A Faint Cold Fear

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Overview

The third pulse-pounding novel in the Grant County series from New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter.

Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is called out to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body provides little in the way of clues — and the college authorities are eager to avoid a scandal — but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don’t add up.

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2003-10-01 Audio Cassette New Still in factory wrap, sealed. Abridged, read by Dana Ivey, 6 hours, 4 cassettes,

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Overview

The third pulse-pounding novel in the Grant County series from New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter.

Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is called out to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body provides little in the way of clues — and the college authorities are eager to avoid a scandal — but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don’t add up.

Two more suspicious suicides follow, and a young woman is brutally attacked. For Sara, the violence strikes far too close to home. And as Jeffrey pursues the sadistic killer, he discovers that ex-police detective Lena Adams, now a security guard on campus, may be in possession of crucial information. But, bruised and angered by her expulsion from the force, Lena seems to be barely capable of protecting herself, let alone saving the next victim...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the coldly captivating tradition of Cornwell and Reichs, Slaughter (Blindsighted; Kisscut) returns to Grant County, Ga., to offer a third installment in the adventures of smalltown pediatrician and part-time medical examiner Sara Linton. Called in to investigate the apparent suicide of a male Grant Tech student, Sara brings along her pregnant sister, Tessa, who wanders away from the scene and is brutally attacked. The distraught Sara must work side by side with her ex-husband, Det. Jeffrey Tolliver, whom she loves despite his past infidelity, but it's Lena Adams, formerly a cop and now a campus security guard, whose story the novel follows most closely. Still mourning the murder of her sister and recovering from her own torture and rape by the same man, Lena is looked on with suspicion by her ex-boss, Jeffrey. With reason: she's hiding a few key facts. The dead boy's mother is her therapist and Lena is involved with an abusive young man with a shady past. Campus gossip Richard Carter further confuses investigators; meanwhile, police discover the bodies of two more students, their deaths potentially suicides but more likely murder. Slaughter provides grisly variations on the themes of sibling rivalry, sexual abuse and campus politics in a story not for the faint of heart. Readers who can stomach gruesome details and like fitting together multiple stories of physical and psychological abuse will savor the way Slaughter can evoke sympathy for perverse, even criminal, behavior by tracing its origins, and those who make it through the complexities and the gore will be rewarded with a satisfyingly chilling ending. (Oct.) Forecast: A Faint Cold Fear was recently selected as the second International Book of the Month (Harlan Coben's No Second Chance was the first), so look for this thriller to hit bestseller lists both here and overseas. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver are up against a bunch of suspicious campus suicides. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lena Adams, the cop-turned-security-guard whose twin sister was murdered in the opening scene of Slaughter's striking debut (Blindsighted, 2001), takes center stage in this third volume. Readers familiar with the gruesome doings in Grant County, Georgia, may be lulled into a false sense of security when the opening calls pediatrician/medical examiner Sara Linton (Kisscut, 2002) to the scene of nothing worse than the apparent suicide of Andy Rosen, a Grant Tech student who took a header from a bridge. But Sara's cool examination of the corpse is only the prelude to the real horror that comes when Tessa, the very pregnant sister she's brought along for the ride, steps into the woods and is savagely attacked by a knife-wielding assailant. As Sara alternates between hovering over Tessa's hospital bed and listening to her conscientious parents tell her it wasn't her fault, the investigation explodes in a sequel violent enough to make Lena check out the sex-and-drugs Grant Tech scene on her own, bringing her face to face once more with the nightmare of her abduction and rape-and enough to make Sara think twice about that suicide verdict. Though the plot tails off in complications that make this the least coherent and satisfying in the series so far, Slaughter keeps baring her living characters' psychic wounds in scene after scene with a remarkable intensity the reigning postmortem specialists, Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, can't match. Author tour. Agent: Victoria Sanders
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Few young writers show more promise than the thirty-year-old Slaughter. She writes…with skill, anger, sensitivity, and compassion.”
The Mirror (London)
“Slaughter spares no details…engrossing.”
People
“Engrossing… [with] meticulous characterizations.”
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Combines the best elements of a noir thriller and the Southern Gothic tradition complete with a brooding atmosphere.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“This is one of those rare books that keeps delivering surprises right up to the very last page.”
Irish Times
“An engrossing work, with a well–drawn cast of characters and a nicely tuned plot”
People Magazine
"Engrossing… [with] meticulous characterizations."
Val McDermid
“An impressive new landmark on the thriller map.”
Barbara Peters
“Hard to imagine that such a quiet shy girl as Slaughter harbors so fiendish a heart. In Kisscut, Georgia pediatrician Sara Linton and her ex, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, are caught up in an evil web along with Detective Lena Adams. It begins with a young girl who commits suicide by forcing Jeffrey to shoot her down. Horrified, he’s desperate to determine why. Sara, not just the dead Jenny’s doctor but also the town’s coroner, does the autopsy and makes a horrible discovery: Jenny had been rudely castrated. Lena, wrestling with her own dark demons, joins in an investigation worthy of Andrew Vachs. Man, Kisscut is a killer book, savage but exciting, a strong follow–up to Slaughter’s debut in Blindsighted.”
People
“Engrossing… [with] meticulous characterizations.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060514686
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Series: Grant County Series , #3
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged, 4 Cassettes; 6 Hours
  • Pages: 346
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 7.18 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is the #1 international bestseller of several novels, including the Grant County series. A long-time resident of Atlanta, she splits her time between the kitchen and the living room.

Dana Ivey has received two Tony® nominations and two Obie awards for her work on the New York stage; her film credits include The Addams Family and The Color Purple.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

A Faint Cold Fear
A Novel

Chapter One

Sara Linton stared at the entrance to the Dairy Queen, watching her very pregnant sister walk out with a cup of chocolate-covered ice cream in each hand. As Tessa crossed the parking lot, the wind picked up, and her purple dress rose above her knees. She struggled to keep the jumper down without spilling the ice cream, and Sara could hear her cursing as she got closer to the car.

Sara tried not to laugh as she leaned over to open the door, asking, "Need help?"

"No," Tessa said, wedging her body into the car. She settled in, handing Sara her ice cream. "And you can shut up laughing at me."

Sara winced as her sister kicked off her sandals and propped her bare feet on the dashboard. The BMW 330i was less than two weeks old, and Tessa had already left a bag of Goobers to melt in the backseat and spilled an orange Fanta on the carpet in the front. Had Tessa not been nearly eight months pregnant, Sara would have strangled her.

Sara asked, "What took you so long?"

"I had to pee."

"Again?"

"No, I just like being in the bathroom at the damn Dairy Queen," Tessa snapped. She fanned her hand in front of her face. "Jesus, it's hot."

Sara kept her mouth shut as she turned up the air-conditioning. As a doctor, she knew that Tessa was merely a victim of her own hormones, but there were times when Sara thought that the best thing for all concerned would be to lock Tessa in a box and not open it until they heard a baby crying.

"That place was packed," Tessa managed around a mouthful of chocolate syrup. "Goddamn, shouldn't all those people be at church or something?"

"Hm," Sara said.

"The whole place was filthy. Look at this parking lot," Tessa said, swooping her spoon in the air. "People just dump their trash here and don't even care about who has to pick it up. Like they think the trash fairy's gonna do it or something."

Sara murmured some words of agreement, eating her ice cream as Tessa continued a litany of complaints about everyone in the Dairy Queen, from the man who was talking on his cell phone to the woman who waited in line for ten minutes and then couldn't decide what she wanted when she got to the counter. After a while Sara zoned out, staring at the parking lot, thinking about the busy week she had ahead of her.

Several years ago Sara had taken on the part-time job of county coroner to help buy out her retiring partner at the Heartsdale Children's Clinic, and lately Sara's work at the morgue was playing havoc with her schedule at the clinic. Normally the county job did not require much of Sara's time, but a court appearance had taken her out of the clinic for two days last week, and she was going to have to make up for it this week by putting in overtime.

Increasingly, Sara's work at the morgue was infringing on clinic time, and she knew that in a couple of years she would have to make a choice between the two. When the time came, the decision would be a hard one. The medical examiner's job was a challenge, one Sara had sorely needed thirteen years ago when she had left Atlanta and moved back to Grant County. Part of her thought her brain would atrophy without the constant obstacles presented by forensic medicine. Still, there was something restorative about treating children, and Sara, who could not have children of her own, knew that she would miss the contact. She vacillated daily on which job was better. Generally, a bad day at one made the other look ideal.

"Getting on up there!" Tessa screeched, loud enough to get Sara's attention. "I'm thirty-four, not fifty. What the hell kind of thing is that for a nurse to say to a pregnant woman?"

Sara stared at her sister. "What?"

"Have you heard a word I've said?"

She tried to sound convincing. "Yes. Of course I have."

Tessa frowned. "You're thinking about Jeffrey, aren't you?"

Sara was surprised by the question. For once her ex-husband had been the last thing on her mind. "No."

"Sara, don't lie to me," Tessa countered. "Everybody in town saw that sign girl up at the station Friday."

"She was lettering the new police car," Sara answered, feeling a warm flush come to her cheeks.

Tessa gave a disbelieving look. "Wasn't that his excuse the last time?"

Sara did not answer. She could still remember the day she'd come home early from work to find Jeffrey in bed with the owner of the local sign shop. The whole Linton family was both amazed and irritated that Sara was dating Jeffrey again, and while Sara for the most part shared their sentiments, she felt incapable of making a clean break. Logic eluded her where Jeffrey was concerned.

Tessa warned, "You just need to be careful with him. Don't let him get too comfortable."

"I'm not an idiot."

"Sometimes you are."

"Well, you are, too," Sara shot back, feeling foolish even before the words came out of her mouth.

But for the whir of the air-conditioning, the car was quiet. Finally Tessa offered, "You should've said, 'I know you are, but what am I?'"

Sara wanted to laugh it off, but she was too irritated. "Tessie, it's none of your business."

Tessa barked a loud laugh that rattled in Sara's ears. "Well, hell, honey, that's never stopped anybody before. I'm sure damn Marla Simms was on the phone before the little bitch even got out of her truck."

"Don't call her that."

Tessa waved her spoon in the air again ...

A Faint Cold Fear
A Novel
. Copyright © by Karin Slaughter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Introduction

We were introduced to the primary characters of Slaughter's Grant County series -- Sara Linton, Jeffery Tolliver, and Lena Adams -- in Blindsighted and we learned more about their stories in Kisscut. A Faint Cold Fear continues the story line:

Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is called to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body provides little in the way of clues -- and college authorities are eager to avoid a scandal -- but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don't add up.

Two more suspicious suicides follow, and a young woman is brutally attacked. For Sara, the violence strikes far too close to home. And as Jeffrey pursues the sadistic killer, he discovers that ex-police detective Lena Adams, now a security guard on campus, may be in possession of crucial information. But, bruised and angered by her expulsion from the force, Lena seems to be barely capable of protecting herself, let alone saving the next victim.

Author Karin Slaughter recently sat down with her editor at William Morrow to discuss her latest novel, and how she approaches her novels. You can read or listen to that interview on the HarperCollins Web site. The interview raised a number of topics to spark great discussion. Here are a few:

Questions for Discussion

  1. Karin Slaughter is an avid reader, and there are many writers who have inspired her work. Which authors have inspired your life, or your passion for reading? Do you find you concentrate on reading in certain genres based on specific authors? If so, who are those authors, andwhy?

  2. Sara Linton, one of the main characters in the Grant County series is both a pediatrician and medical examiner. What does that say about the character?

  3. Slaughter is able to bring realistic forensic discovery to the page in her novels. Today there are many television shows which deal with forensic analysis and detecting. Do you find yourself fascinated by this type of forensic analysis? Do you prefer reading about forensics, or seeing it on television?

  4. In her interview, Karin Slaughter talks about what she likes most and least about writing, and being an author. What are your notions about the writer's life? Understanding the highs and lows of a writer's life, is it something you would ever choose to pursue?

About the Author

Karin Slaughter grew up in a small south Georgia town and now lives in Atlanta. The author of the bestsellers Blindsighted and Kisscut, she is currently writing the fourth Grant County novel, Indelible.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 274 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(126)

4 Star

(78)

3 Star

(38)

2 Star

(18)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 275 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Read!

    This was the first book I read of Karin Slaughter's and I have to say that I fell completely and totally in love with it. The plot catches you from the beginning and doesn't leave you hanging at the end. The characters are so complex that you just want to believe that they are real because they seem that way in the book. If you are looking for a good read, pick thins book up and don't stop reading until you are finished!

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005

    Bone Chilling Thriller!

    On the local campus in Heartsdale, Georgia a boys' body is found. Although it looks like a suicide, Sara Linton, the towns medical examiner suspects foul play. Then, one after another, bodies start showing up, looking like suicides, but could this be possible? An epidemic of college suicides? Lena Adams, who survived a brutal rape and attempt against her life, was once a respected police detective, but now struggles working for an egotistical scumbag boss, with the college campus security. Lena sets out to prove that she is still a good detective and wants to solve this mystery, but she runs in to all kinds of obsticles that just make her look suspicious to the local police. This book is riveting! You won't be able to put it down. The pace is fast and the leads keep you guessing until the very last page is read. Karin Slaughter has woven together one of the best plots I've read so far this year!! You will never figure out who is the mastermind behind all these deaths!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Good but could have been better

    Heartsdale, Georgia medical examiner Sara Linton travels to the Grant Institute of Technology where a student Andy Rosen apparently jumped off a bridge. Sara¿s eight month pregnant sister Tessa, known for her eating habits of late, happened to have been in the car with Sara when she received the call. The two women go to the death scene where Sarah joins her boyfriend Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver who has begun investigating. Tessa enters the nearby woods to do the other bodily function that she seems to need to do every few seconds only to be viciously attacked.<P> Two more suicides occur and Tessa remains hospitalized. Meanwhile Jeffrey wonders if former police detective turned college security guard Lena Adams knows more than she is telling. Although Lena has her own problems stemming from an abduction and rape she still investigates sex and drug trafficking at the Grant Institute of Technology. Following the third death, Sara reconsiders whether homicide not suicide has occurred. Jeffrey tries to keep both women safe while seeking a killer.<P> Though the story line contains too many moments of self-deprecating doubts due to previous ghosts, fans will enjoy this terse medical examiner thriller. The key cast members constantly display their soul so that the audience receives a two edged blade. The motives of the characters are understandable but so intense that it sometimes slows down the prime plot and spins off several cluttering subplots. Still A FAINT COLD FEAR is a solid crime tale that showcases Karen Slaughter¿s ability to live up to a surname that seems apropos for a mystery author.<P> Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    GOOD READ

    I thought I had the good guys separated from the bad guys and was reading an entertaining criminal mystery book. The author outsmarted me by an ending that I never saw coming.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2003

    Nothing rang true

    Pages and pages of mind-numbing dialogue between truly unlikeable characters interspersed with laughably improbable gore. At the appearance of murder #x (I'm trying to avoid spoilers here for those who feel they MUST read this really bad book), I actually nearly laughed -- I figured one more and the author would have written the perfect satire of the genre. Nothing rang true in this book. The bad guy became patently clear by the evil glint in his eye, even though it was very difficult to believe in his sudden and nonsensical transformation. The murders were meant to 'shock and awe' with their brutal details; the sex scenes were absurd, the dialogue, as I've said, went on and on without a reason, and the resolution was cheap and unsatisfying. Also, finally, there's a bit of small-mindedness to the book. Almost all of the bad things happen to or because of someone of mixed race, gay men, a skinhead, Jews.... As one pal pointed out, the one gay woman who had a heart of gold was incredibly ugly, as the author made sure to point out repeatedly.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Lots of bad words

    This story is great but i wish it had less bad words in it

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Good thriller, but this is my nit-pick. Would a missionary reall

    Good thriller, but this is my nit-pick. Would a missionary really curse like Tessa does? Especially dropping the GDs.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Good read

    Very entertaining and intelligently written. Kept me guessing. Excellent weekend read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Missing lines

    Love Karin Slaughter, but only 85 pages in and 4 times i have had incomplete sentences which are always involving a hyphenated word. I have read 5 books on my nook and havent had this trouble. Has anyone else?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Disappointed

    Can not believe a women would have a kidnapped rape victim insinuate she was turned on ny the rape. Then encourage another man to rape her. That is when I stopped reading. An insult to women. A male steriotype.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    It's called RESEARCH, DO IT

    I am usually kind to authors and enjoy reading just about anything. This book helped me draw the line. While the plot had some interesting kinks, every thing else about the book was lacking. The characters were uniformly disagreeable, the author had clearly done little research (shotgun vs rifle for one example) and many of the plot "kinks" had insufficient foundation. I understand completely that a "mass market" book is unlikely to be the Great American Novel, but come on!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2013

    Kathy's opinion

    Great book. Would be better without the f word.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Worth Reading!

    I'm reading the Grant County series in order and this is my least favorite of the three. I really like her books and will keep reading them but this Lena chick is super annoying in this one. Other than that it's just what I expect from this incredible author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Unsatisfactory read!!!!!!!!

    Premise showed promise. BUT-as it progressed became tedious. Not one character was likeable. I could not find one character I liked or cared for. Even the character whowas victimized was not relatable. Could not believe her actions. Who was the protaganist?
    Committed to reading and finishing because I wanted to know how it would end. The ending was predictable. Able to determine who it was by the way the characters were developed and presented. Had a Lifetime or Hallmark channel movie feel to it.
    Will not attempt a second story by this author.
    -Reed

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    highly recommend - good reader

    Good story line. Keeps you wondering what's happening next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2012

    Good Read

    One of her best - keeps you wanting to know the outcome. Good author

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    Excellent book!!!

    I loved this book!I think the author is great.I have passed the book on,and everyone has loved it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Crime & Mystery

    Fast paced mystery with a lot of crime. Story and plot was good. This book is part of a series, I've read them out of order but still like them. Easy read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Just ok

    This book was ok, but not sure I'll read more by this author. It was so far fetched that I actually found my self saying "Oh, come on!", while I was reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Good book

    I got the sample and im going to get the full version great book so far cant wait to finish it

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 275 Customer Reviews

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