Series: Grant County #3
Published by HarperCollins on September 16, 2003
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Length: 13 hours, 18 minutes
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Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, GA, is called out to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body provides little in the way of clues -- and the college authorities are eager to avoid a scandal -- but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don't add up.
Two more suspicious suicides follow, and a young woman is brutally attacked. For Sara, the violence strikes far too close to home. And as Jeffrey pursues the sadistic killer, he discovers that ex-police detective Lena Adams, now a security guard on campus, may be in possession of crucial information. But, bruised and angered by her expulsion from the force, Lena seems to be barely capable of protecting herself, let alone saving the next victim.
This is the third book in the Grant County series, following Blindsighted and Kisscut. I absolutely loved the previous two books. I loved the way they were intense and gritty and almost hard-to-stomach. This one was different. It was a little bit less of everything, and it broke my heart a little bit.
The crimes in this case are terrible: students found dead at the local college campus. Are they murders or are they suicides? This is where Jeffrey and Sara (and even Lena) shine with their investigative skills. Things get a little bit complicated when Sara’s very pregnant sister Tessa becomes one of the victims. She is stabbed and very nearly dies while visiting the scene of the first crime, and GAH. I just didn’t really love the direction Tessa’s storyline and how it played on her relationship with Sara. Sara’s parents go through this huge thing with being angry at Sara over this, and also with Jeffrey, and Sara has her own issues with Tessa, and I just didn’t love the direction of this storyline.
SIGH. As if Sara needs any more complicated relationships in her life, right?
There’s a whole big plotline with Lena, too, now that she has left police work to become a security guard at the college. Yes, I’m talking about the very same college where students keep turning up dead. Lena’s life is on a downward spiral out of control since the heinous events of the first book, and it is awful to watch. I COMPLETELY GET that she would have some awful after-effects from the big bad thing that happened to her (no spoilers for the people that may not have read the previous books yet), but Lena’s parts are just painful to read in this book. She’s a giant ball of bad decisions. I desperately want for her to do what is best for herself and everyone else: stop working for a little while and get herself some help. (I say this, not having any clue what is coming up in the rest of the series, so I’m not sure if I’m going to get burned with Lena or not. She’s such a wild card.)
I feel like the thing that I loved most about this series was missing in this book, like a giant, gaping black hole. In the previous books, I have loved the way Sara, Jeffrey, and even Lena let their personal lives spill over into their work. I have loved the intersection of all of their lives. But in this book, it seems like everyone is a little bit out of control or maybe a little bit confused about what they want from life and each other. It also seems like everyone is a little bit tired of one another, and everyone is fidgety – kind of like when you’re on a road trip with your family in the back seat of a packed car and you’re tired of your arms and legs rubbing together, and you need to get out and stretch your legs and be by yourself for awhile. If this story were real life, I’d send them all away from one another for awhile to cool off. The characterization just seems off. Even the Southern-ness feels a little different in this one, and I miss it desperately.
I NEED THINGS TO GET BACK TO THE WAY THEY WERE. I just love this series so much, and I miss the way things felt in the first two books. I have the next book and audiobook on hand and ready to go, and I’m moving ahead with the series, but I’m cautious and now I’m also a little bit afraid.
Check out my other reviews in the Grant County Series:
I borrowed the A Faint Cold Fear audiobook from my local library because I’ve become quite the fangirl for Kathleen Early’s narration with this series. I love the way she reads Sara’s part, especially, but she does a great job with all of the characters.