- Series: Grant County (Book 6)
- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Arrow Books (March 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099481847
- ISBN-13: 978-0099481843
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.4 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 475 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Skin Privilege (Grant County) Paperback – March 1, 2008
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"No one does American small-town evil more chillingly ... Slaughter tells a dark story that grips and doesn't let go" * The Times * "Thoroughly gripping, yet thoroughly gruesome stuff" * Daily Mirror * "It's beautifully paced, appropriately grisly, and terrifyingly plausible" * Time Out *
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Meanwhile, back in Grant County, Dr. Sara Linton is facing her own brand of trouble. She is facing a malpractice suit by the grief-ridden parents of a young boy whose leukemia had killed him despite all Sara’s efforts. She is pulled out of her guilt and self-doubt only when her husband, Grant County Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver, takes her with him on the long drive to Lena’s home town. They are rushing south through hundreds of miles of rural Georgia to rescue the trouble-prone detective.
Thus opens Karin Slaughter’s Beyond Reach. As the story advances, Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey become involved in a high-tension case involving neo-Nazis, the methamphetamine trade, and police corruption. Once again, Slaughter delivers a convincing tale grounded in the sad reality of many rural counties across America. Her command of plotting and character development is accomplished. And few writers can equal her ability to build suspense to a fever pitch—and then continue to surprise at the very end.
Karin Slaughter’s writing in context
How many murders and other atrocities can you cram into one small town and continue to persuade readers to suspend disbelief? Surely, there’s a limit. Louise Penny long ago passed that limit with the murder mysteries she placed in the Quebec village of Three Pines. There are 13 books to date in the Inspector Armand Gamache series of detective novels, which I found hard to swallow after reading three. I found the same problem with Donna Leon‘s detective novels set in the small town of Venice. There are 26 in her Commissario Guido Brunetti series. I gave up after four or five.
This isn’t just a problem for readers. It’s difficult for the writers as well. If you read the latest entries in either of these series and compare them to the earliest novels, you may find that the author’s boredom shows clearly. But that’s not the case with every thriller author. Karin Slaughter is one of the exceptions.
Karin Slaughter has written 23 crime thrillers. In addition to 10 Will Trent novels and six standalone books, there are six that constitute the Grant County series. Dr. Sara Linton and Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver operate in one small Georgia county. (Georgia’s 10 million people are spread among 159 counties, of which Grant must be one of the smallest. That doesn’t leave a lot of latitude for shocking crimes to be committed there.) Beyond Reach is the sixth. At that point, the series clearly had run its course: Slaughter ran out of characters to rape, torture, murder, or expose their secrets. (She has written no additional novels in the series in the past 10 years, so I’m assuming there will be no more.) It’s refreshing to read an author who doesn’t overdo a good thing.
This book starts off with Dr. Sara Linton, the town's pediatrician, and part time coroner, being sued by the family of a young boy who recently died of cancer. If that's not enough, her husband, police chief Jeffery Tolliver, receives a phone call saying that his only female detective Lena Adams, has been arrested in a nearby town, and being held on suspicion of murder.
Once again Lena is dragging Jeffery into another mess. Since the series started, Lena has been trouble. She is an excellent cop, but she's hard headed, stubborn, and on more than one occasion, has deliberately refused to obey orders, because she thinks she knows better. Until recently, she was dating an abusive ex skin head, Ethan. Ethan is now locked up once again, on a parole violation. Thanks to Lena. Who set him up and had Jeffery arrest him.
This story is told from two different timelines. Lena's story starts three days before Jeffery and Sara come to Lena's hometown of Reese, to find out how Lena ended up at the scene of a car that was set on fire with a body inside. She had come home to Reese to check on her Uncle, a former junkie who has been clean for quite awhile, now it seems from all appearances, he has started using once again. What her Uncle Hank tells her during one of his lucid moments, sends Lena on a search for answers about her childhood, but what she finds sends her down a path searching for major drug dealers and corrupt townsfolk.
Jeffery and Sara's point of view starts when they arrive at the hospital where Lena is being held after being arrested. Being a doctor, Sara wants to check Lena and make sure she is well. This is when Lena tricks Sara, and escapes custody. Lena is desperate to get Jeffery out of town and away from the business that Hank is messed up in.
As they search for Lena, there are way too many unanswered questions. Who is the body in the car, and how is it tied to Lena? Where is Hank? Who set his bar on fire? And who is the dead man that was thrown through the window of Jeffery and Sara's motel room? Things really are not what they seem to be in the small town of Reese.
I had a hard time with this book, but not because it was poorly written, just the opposite in fact. Since the beginning of the series, Lena has never been one of my favorite characters. I've really disliked her. I think any author that can drag a reader so far into the characters she writes is doing something right. And boy have I been dragged in. I know I keep referencing the series, but each book can be read as a stand alone novel. You are given plenty of back story to keep up with what is happening in each story. If you love a great story, some mystery, a bit of romance and great characters, try the series.