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Kisscut: A Grant County Thriller (Grant County Thrillers) Mass Market Paperback – May 26, 2015
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“Engrossing…[with] meticulous characterizations.” (People)
“Few young writers show more promise than the thirty-year-old Slaughter. She writes…with skill, anger, sensitivity, and compassion.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“A fast–paced thriller for those not faint of heart.” (Library Journal)
About the Author
Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.
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The subject of the novel is difficult to deal with. We know there's some abuse of a child or children but we really don't get what's going on or how pervasive and destructive it is until well into the book. The author pulls us along with her characters, especially Lena, but also Sara and Jeffrey's relationship, and Tessa contributes to the drama, and we get to Hank a lot better.
Everyone has something to deal with: Jeffrey questions his judgment; Sara blames herself for missing something; Lena careens toward a self-destruction she can see but can't seem to stop; Hank tries to deal with Lena in the only way he knows how; and Tessa has to deal with something very present and life changing. Somehow, it all ties together to make a great story.
What strikes me about Karin Slaughter's novels so far (I've read 2 of the Grant County and the first 2 Will Trent before circling back) is what I missed back in the late eighties and early nineties when I was last into crime fiction: Her focus is on the victim(s) and the damage left with the survivors, rather than following the killer or criminal around and having to live in his head. I'm sure she may get to that in future works, but I hope she never leaves the victims behind.
This novel also seemed timely, though it's about ten years old now, in the awareness of child trafficking and exploitation. Something we all need to be on the look out for.
In the end some people get theirs but it is not a completely satisfying ending and even now I'm not sure what I think about that. Even so, this was a very good read and I highly recommend it.
A solid four star.
The book tackles an unpleasant subject well and avoids the overly sentimental errors many thrillers tackling difficult subjects make. The ending, while justice is served, is not entirely happy.
Having read the first book in the series, the identity of the bad guy (or one of them) was easy enough to figure out using the author's writing style in the first one. The addition of a slew of bad guys at the end served to make the one-too-many trips to the well in bringing the villain into the story less of a weakness.
There were a few technical issues. For example, the author does not know guns. “She pulled out her service revolver and chambered a round. The clicking sound from the bolt action was solid in her ears, and for some reason Lena found herself looking at the gun in a different light.” The author has just described three very different types of gun mechanisms while referring to only one gun. To make it worse, the character later “ejected the clip and kicked out the chambered round” - from her "revolver." Not to mention that most police departments, even small town ones, had moved away from “service revolvers” by the ‘80s, yet she continues to call the weapons used by the police in the book "service revolvers."
The well-drawn characters and engaging plot serve to make the technical issues minor nits to pick. It's an easily readable book and the characters are not caricatures. They've got depth and strike the reader as real.
The book starts innocently enough at the skating rink and quickly escalates into a deadly confrontation between two teens. As the story unfolds it uncovers a ring of child predators with one single woman always one step ahead of the police. Each chapter brings a different level to the discovery of what has been happening right under the nose of Sara Linton, the counties pediatrician and part-time coroner, not to mention the ex-wife of the chief of police. The story also includes their tumultuous relationship and his efforts to win her back.