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Book Review by Augusta R. Scattergood

A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter
(William Morrow, 2003)

Grant County Medical Examiner Sara Litton and her ex-husband Jeffrey Tolliver, the police chief, both live and work in the little town of Heartsdale, Georgia, where nothing much seems to happen. At least not in the first six pages of A FAINT COLD FEAR. After that, readers are in for a rollercoaster ride of complicated relationships, psychological mind games, and campus politics. Not to mention murder and suicide.

Karin Slaughter’s latest installment in her three-book Grant County saga opens with Sara and her very pregnant sister Tessa eating ice cream at the local Dairy Queen. A phone call from the police chief sends the sisters to a grisly crime scene at the local college where a body has been discovered.

And that’s just the beginning.

Is it suicide or murder? What is Tessa’s involvement and why would anyone want to attack her? When additional victims turn up, Sara and Jeffrey, as well as the college security guards, are in a race against time. The three suspicious suicides may or may not be related, but sex and drugs are definitely involved.

This psychological thriller may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you can stomach the murder and mayhem, you won’t be able to put A FAINT COLD FEAR down. The excruciating crime and medical details ring true -- Karin Slaughter has definitely done her research. Enough red herrings are thrown in to keep you guessing, and the author gets so deeply inside her characters’ heads that you’ll remember them long after you close the book. In fact, you may need to read the final paragraphs more than once in order to fit all the pieces together.

Karin Slaughter, a Georgia native, is currently working on a fourth Grant County novel, INDELIBLE. If crime fiction is your genre, I recommend starting with her first two books and working your way up to A FAINT COLD FEAR. That way you’ll know for sure what really happened to cop-turned-security-guard Lena Adams, why Sara and Jeffrey seem drawn to each other despite their divorce, and what brought Sara back from the big city to the little town of Heartsdale in the first place.


Gusty Russel Scattergood, a native Mississippi Deltan, is a retired librarian. Read more of her book reviews at USADEEPSOUTH by clicking here: USADS BOOKS


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