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The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods—then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty, impeccably dressed young woman. And for Sara and Jeffrey, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case.
Lena Adams is one of them. A Grant County detective for years, she has her own reasons for being drawn to this case and a fierce drive to see justice done. For these three people, who have each seen the darkest side of human nature, the body of the murdered girl is but the first in a series of shocking and sordid revelations.
Now, as Jeffrey and Sara narrow the field of suspects, they must confront their own doubts and indiscretions, while Lena Adams sees herself reflected in the frightened eyes of a battered woman who may be the key figure in the case. As Faithless builds to a stunning and unforgettable climax, Karin Slaughter masterfully brings together strands of interlocking lives, family secrets, and hidden passions with one astounding truth: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed.
From the Hardcover edition.
Sara Linton stood at the front door of her parents' house holding so many plastic grocery bags in her hands that she couldn't feel her fingers. Using her elbow, she tried to open the door but ended up smacking her shoulder into the glass pane. She edged back and pressed her foot against the handle, but the door still would not budge. Finally, she gave up and knocked with her forehead.
Through the wavy glass, she watched her father making his way down the hallway. He opened the door with an uncharacteristic scowl on his face.
"Why didn't you make two trips?" Eddie demanded, taking some of the bags from her.
"Why is the door locked?"
"Your car's less than fifteen feet away."
"Dad," Sara countered. "Why is the door locked?"
He was looking over her shoulder. "Your car is filthy." He put the bags down on the floor. "You think you can handle two trips to the kitchen with these?"
Sara opened her mouth to answer, but he was already walking down the front steps. She asked, "Where are you going?"
"To wash your car."
"It's fifty degrees out."
He turned and gave her a meaningful look. "Dirt sticks no matter the climate." He sounded like a Shakespearean actor instead of a plumber from rural Georgia.
By the time she had formed a response, he was already inside the garage.
Sara stood on the porch as her father came back out with the requisite supplies to wash her car. He hitched up his sweatpants as he knelt to fill the bucket with water. Sara recognized the pants from high school--her high school; she had worn them for track practice.
"You gonna just stand there letting the cold in?" Cathy asked, pulling Sara inside and closing the door.
Sara bent down so that her mother could kiss her on the cheek. Much to Sara's dismay, she had been a good foot taller than her mother since the fifth grade. While Tessa, Sara's younger sister, had inherited their mother's petite build, blond hair and effortless poise, Sara looked like a neighbor's child who had come for lunch one afternoon and decided to stay.
Cathy bent down to pick up some of the grocery bags, then seemed to think better of it. "Get these, will you?"
Sara scooped all eight bags into her hands, risking her fingers again. "What's wrong?" she asked, thinking her mother looked a little under the weather.
"Isabella," Cathy answered, and Sara suppressed a laugh. Her aunt Bella was the only person Sara knew who traveled with her own stock of liquor.
Cathy whispered, "Tequila," the same way she might say "Cancer."
Sara cringed in sympathy. "Has she said how long she's staying?"
"Not yet," Cathy replied. Bella hated Grant County and had not visited since Tessa was born. Two days ago, she had shown up with three suitcases in the back of her convertible Mercedes and no explanations.
Normally, Bella would not have been able to get away with any sort of secrecy, but in keeping with the new "Don't ask, don't tell" ethos of the Linton family, no one had pressed her for an explanation. So much had changed since Tessa was attacked last year. They were all still shell-shocked, though no one seemed to want to talk about it. In a split second, Tessa's assailant had altered not just Tessa but the entire family. Sara often wondered if any of them would ever fully recover.
Sara asked, "Why was the door locked?"
"Must've been Tessa," Cathy said, and for just a moment her eyes watered.
"Go on in," Cathy interrupted, indicating the kitchen. "I'll be there in a minute."
Sara shifted the bags and walked down the hallway, glancing...