story with deftness and intelligence, developing her characters within the complex framework of a gruesome set of crimes and yet as well as the gory details, you know them all better than you did at the end of the last book.

It is tantalising that at the end of Kisscut there is the first chapter from her next book, and it is a testament to how knackered I was that I did not read it when I finished the book. It will be a long wait for her next story, but can only serve for many more people to stumble over her talent.

I noticed that the front of the hardback bears a sticker saying that the publishers are offering a money back guarantee to anyone who does not enjoy this book; I do not think that they will have many takers.
Chrissi (19th February 2003)

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