Interweaving knife-edge tension, superb characterization, and an evocative milieu, this thrilling novel of dark suspense, set in rural Grant County, Georgia, introduces engaging pediatrician and coroner Dr. Sara Linton.
The sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic when Sara Linton, the town’s pediatrician and coroner, finds Sibyl Adams, a young college professor, dead in the local diner. As well as being viciously raped, Sibyl has been cut: two deep knife wounds form a lethal cross over her stomach. But it’s only once Sara starts to perform the postmortem that the full extent of the killer’s brutality starts to become clear.
Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver—Sara’s ex-husband—is in charge of the investigation, and when a second victim is found, crucified, only a few days later, he has to face the fact that Sibyl’s murder wasn’t a single personal attack: They’re dealing with a sadistic rapist turned killer who is terrorizing rural Grant County.
Jeffrey isn’t alone in his search. Lena Adams—the county’s sole female detective—wants to see justice done since her sister was the first victim. Sara, too, cannot escape the terror. A secret from her past could hold the key to finding the killer—unless he finds her first.
In Blindsighted (book one of an anticipated three featuring Grant County, Georgia, pediatrician and coroner Dr. Sara Linton), first-time novelist Karin Slaughter comes out swinging in true medical examiner fashion. That is to say, covered with blood from the get-go.
Without warning, the body jerked violently, pitching forward and slamming Sara onto the floor. Blood spread out around both of them, and Sara instinctively clawed to get out from under the convulsing woman. With her feet and hands she groped for some kind of purchase on the slick bathroom floor. Finally, Sara managed to slide out from underneath her. She turned Sibyl over, cradling her head, trying to help her through the convulsions. Suddenly, the jerking stopped.
Sibyl is, or was, Sibyl Adams, a college professor who had the misfortune of being drugged, savagely raped, slashed, and left for dead in the toilet of the local diner, to be coincidentally discovered by Sara Linton. Coincidences don’t stop there, and neither do the rapes and murders. The next is, unimaginably, still more gruesome than the first and it, too, is discovered by Dr. Linton. Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver is Sara’s ex-husband, and mercurial detective Lena Adams, another major player in the ensuing drama, was Sibyl’s twin sister.
And the monster behind these increasingly more depraved acts? Suspects abound, from the diner’s jack-of-all-trades, Will Harris, to Victim No. 2’s boyfriend, to Jack Allen Wright who, a dozen years prior, raped Dr. Linton (that rape had been a secret until now). There are other possibilities, naturally, and it soon becomes apparent that Sara’s an intended target.
A graduate of the Patricia Cornwell school of mayhem and gore, Slaughter has faithfully stitched together a fast, engaging, and diverting read complete with a strong-yet-vulnerable heroine. Characters are nicely if somewhat obviously drawn, the plot is inventive, and the narrative’s pacing quickens the pulse straight to the cliff-hanging denouement. And really, what more can you ask of an ME thriller? —Michael Hudson