From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Slaughter departs from her Grant County crime series (Faithless
, etc.) with a stand-alone thriller notable mainly for a jolting mid-book twist similar to one Ira Levin used with more subtlety in A Kiss Before Dying
. The case of a prostitute's brutal murder provides a welcome break for Michael Ormewood, a cynical, world-weary Atlanta cop weighed down by dealing with the city's underclass and the heartbreak of a mentally impaired son. Since the victim's tongue was severed, linking the crime to several other recent outrages, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation intervenes. Suspicions focus on a recently paroled sex offender, John Shelley, who viciously butchered a neighbor more than a decade earlier. Slaughter unexpectedly switches the narrative's perspective, but the shock value garnered by the plot twist isn't matched by the predictable denouement. (Aug.)
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In her first stand-alone thriller since she began writing her best-selling Grant County series (the latest is Faithless,
2005), Slaughter continues to obsess over her favorite theme--the close link between intimacy and violence. In this intricately plotted page-turner of a novel, there's a serial killer at work in Atlanta, and he likes his victims young. His telltale m.o.--biting off his victims' tongues--brings in Will Trent, an agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, but the latest vicious murder doesn't fit with the previous cases. For one thing, the victim is a drug-addicted black prostitute in her thirties. Will is assigned to work the case with local detective Michael Ormewood, a hard-to-read veteran who resents Will's presence. Will also calls upon vice-squad undercover agent Angie Polaski, a lifelong friend he first met in an orphanage where they were both placed after suffering severe abuse--their on-again, off-again romantic relationship is a source of comfort and frustration for both of them. Suspicious of authority and severely dyslexic, Will slowly pieces together an investigation that leads to feckless ex-con John Shelley, a man so stunted by his prison stint that he can barely function yet comes roaring back to life when he senses that his newfound freedom is about to be snatched away. Slaughter is keenly interested in the root causes of sexual perversity, and she writes about them so affectingly that her fascinations also become the readers'. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved