Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
A small town.
A brutal murder.
A violent killer…
This week we are going back to look at an older crime/thriller novel. I will admit, I am about 15 years late with this one!
For years my partner has tried to get me to read Karin Slaughter's Grant County series. For some unbeknownst reason I have been reluctant to try reading any of the books. I'm not sure if it is because of some of the comparisons to other authors I have mixed opinions about, a belief that they were going to be just another forensics knowledge exhibition or perhaps just simply bad timing every other time my partner had suggested I try them but for whatever reason I had not read any of this series. Having thoroughly enjoyed 'Blindsighted', the first book of the Grant County series, I now regret not trying them a lot sooner.
Blindsighted introduces us to Sara Linton, a paediatrician and medical examiner who lives in the small town of Heartsdale, Georgia. The story hits the ground running when Sara finds Sibyl Adams brutally raped and murdered in the toilets of the local diner. Sara's ex husband, the local police chief, Jeffrey Tolliver, is called and an investigation begins. It soon becomes apparent that this is unlikely to be a one off attack and the race is on to find whoever is responsible before they attack again.
I really enjoyed this one. I'm often wary of books with medical examiners or police officers as the main characters. So often authors get bogged down with wanting to show off their knowledge of forensics or police procedures that it gets in the way of the story. Whilst I believe the author should be knowledgeable about such things, I don't feel like it should be used as a substitute for a great cast of characters and an intriguing plot. For me the technical side of solving crime should not take centre stage and leave you wanting more in terms of an actual story. Karin Slaughter has perfected this in my opinion. I never doubt for a minute that she is up to speed on forensics and police procedure. There are enough tit bits thrown in that it is obvious the author knows what they are talking about. However the story doesn't constantly grind to a halt every time a body is examined or a scene takes place in the police station. The pace is kept high throughout with only the necessities of technical information thrown into the mix.
The story is told from the third person perspective of three different characters. Sara Linton, Jeffrey Tolliver and Lena Adams, another police officer who has a lot invested in finding the killer due to her sister Sybil being their first victim. All three characters are very interesting to read about, particularly the relationships between them all and their different motivations for finding the killer as soon as possible. There is also a supporting cast of characters who are not such major players but are still fleshed out with interesting stories to tell nonetheless. The small town community where everybody knows and seemingly trusts everybody else provides a fantastic setting for this story as people's trust begins to diminish.
A lot of criticism seems to be levelled at this book due to the graphic violence involved. This didn't really bother me that much if I am honest. Life is full of disgustingly brutal violence every single day. Turn on the news and you will see real life examples of rape and murder which is every bit as vicious as the violence involved in this book if not worse and it is really happening. With that level of violence in real life I think it would be stupid of authors to try and sugar coat things in fiction. However, if you are somebody who is really put off by violence then maybe give this one a miss.
I'm going to rate this one as a 5 out of 5 and apologise to my partner for not giving it a chance the first time she tried to get me to read it! I will definitely be reading the other books in this series soon. Karin Slaughter has created a cast of characters that you really want to read about, even those who are only briefly mentioned add something to this depiction of small town Georgia. Despite the subject matter this read very easily. A very enjoyable read which you will struggle to put down once you get into it. If like me you have managed to not read this at any point in the last 15 years, I highly recommend you give it a go now.
So how about you, which books have you irrationally been reluctant to read only to really enjoy them when you finally gave them a chance?