Slaughter, Karin 1971–
Slaughter, Karin 1971–
Born 1971, in GA. Hobbies and other interests: Rock climbing, fencing, running.
Writer. Former owner of a sign business.
"GRANT COUNTY" MYSTERY SERIES
Blindsighted, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
Kisscut, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
A Faint Cold Fear, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
Indelible, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Faithless, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.
(Editor) Like a Charm: A Novel in Voices, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Triptych (novel), Delacorte Press (New York, NY) 2006.
Karin Slaughter spent her childhood in rural Georgia and aspired to become a lawyer. Instead, she owned and operated a sign shop until she was twenty-five, when she quit her job to begin writing novels. She has made a name for herself with the "Grant County" mystery series, which draws on her long association with the Deep South to depict the dark side of small town life.
The first novel in the series, Blindsighted, introduces readers to the three main protagonists: Sara Linton, a county coroner and local pediatrician; Sara's ex-husband Jeffrey Tolliver, the chief of police; and Lena Adams, the only female police officer on the force. The three are brought together when Sara discovers Sybil Adams, Lena's twin sister, raped and murdered in the bathroom of a local diner. When another young woman is reported missing, it appears that a serial killer may be on the loose. Sara is particularly intent on seeing the killer brought to justice, but in order to do so, a secret from her past must be revealed.
In an online interview with Mystery One online, Slaughter remarked: "What I was going for was a thriller—a book with a roller coaster kind of arc. I've read so many mysteries and thrillers that I know what fans come to expect when a character gets into a certain kind of situation. What I wanted to do was turn those situations around so that the reader says, ‘Oh, I know what comes next,’ then is shocked when it doesn't."
Blindsighted was generally well received. Library Journal reviewer Rebecca House Stankowski called it "an extremely mature first novel, with well-developed characters and a finely tuned plot; it also has a creepy killer and enough gory details to satisfy any Thomas Harris fan." In his review for the Washington Post, Patrick Anderson hailed the novel as "horrifically violent and wildly readable."
Sara, Lena, and Jeffrey return in Slaughter's second novel, Kisscut. This time, the novel opens when Sara decides to meet Jeffrey at a local roller rink. On the way, she comes across a dead baby and a teenager covered in blood. What Sara, Lena, and Jeffrey discover throughout the course of their investigation leads to a startling conclusion.
Ali Karim, reviewing Kisscut for Shots online, wrote: "Kisscut is a hard read for those of a weaker constitution, and like Blindsighted, it took me to places that sometimes are now hard to erase from my mind. It also gave me nightmares, because I fell in love with the concept of this rural idyll sitting on top of an old and sinister evil."
In Slaughter's third "Grant County" novel A Faint Cold Fear, Lena has left the police force after refusing psychological counseling, and now works as a security guard at the local college. When a student apparently commits suicide, Sara and Jeffrey are called in to investigate, but the investigation goes awry when Sara's pregnant sister is stabbed near the crime scene. Soon it becomes clear that the two crimes may be related, and that Lena is romantically involved with the prime suspect. While a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the plot is "the least coherent and satisfying in the series thus far," the critic also found that Slaughter's psychological insight compared favorably to suspense authors Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs. A Publishers Weekly reviewer also suggested that "those who make it through the complexities and the gore will be rewarded with a satisfyingly chilling ending."
In Indelible, Sara's visit to Jeffrey at the local police station is interrupted by a pair of gun-wielding youths, who seriously wound several police officers and take Jeffrey hostage. The plot jumps between the ensuing standoff and scenes from Jeffrey and Sara's past, where dark secrets that relate to both their relationship and the present-day attack are revealed. "What's even more disturbing here than the graphically detailed violence," wrote Joanne Wilkinson in Booklist, "is the creepy atmosphere as Slaughter."
Faithless opens to another grisly discovery, when a young woman is found buried alive in the forest. The investigation into her death leads to a local cult that employs the practice as a punishment, revealing even darker secrets. Meanwhile, Lena must cope with her own history of abusive relationships while dealing with a former cult member reluctant to come forward with information about the cult. Reviewers praised the book for its insight into womens' issues. Slaughter casts "a compassionate eye on a brace of female victims and still manages to come across as the toughest cookie in Georgia," commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor, while a Publishers Weekly writer remarked: "issues of abortion, domestic abuse and forgiveness afford these recurring female characters three-dimensional humanity."
In 2006, Slaughter departed from the "Grant County" series to write a stand-alone thriller, Triptych. Explaining her decision to Book Standard contributor Kimberly Maul, Slaughter said: "The story was just a little too big to fit into Grant County. For instance, it opens with a dead prostitute. Though I'm sure there are many very small towns out there that have prostitutes, you don't really see them in my series. It was just a broader palette to paint with because the urban setting is more gritty."
Triptych features three main characters: Michael Ormewood, a detective with a mentally ill son; John Shelley, who served twenty years in prison for a crime he didn't commit; and Will Trent, a state agent who is hiding his severe dyslexia. On the trail of a serial rapist-murderer in urban Atlanta, the secrets of their past come together in unexpected ways. Critics applauded Slaughter's new writing effort. A Kirkus Reviews contributor found that "the volcanic heroes and villains, who act both surprisingly and logically, are a welcome sign that Slaughter's trademark franchise only hints at the range of her gifts."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Book, January-February, 2002, review of Blindsighted, p. 40.
Booklist, August, 2001, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Blindsighted, p. 2099; September 1, 2003, review of A Faint Cold Fear, p. 8; July, 2004, review of Indelible, p. 1800; July, 2005, review of Faithless, p. 1878; May 15, 2006, review of Triptych, p. 6.
Entertainment Weekly, July 30, 2004, Karen Karbo, review of Indelible, p. 73; September 2, 2005, Jennifer Reese, review of Faithless, p. 83.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2003, review of A Faint Cold Fear, p. 996; June 15, 2005, review of Faithless, p. 668; June 1, 2006, review of Triptych, p. 543.
Library Journal, August, 2001, Rebecca House Stankowski, review of Blindsighted, p. 166.
Publishers Weekly, August 6, 2001, review of Blindsighted, p. 59; August 25, 2003, review of A Faint Cold Fear, p. 35; July 12, 2004, review of Indelible, p. 43; June 27, 2005, review of Faithless, p. 41; June 12, 2006, review of Triptych, p. 32.
Washington Post, September 17, 2001, Patrick Anderson, "A Thriller with More to Come," review of Blindsighted, p. C4.
BookReporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (March 12, 2007), Norah Piel, reviews of A Faint Cold Fear, Indelible, and Faithless.
Book Standard,http://www.thebookstandard.com/ (August 15, 2006), interview with Slaughter.
Karin Slaughter Home Page,http://www.karinslaughter.com (March 12, 2007).
Mystery One,http://www.mysteryone.com/ (April 30, 2002), interview with Slaughter.
Shots,http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (December 16, 2002), Ali Karim, reviews of Kisscut and Blindsighted.