Beyond Reach

Beyond Reach

3.5 362
by Karin Slaughter

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In a stifling hospital room in a small Georgia town, Detective Lena Adams sits, silent and angry—the only suspect in a horrific murder. Soon, a hundred miles away, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver will get the call that his young detective has been arrested. And Jeffrey’s wife, pediatrician and medical examiner Sara Linton, has troubles of her own and

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In a stifling hospital room in a small Georgia town, Detective Lena Adams sits, silent and angry—the only suspect in a horrific murder. Soon, a hundred miles away, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver will get the call that his young detective has been arrested. And Jeffrey’s wife, pediatrician and medical examiner Sara Linton, has troubles of her own and little patience for Lena or her dramas. Fighting a heartbreaking malpractice suit, Sara cannot guess that within days she herself will be at the center of a bizarre and murderous case. 

For Lena has fled back to the place where she grew up hard, careening back through the shadows of her past and into a shocking underground world of bigotry and rage. And now only Jeffrey and Sara can free Lena from the web of lies and brutality that has trapped her—as this powerhouse of a novel races toward its shattering climax…and a final, unforgettable twist.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Karin Slaughter's Unseen.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Slaughter's bone-chilling sixth thriller in her Grant County, Ga., crime series (after 2005's Faithless), Dr. Sara Linton, the county's resident pediatrician and medical examiner, is mired in a devastating lawsuit, accused by grieving parents of indirectly causing the death of their terminally ill son. Then Sara and her husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, must travel to rural Reese, Ga., where Lena Adams, Jeffrey's often reckless detective, has been injured in an explosion that killed a local woman. Lena's mysterious escape from the hospital plunges her, Sara and Jeffrey into a dangerous web of meth trafficking, white supremacy groups and long-buried family secrets. Expertly shifting back and forth in both time and point of view, Slaughter builds the suspense to a perfect crescendo, connecting every loose plot strand in a devastating and unforgettable climax. With methamphetamine use on the rise in the country, Slaughter's unflinching portrayal of lives ruined by the drug make her latest a timely and unsettling read. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Slaughter returns from a stand-alone (Triptych, 2006) to the adventures of Medical Examiner Sara Linton and Det. Lena Adams, in a case that feels more like a chapter in an ongoing family saga than a discrete novel. Little does Dr. Sara Linton, remarried to her ex, Grant County (Georgia) Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver, know that the day she's deposed concerning her responsibility for the death of cancer-stricken Jimmy Powell, 12, will be the most relaxing day of her week. Bad-girl Lena has been arrested for murder after the Elawah County police found her on the scene of an exploding Cadillac with a dead woman inside. Once Sara and Jeffrey arrive, Lena escapes, leaving Sara holding the bag. The violence, evidently set off by the Brotherhood of the True White Skin, swiftly envelops the uncle who raised Lena, long-time methamphetamine addict Hank Norton; her mother Angela Adams, who didn't die in childbirth after all; and the friends of her murdered twin Sibyl. In fact, it's hard to find a pair of clean hands in Lena's family, or, indeed, in Elawah County, and after a while you may give up trying to assign guilt and just wait in exhaustion for the whole mess, powered by Slaughter's nonstop intensity, to just burn itself out. As if Lena and Sara hadn't been through enough, the fadeout suggests that they're not going to get much respite in between books either.
From the Publisher
“Bone-chilling.... Expertly shifting back and forth in both time and point of view, Slaughter builds the suspense to a perfect crescendo.”—Publishers Weekly, starred

“Offers both wrenching emotional highs and lows and a gripping plot.... A shocker of an ending.”—Booklist

“Powerful and complex…Slaughter gradually unspools her fascinating story, all the way up to its shocking conclusion.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“Karin Slaughter writes with a razor.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Slaughter will have you on the edge of your seat.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Grant County Series , #6
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Random House
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660 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

SARA LINTON LOOKED AT HER WATCH. The Seiko had been a gift from her grandmother on the day Sara graduated from high school. On Granny Em's own graduation day, she had been four months from marriage, a year and a half from bearing the first of her six children and thirty-eight years from losing her husband to cancer. Higher education was something Emma's father had seen as a waste of time and money, especially for a woman. Emma had not argued—she was raised during a time when children did not think to disagree with their parents—though she made sure that all four of her surviving children attended college.

"Wear this and think of me," Granny Em had said that day on the school campus as she closed the watch's silver bracelet around Sara's wrist. "You're going to do everything you ever dreamed of, and I want you to know that I will always be right there beside you."

As a student at Emory University, Sara had constantly looked at the watch, especially through advanced biochemistry, applied genetics, and human anatomy classes that seemed by law to be taught by the most boring, monosyllabic professors that could be found. In medical school, she had impatiently glanced at the watch on Saturday mornings as she stood outside the lab, waiting for the professor to come and unlock the door so she could finish her experiments. During her internship at Grady Hospital, she had stared blurry-eyed at its white face, trying to make out the hands, as she calculated how much longer she had left in thirty-six-hour shifts. At the Heartsdale Children's Clinic, she had closely followed the second hand as she pressed her fingers to a child's thin wrist, counting the beats of his heart as they ticked beneath his skin, seeking to discern if an "achy all-over" was a serious ailment or if it just meant the kid did not want to go to school that day.

For almost twenty years, Sara had worn the watch. The crystal had been replaced twice, the battery numerous times, and the bracelet once because Sara could not stomach the thought of cleaning out the dried blood of a woman who had died in her arms. Even at Granny Em's funeral, Sara had found herself touching the smooth bezel around the face, tears streaming down her own face at the realization that she could never again see her grandmother's quick, open smile or the sparkle in her eyes as she learned of her oldest granddaughter's latest accomplishment.

Now, looking at the watch, for the first time in her life Sara was glad her grandmother was not there with her, could not read the anger in Sara's eyes, know the humiliation that burned in her chest like an uncontrollable fire as she sat in a conference room being deposed in a malpractice suit filed by the parents of a dead patient. Everything Sara had ever worked for, every step she had taken that her grandmother could not, every accomplishment, every degree, was being rendered meaningless by a woman who was all but calling Sara a baby killer.

The lawyer leaned over the table, eyebrow raised, lip curled, as Sara glanced at the watch. "Dr. Linton, do you have a more pressing appointment?"

"No." Sara tried to keep her voice calm, to quell the fury that the lawyer had obviously been stoking for the last four hours. Sara knew that she was being manipulated, knew that the woman was trying to bait her, to get Sara to say something horrible that would forever be recorded by the little man leaning over the transcript machine in the corner. Knowing this did not stop Sara from reacting. As a matter of fact, the knowledge made her even angrier.

"I've been calling you Dr. Linton all this time." The lawyer glanced down at an open folder in front of her. "Is it Tolliver? I see that you remarried your ex-husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, six months ago."

"Linton is fine." Under the table, Sara was shaking her foot so hard that her shoe was about to fall off. She crossed her arms over her chest. There was a sharp pain in her jaw from clenching her teeth. She shouldn't be here. She should be at home right now, reading a book or talking on the phone to her sister. She should be going over patient files or sorting through old medical journals she never seemed to have time to catch up on.

She should be trusted.

"So," the lawyer continued. The woman had given her name at the start of the deposition, but Sara couldn't remember it. All she had been able to concentrate on at the time was the look on Beckey Powell's face. Jimmy's mother. The woman whose hand Sara had held so many times, the friend she had comforted, the person with whom she had spent countless hours on the phone, trying to put into simple English the medical jargon the oncologists in Atlanta were feeding the mother to explain why her twelve-year-old son was going to die.

From the moment they'd entered the room, Beckey had glared at Sara as if she were a murderer. The boy's father, a man Sara had gone to school with, had not even been able to look her in the eye.

"Dr. Tolliver?" the lawyer pressed.

"Linton," Sara corrected, and the woman smiled, just as she did every time she scored a point against Sara. This happened so often that Sara was tempted to ask the lawyer if she suffered from some unusually petty form of Tourette's.

"On the morning of the seventeenth—this was the day after Easter—you got lab results from the cell blast you'd ordered performed on James Powell. Is that correct?"

James. She made him sound so adult. To Sara, he would always be the six-year-old she had met all those years ago, the little boy who liked playing with his plastic dinosaurs and eating the occasional crayon. He'd been so proud when he told her that he was called Jimmy, just like his dad.

"Dr. Tolliver?"

Buddy Conford, one of Sara's lawyers, finally spoke up. "Let's cut the crap, honey."

"Honey?" the lawyer echoed. She had one of those husky, low voices most men found irresistible. Sara could tell Buddy fell into this category, just as she could tell that the fact the man found his opponent desirable heightened his sense of competitiveness.

Buddy smiled, his own point made. "You know her name."

"Please instruct your client to answer the question, Mr. Conford."

"Yes," Sara said, before they could exchange any more barbs. She had found that lawyers could be quite verbose at three-hundred-fifty dollars an hour. They would parse the meaning of the word "parse" if the clock was ticking. And Sara had two lawyers: Melinda Stiles was counsel for Global Medical Indemnity, an insurance company to whom Sara had paid almost three and a half million dollars over the course of her medical career. Buddy Conford was Sara's personal lawyer, whom she'd hired to protect her from the insurance company. The fine print in all of Global's malpractice policies stipulated limited liability on the part of the company when a patient's injury was a direct result of a doctor's willful negligence. Buddy was here to make sure that did not happen.

"Dr. Linton? The morning of the seventeenth?"

"Yes," Sara answered. "According to my notes, that's when I got the lab results."

Sharon, Sara remembered. The lawyer was Sharon Connor. Such an innocuous name for such a horrible person.

"And what did the lab results reveal to you?"

"That more than likely, Jimmy had acute myeloblastic leukemia."

"And the prognosis?"

"That's out of my realm. I'm not an oncologist."

"No. You referred the Powells to an oncologist, a friend of yours from college, a Dr. William Harris in Atlanta?"

"Yes." Poor Bill. He was named in the lawsuit, too, had been forced to hire his own attorney, was battling with his own insurance company.

"But you are a doctor?"

Sara took a deep breath. She had been instructed by Buddy to only answer questions, not pointed comments. God knew she was paying him enough for his advice. She might as well start taking it.

"And surely as a doctor you know what acute myeloblastic leukemia is?"

"It's a group of malignant disorders characterized by the replacement of normal bone marrow with abnormal cells."

Connor smiled, rattling off, "And it begins as a single somatic hematopoietic progenitor that transforms to a cell incapable of normal differentiation?"

"The cell loses apoptosis."

Another smile, another point scored. "And this disease has a fifty percent survival rate."

Sara held her tongue, waiting for the ax to fall.

"And timing is critical for treatment, is that correct? In such a disease—a disease that literally turns the body's cells against themselves, turns off apoptosis, according to you, which is the normal genetic process of cell death—timing is critical."

Forty-eight hours would not have saved the boy's life, but Sara was not going to utter those words, have them transcribed into a legal document and later thrown in her face with all the callousness Sharon Connor could muster.

The lawyer shuffled through some papers as if she needed to find her notes. "And you attended Emory Medical School. As you so graciously corrected me earlier, you didn't just graduate in the top ten percent, you graduated sixth in your class."

Buddy sounded bored with the woman's antics. "We've already established Dr. Linton's credentials."

"I'm just trying to put it all together," the woman countered. She held up one of the pages, her eyes scanning the words. Finally, she put it down. "And, Dr. Linton, you got this information—this lab result that was almost certainly a death sentence—the morning of the seventeenth, and yet you chose not to share the information with the Powells until two days later. And that was because . . . ?"

Sara had never heard so many sentences starting with the word "and." She imagined grammar wasn't high up on the curriculum at whatever school had churned out the vicious lawyer.

Still, she answered, "They were at Disney World for Jimmy's birthday. I wanted them to enjoy their vacation, what I thought might be their last vacation as a family for some time. I made the decision to not tell them until they came back."

"They came back the evening of the seventeenth, yet you did not tell them until the morning of the nineteenth, two days later."

Sara opened her mouth to respond, but the woman talked over her.

"And it didn't occur to you that they could return for immediate treatment and perhaps save their child's life?" It was clear she didn't expect an answer. "I would imagine that, given the choice, the Powells would rather have their son alive today instead of empty photographs of him standing around the Magic Kingdom." She slid the picture in question across the table. It glided neatly past Beckey and Jim Powell, past Sara's two lawyers, and stopped a few inches from where Sara was sitting.

She shouldn't have looked, but she did.

Young Jimmy stood leaning against his father, both of them wearing Mickey Mouse ears and holding sparklers as a parade of Snow White's dwarfs marched behind them. Even in the photo, you could tell the boy was sick. Dark circles rimmed his eyes and he was so thin that his frail little arm looked like a piece of string.

They had come back from vacation a day early because Jimmy had wanted to be home. Sara did not know why the Powells had not called her at the clinic, brought in Jimmy that day so she could check on him. Maybe his parents had known even without the test, even without the final diagnosis, that their days of having a normal, healthy child were over. Maybe they had just wanted to keep him to themselves one more day. He had been such a wonderful boy—kind, smart, cheerful—everything a parent could hope for. And now he was gone.

Sara felt tears well into her eyes, and bit her lip so hard that the tears fell from pain instead of grief.

Buddy snatched away the picture, irritated. He slid it back to Sharon Connor. "You can practice your opening statement in front of your mirror at home, sweetheart."

Connor's mouth twisted into a smirk as she took back the photograph. She was living proof that the theory that women were nurturing caretakers was utter bullshit. Sara half-expected to see rotting flesh between her teeth.

The woman said, "Dr. Linton, on this particular date, the date you got James's lab results, did anything else happen that stood out for you?"

A prickling went up Sara's spine, a spark of warning that she could not suppress. "Yes."

"And could you tell us what that was?"

"I found a woman who had been murdered in the bathroom of our local diner."

"Raped and murdered. Is that correct?"


"That brings us to your part-time job as coroner for the county. I believe your husband—then ex-husband, when this rape and murder occurred—is chief of police for the county. Both of you work closely together when cases arise."

Sara waited for more, but the woman had obviously just wanted to get that on the record.

"Counselor?" Buddy asked.

"One moment, please," the lawyer murmured, picking up a thick folder and leafing through the pages.

Sara looked down at her hands to give herself something to do. Pisiform, triquetrum, hamate, capitate, trapezoid, trapezium, lunate, scaphoid . . . She listed all the bones in her hand, then started on the ligaments, trying to distract herself, willing herself not to walk into the trap the lawyer was so skillfully setting.

While Sara was in her residency at Grady, headhunters had pursued her so relentlessly that she had stopped answering her phone. Partnerships. Six-figure salaries with year-end bonuses. Surgical privileges at any hospital she chose. Personal assistants, lab support, full secretarial staff, even her own parking space. They had offered her everything, and yet in the end, she had decided to return home to Grant, to practice medicine for considerably less money and even less respect, because she thought it was important for doctors to serve rural communities.

Was part of it vanity, too? Sara had seen herself as a role model for the girls in town. Most of them had only ever seen a male doctor. The only women in authority were nurses, teachers, and mothers. Her first five years at the Heartsdale Children's Clinic, Sara had spent at least half of her time convincing young patients—and frequently their mothers—that she had, in fact, graduated medical school. No one believed a woman could be smart enough, good enough, to reach such a position. Even when Sara bought the clinic from her retiring partner, people had still been skeptical. It had taken years to carve herself a place of respect in the community.

All for this.

Sharon Connor finally looked up from her papers. She frowned. "Dr. Linton, you yourself were raped. Isn't that correct?"

From the Hardcover edition.

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Beyond Reach 3.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 362 reviews.
MickeyMod More than 1 year ago
Karin Slaughter is on my top 10 favorite authors, but Beyond Reach was such a let down. It was like she was getting bored with the series and slapped enough crap on the pages to make it novel lenghth to end the series and put a fork in it. It took me forever to get through this book then the ending just confirmed my dislike for it. I suggest reading the whole series because it truely is out standing, then when you get to Beyond Reach, toss it in the trash and think of how you would have liked it to end because i guarante this was not it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was the worst of the grant county left me depressed and sad.if you are a reader who enjoys the relationship between sara and jeffery dont read this book.not only was this book confusing and difficult to follow the ending was ridiculous. maybe she can redeem herself with the whole last two pages being staged or it was a dream. if not i will not be reading anymore of the books in this series.this was a very bad decision on the part of karin slaughter.
Carey Gaukler More than 1 year ago
After reading the entire series in less than a week and enjoying Slaughter's writing, I found myself confused with all the jumps from past to present throughout this book. The tragic ending will no doubt loose Slaughter fans, this one included.
JeaneAR More than 1 year ago
Well, I do sometimes. For bargain books anyway. But I seriously doubt whether Karin Slaughter does and even if she does I doubt she makes any artistic decisions based on what B&N readers think. So..I read this book just I had read the other Sara-Jeffrey books, and like many others I didn't see the ending coming at all. Furthermore, it pissed me off. It was like standing around the campfire, singing We Are the World and suddenly an AK-47 opens up and all of sudden body parts are flying everywhere. Actually, that's a pretty good analogy, if you think about Sara finding Jeffrey's detached arm still hanging onto the mailbox. Or maybe it wasn't his arm. It's been a while since I read it. One thing I know from 60 yrs of reading and teaching writing and literature at a university for 23 yrs---if you fall in love with a writer and most of us do at some point---you can be sure that eventually, just as in real life love affairs, that writer will do something that will have you throwing the book across the room and vowing never to read him/her again. It happened to me with John Connoley (Charlie Parker mysteries) when he wrote that loathsome "THe Book of Lost Things," and China Mieville's ridiculous "Lun Un Dun," Michael Gruber's "The Forgery of Venus," and even one of my favorite writers, Vernor Vinge abssymal, "The End of the Rainbow," or maybe it was Rainbow's End. Who knows? You can love everything the person writes...for a while. It's a little like life, I guess. I suppose Karin Slaughter will get old readers back with her new book, and even if she doesn't, she'll get new readers. I don't know where I fall yet. There are a lot of books out there. So many books, so little time.
jillecakes More than 1 year ago
I will brief and say that I enjoyed the book, up until the last page. At that point, I was so disgusted with the ending that I couldn't believe I had just wasted 2 days reading this book,
belle-catson More than 1 year ago
Fair, not the best book by Slaughter,
christytilleryfrench More than 1 year ago
Pediatrician/medical examiner Sara Linton is reeling from a vicious malpractice suit and having to close her clinic when her husband, police chief Jeffrey Tollier, receives word that Lena Adams, one of his detectives, has been arrested in Reese, GA. Sara accompanies Jeffrey to the small, backwater town. When they arrive, Lena uses Sara to escape and from that point on manages to stay one step ahead of Jeffrey and the sheriff of Reese. As Jeffrey tries to find Lena, bodies pile up and he and Sara find their own lives threatened. Meanwhile, Lena is trying to locate her Uncle Hank and the man he claims killed her mother when she stumbles upon a group of white supremacists who deal in meth trafficking. This sixth installment of the Grant County, GA crime series is as gritty and realistic as real life. Slaughter touches upon the devastating effects of methamphetamine on its users and the vicious cruelty of its makers and traffickers. Slaughter adroitly leads the reader through two investigations: Lena as she tracks her uncle and tries to find out what really happened to her mother, and Jeffrey and Sara as they search for Lena. Slaughter provides an ending which is unexpected and which some readers will find traumatic and unsettling.
MyBad11 More than 1 year ago
After devoting my time and money on this entire series, I won't be wasting my time on this author again. What a crappy to end this series. When I read a book, if the characters aren't likable I don't keep reading. When I invest this much in a series, I expect a more satisfying ending. This author has lost me as a reader.
Mseer More than 1 year ago
Waste of money, waste of my time to read and get involved in.   For those that say it bad stuff happens in real life.  Yea, got that, but this is supposed to be for my enjoyment?  Will not read another Karen Slaughter book.  Feel like the whole series was a waste of my time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First time I've read this author's works. I hated this ending so much, I will never get anything by this author again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first book from the Grant County series and was hooked. I bought all of them and couldnt stop reading. I was very disapointed in the ending "twist" after becoming so invested in this series and the characters. I cant believe thats what fans were left with. Horrible.
sassypickle More than 1 year ago
Beyond Reach was, by far, my least favorite of all books from the Grant County series. The sudden "twist" at the end was unwelcome and disappointing. Was this really the ending to the Grant County series? I really liked Jeffrey but Lena...not so much - she's overly annoying. Lena has seen her share of brutal murders, so why was she suddenly such a terrified mute in this book? The only reason I finished Beyond Reach was Ms. Slaughter's writing - it's sharp, clear, fast-paced; however, the story was derailed catastrophically.
redhddgrl More than 1 year ago
if i could do it all over again, i wouldn't buy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't worth the effort. The story was just mediocre and then the ending was horrible. I won't be reading anymore of this author's books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed all of Karin Slaughter's books until now -- The last 2 pages of BEYOND REACH were unbelievably disappointing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There was nothing about this book that I didn't love. The dialog, characters, and the crime were all perfect. The ending of the book might have killed any respect I had for the series.
Anonymous 20 days ago
Dissapointed with the ending
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 7 months ago
This plot is so dumb, it's silly. Boring, hard to care for the one dimensional characters of Jeff and Sara.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boy that makes me mad!! PLEASE don't spoil the ending!! I've been looking for the book where Jeffrey is killed, but I wanted to read it for myself!! At least say "spoiler alert!" I have not read the book yet so I cannot rate the story - but I love her Grant County series. The one star is for the jerk who told the whole story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago