Medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver make their fourth appearance in this riveting new back-and-forth thriller that grounds a brutal attack by two young men on the Grant County, Georgia police department in a twelve-year-old Alabama murder case that occurred while Sara and Jeffrey were just beginning their tumultuous romance. En route to a beach vacation shortly after they meet, the couple takes a detour to the small town where Jeffrey grew up and began his law enforcement career. But their carefree holiday is interrupted when his best friend from childhood, a fellow cop, is charged with murder after killing a man who broke into his house. Despite his subsequent confession, Jeffrey believes theres more to the story than Robert is telling him, and when the skeleton of a young woman with whom both Robert and Tolliver were once involved is discovered in a secret cave only they knew about, and Robert admits to her murder too, Tolliver must again confront a past he thought he had long since put behind him.
Slaughter unravels a convoluted story deftly and smoothly as the action moves between those long-ago events and the siege of the police station by two young men who are determined to make Jeffrey pay for a crime they believe he committed. Threatening to kill whoever stands between them and their target--including eight children on a school field trip at the station house when the bloody siege begins--they execute a deputy they mistakenly believe is Tolliver. Skillfully blending past and present events and illuminating the equally convoluted relationship between Sara and Jeffrey (who have married and divorced in the intervening years) without interrupting the breathtaking pace of the action or dropping a beat, Slaughter takes this series to a new level of excellence. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Complex characters with credible relationships underpin this gripping prequel to Slaughter's Blindsighted
(2001). Georgia pediatrician/medical examiner Sara Linton is visiting her ex-husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver, when two malevolent strangers, hauntingly familiar to Sara, pull out guns at the station house, where several schoolchildren are on a class trip, and bloody mayhem ensues. The action shifts to the past, when new lovers Sara and Jeffrey detour to his hometown on their way to a beach weekend. A nostalgic tour of Jeffrey's youth turns sinister as buried secrets and injustices slowly come to light. An ugly midnight encounter with Jeffrey's sloshed mother sends Sara outside in time to hear gunshots from the neighboring house of Jeffrey's childhood friend Robert, a cop, who's found bleeding, gun in hand, across the bedroom from his dead victim. Sara is grateful to perform the autopsy, knowing there's more than meets the eye in this puzzling crime scene. The couple's budding romance is put to the test as Sara tries to coax answers from tight-lipped Jeffrey, whose silence and suspicious actions nourish her doubts. Slaughter's tightly disciplined rhythm and occasional sly humor keep readers hooked right up to the end.
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