The sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic when Sara Linton, paediatrician and medical examiner, finds a woman dead in the local diner.
She 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 the murder wasn’t a one-off attack. What they’re dealing with is a seasoned sexual predator. A violent serial killer…
30 Chapters | 393 Pages | 3.5 Hour Read
If you didn’t already know, the Will Trent series by Slaughter is now a series on Disney in conjunction with STAR. I watched the first episode, and it reminded me that I got the first 5 books in the Will Trent series along with the first 5 books in the Grant County series three years ago and still haven’t read any!!
I was babysitting my nephew on Saturday, and this seemed like the perfect read. I knew it would be a late night and I was already battling a headache.
It has been quite a while since I’ve read a Slaughter book but reading this reminded me of why she is one of my favourite crime writers. There is a fluidity to her writing and characters that propels the reader forwards.
This book had complex layers between the characters and as a first meeting, I learned far more about the main players than I would ordinarily get. If you have no experience with Slaughter’s writing, then my Trigger Warning to you is that they’re filled with gruesome and violent murders. E.g., not for the faint hearted or easily offended.
The main characters of this book/series are Sara and Jeffery. Sara is a paediatrician and runs the local morgue and Jeffery is the Chief of Police. These two characters were also married but are now divorced. I already knew that Sara would be a complex character because Slaughter wouldn’t have written her any other way, but I was surprised by how much I learned about her character in this book. The majority of the book is from Sara’s point of view, with smatterings of Jeffery’s point of view mixed in.
The character of Sara is fully established from the first page, and it is clear that a lot of time and through went in to creating her character. She is a character that I bonded to from the get-go and as the story progressed, I found myself falling more for the insights and developments to her character.
Jeffery was harder to pin down and much of that is because of Sara’s point of view but I did get the sense that his character was a strong individual and someone who was committed to both keeping the county safe and also getting the job done.
Grant county is presented as a place that is still a little ‘old school’ and ‘backwards’ when it comes to policing, so Jeffery has his work cut out of him curbing some of the seedier actions of his force. I definitely think this is something that will evolve through the series.
There are 2 murders in this book and 1 misper. From the first body, the description is visually detailed and gruesome to read. It paints the picture of a somewhat seasoned murderer, someone who has time and patience. There is a lean towards religion that I found interesting to explore as it wasn’t the ‘run of the mill’ lean that is often present around murder plots relating to religion.
The murders were somewhat personal but as the reader, it took me a fair while to work out how and why – which I really enjoyed.
I want to talk a bit about ‘the obvious murderer’. We all know who this person is, it’s the character who is written to be the killer as a misdirect. When it turns out to be the obvious person, we as the reader feel disappointed and underwhelmed. I prefer my crime murderer to be unexpected, to be twisted and complex. But I also prefer the murderer to be someone the characters have interacted with prior to the reveal. I had 2 solid theories for the culprit in this book and I was pretty adamant about the 2 of them.
I was…completely wrong. Unsurprising from a Slaughter book. However, I was totally surprised by who it turned out to be because in my mind I hadn’t even factored the possibility that it would be them and that, to me, is a mark of great writing. There were a few very subtle red herrings that totally got me twisted around and it made the reveal all the more exciting because it wasn’t something I was expecting.
I felt that the ending completely justified the plot and that it opened the door successfully for the next in the series.
Outside of Sara and Jeffery there are other characters that are featured and likely to be featured in the rest of the series. You have Sara’s parents, Cathy, and Eddie, as well as Sara’s sister Tessa. Then there is Lena, who works with Jeffery on the police force. There is also Frank, an ‘old school’ officer who seems to lead/control the seedier aspects of the force.
The most important of these characters is Lena. She is heavily involved in this plot line and as a character, we get to see her go through a multitude of emotions and situations. By the end of the book I was shocked to see her still standing! I don’t know what the next book or the series will bring for her, but I hope she stays as she is a strong and determined character.
This was also my first completed read for April. I have been otherwise occupied and hadn’t found time to read. That this kept me occupied while I had a killer headache is testament to the power of the plot. This Easter weekend, I have packed the next 2 books in the series to my trip to my parents and hope to read them both.
Sometimes I go through low spells of not reading or not wanting to read and this book was so addicting that it reminded me of the pleasures of reading and how much I enjoy it.
I give this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐