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4.2 50
by Karin Slaughter

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Sometimes a past comes back to kill . . .

Two armed men enter the police station in tiny Heartsdale, Georgia, and open fire. When the shooting stops, an officer is dead, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver is seriously wounded, and the survivors—including a class of grade-school children and medical examiner Sara Linton—are held hostage. In a tense standoff


Sometimes a past comes back to kill . . .

Two armed men enter the police station in tiny Heartsdale, Georgia, and open fire. When the shooting stops, an officer is dead, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver is seriously wounded, and the survivors—including a class of grade-school children and medical examiner Sara Linton—are held hostage. In a tense standoff that could erupt at any moment into more bloodletting—with her ex-husband on the threshold of death—Sara must search for answers and an escape in the memories of a time at the start of their relationship when another brutal, shocking crime shattered their small-town world. Because the sins of the past have caught up with Sara and Jeffrey . . . with a vengeance.

Editorial Reviews

Dennis Drabelle
Throughout Indelible, Slaughter excels at pitting one strong character against another. A long conversation between Sara and her mother, as Sara gets ready to go off for a weekend with Jeffrey and her mother takes over the packing, epitomizes the blend of love, bossiness, resistance, banter and tenuous compromise that shapes relations between a tough-minded parent and a willful child. And in Slaughter's steady hands, the trajectory of Sara and Jeffrey's off-and-on romance is clear and convincing.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Complex characters with credible relationships underpin this gripping prequel to Slaughter's Blindsighted (2001). Georgia pediatrician/medical examiner Sara Linton is visiting her ex-husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver, when two malevolent strangers, hauntingly familiar to Sara, pull out guns at the station house, where several schoolchildren are on a class trip, and bloody mayhem ensues. The action shifts to the past, when new lovers Sara and Jeffrey detour to his hometown on their way to a beach weekend. A nostalgic tour of Jeffrey's youth turns sinister as buried secrets and injustices slowly come to light. An ugly midnight encounter with Jeffrey's sloshed mother sends Sara outside in time to hear gunshots from the neighboring house of Jeffrey's childhood friend Robert, a cop, who's found bleeding, gun in hand, across the bedroom from his dead victim. Sara is grateful to perform the autopsy, knowing there's more than meets the eye in this puzzling crime scene. The couple's budding romance is put to the test as Sara tries to coax answers from tight-lipped Jeffrey, whose silence and suspicious actions nourish her doubts. Slaughter's tightly disciplined rhythm and occasional sly humor keep readers hooked right up to the end. Agent, Victoria Sanders. (Aug. 1) Forecast: Blurbs from Michael Connolly, Harlan Coben and Laura Lippman, plus a four-city author tour, will help build Slaughter's reputation for crime suspense. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Hostage taking follows a policeman's slaughter at the station. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A hostage crisis sends medical examiner Sara Linton hurtling through a maze of memories to a nightmare from her earliest days with her ex-husband, Grant County police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. The two young men who enter the Grant County police station-just as the morning shift is beginning-work with military precision, killing and wounding several officers and visiting school children and subduing a jittery patrolman, an elderly secretary, and the medical examiner. When their escape route is cut off, they methodically secure the building and keep the gathering crowd of law enforcement officials at bay. Realizing at length that Jeffrey has been the target of this bloodbath, both the feds outside the station and Sara (A Faint Cold Fear, 2003, etc.), trapped inside, struggle to figure out who hated the Chief enough to create such havoc. Through a series of extended flashbacks to a trip Sara and dangerously sexy Jeffrey took from Georgia to his hometown of Sylacauga, Alabama, Slaughter hints at the roots of the devastation: the night Jeffrey's old school friend Robert killed an intruder in his home and Jeffrey helped him work out a plausible story, a story Sara knew even then was bogus. Amazingly, Slaughter manages between past and present stories while maintaining suspense in both by the simple device of showing the pettiest, most everyday conflicts imaginable constantly in danger of exploding in violence. Agent: Victoria Sanders/Victoria Sanders & Associates
Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Harrowing…Compelling…Solidly and uniquely plotted…Realistic and believable…Indelible again proves the superb indelible mark Slaughte is making on mystery fiction.”
Entertainment Weekly
“[Slaughter] has a bighearted way…and a knack for grisly detail.”
New York Daily News
“Skillfully told in both the then and the now, and quite scary on both fronts.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Well–crafted…Slaughter skillfully maintains the tension in the parallel stories.”
Daily Telegraph (Sydney
“Lauded on two continents as the most significant new voice in American crime fiction.”
Daily Telegraph (Sydney))
"Lauded on two continents as the most significant new voice in American crime fiction."
Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
"Lauded on two continents as the most significant new voice in American crime fiction."
Gillian Flynn
“Simply one of the best thriller writers working today.”
Tess Gerritsen
“A fearless writer. One of the boldest thriller writers working today.”
Michael Connelly
“Her characters, plot, and pacing are unrivaled among thriller writers.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Grant County Series , #4
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.17(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Novel

Chapter One

8:55 A.M.

"Well, look what the cat dragged in," Marla Simms bellowed, giving Sara a pointed look over her silver-rimmed bifocals. The secretary for the police station held a magazine in her arthritic hands, but she set it aside, indicating she had plenty of time to talk.

Sara forced some cheer into her voice, though she had purposefully timed her visit for Marla's coffee break. "Hey, Marla. How're you doing?"

The old woman stared for a beat, a tinge of disapproval putting a crease in her naturally down-turned lips. Sara forced herself not to squirm. Marla had taught the children's Sunday school class at the Primitive Baptist from the day they opened the front doors, and she could still put the fear of God into anyone in town who'd been born after 1952.

She kept her eyes locked on Sara. "Haven't seen you around here in a while."

"Hm," Sara offered, glancing over Marla's shoulder, trying to see into Jeffrey's office. His door was open but he was not behind his desk. The squad room was empty, which meant he was probably in the back. Sara knew she should just walk behind the counter and find him herself -- she had done it hundreds of times before -- but survivor's instinct kept her from crossing that bridge without first paying the troll.

Marla sat back in her chair, her arms folded. "Nice day out," she said, her tone still casual.

Sara glanced out the door at Main Street, where heat made the asphalt look wavy. The air this morning was humid enough to open every pore on her body. "Sure is."

"And don't you look pretty this morning," Marla continued, indicating the linen dress Sara had chosen after going through nearly every item of clothing in her closet. "What's the occasion?"

"Nothing special," Sara lied. Before she knew what she was doing, she started to fidget with her briefcase, shifting from one foot to the other like she was four instead of nearly forty.

A glimmer of victory flashed in the older woman's eyes. She drew out the silence a bit more before asking, "How's your mama and them?"

"Good," Sara answered, trying not to sound too circumspect. She wasn't naive enough to believe that her private life was no one else's business -- in a county as small as Grant, Sara could barely sneeze without the phone ringing from up the street with a helpful "Bless you" -- but she would be damned if she'd make it easy for them to gather their information.

"And your sister?"

Sara was about to respond when Brad Stephens saved her by tripping through the front door. The young patrolman caught himself before he fell flat on his face, but the momentum popped his hat off his head and onto the floor at Sara's feet. His gun belt and nightstick flopped under his arms like extra appendages. Behind him, a gaggle of prepubescent children squawked with laughter at his less-than-graceful entrance.

"Oh," Brad said, looking at Sara, then back to the kids, then at Sara again. He picked up his hat, brushing it off with more care than was warranted. She imagined he could not decide which was more embarrassing: eight 10-year-olds laughing at his clumsiness or his former pediatrician fighting an obvious smile of amusement.

Apparently, the latter was worse. He turned back to the group, his voice deeper than usual as if to assert some authority. "This, of course, is the station house, where we do business. Police business. Uh, and we're in the lobby now." Brad glanced at Sara. To call the area where they stood a lobby was a bit of a stretch. The room was barely ten feet by eight, with a cement block wall opposite the glass door at the entrance. A row of photographs showing various squads in the Grant County police force lined the wall to Sara's right, a large portrait in the center showing Mac Anders, the only police officer in the history of the force who had been killed in the line of duty.

Across from the portrait gallery, Marla stood sentry behind a tall beige laminate counter that separated visitors from the squad room. She was not a naturally short woman, but age had made her so by crooking her body into a nearly perfect question mark. Her glasses were usually halfway down the bridge of her nose, and Sara, who wore glasses to read, was always tempted to push them back up. Not that Sara would ever do such a thing. For all Marla knew about everybody and their neighbor -- and their dog -- in town, not much was known about her. She was a widow with no children. Her husband had died in the Second World War. She had always lived on Hemlock, which was two streets over from Sara's parents. She knitted and she taught Sunday school and worked full-time at the station answering phones and trying to make sense of the mountains of paperwork. These facts hardly offered great insight into Marla Simms. Still, Sara always thought there had to be more to the life of a woman who had lived some eighty-odd years, even if she'd lived all of them in the same house where she had been born.

Brad continued his tour of the station, pointing to the large, open room behind Marla. "Back there's where the detectives and patrol officers like myself conduct their business ... calls and whatnot. Talking to witnesses, writing reports, typing stuff into the computer, and, uh ..." His voice trailed off as he finally noticed he was losing his audience. Most of the children could barely see over the counter. Even if they could, thirty empty desks spread out in rows of five with various sizes of filing cabinets between them were hardly attention grabbing. Sara imagined the kids were wishing they had stayed in school today ...

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

Meet the Author

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.

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Indelible 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
elaynecm51 More than 1 year ago
I started reading Karin Slaughter's themed books because I liked the characters of Dr. Sara Linton and Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver. I like to buy 2 or 3 books from a series so that I have the next one ready when I finish the first one. I do this because I can't wait to read on and see what is going on with my characters. Karin Slaughter writes in a fashion that makes easy reading but always keeps your interest. I especially enjoyed Indelible as it touches on the minor characters also. I highly recommend you start reading the Grant County series from the first book to the most recent. I guarantee you will enjoy them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just read all of Karin Slaughters books and have loved all but this one.She is an excellent writer with characters you take turns really liking and not liking them at all. The brutal xplicit sex scenes have been necessary to he plot in previous books How ever in Indelible. I had the feeling that the sex scene between Lucy and Jeffrey in the truck in this book was for pornographic value only and added nothing to the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another over-the-top, ridiculous story from a vastly overrated author. In every Slaughter book a homosexual is either (a) the bad guy (b) murdered. And *every* major female character has been raped. You can almost imagine the author rewriting scenes to make them more, more, MORE shocking. I found the story absurd and way too long. In flashback, Jeffrey hates his hometown, never goes there, yet swerves there on whim on a so-called Florida vacation with Sarah. In real time, JUST at the moment that a shootout of this hicksville, no-wheres police station is about to go down, Sarah happens to be there. Adding to the 'drama,' a bunch of 7-yr olds are getting a tour. Why not throw in a grandmother to get shot...? Oh, wait -- she did. These characters are the most unlikeable collection assembled in a series that I know of. Low-class in their heart of hearts. If you're into debasement, this is the book for you. If you're into an intelligent thriller, keep moving.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Couldn't get into this book as much of it seemed contrived. Taking a side trip to Alabama to stay overnight with an alcoholic mother instead of going to the beach doesn't make sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recieved this book. After reading about 15 pages of it, i found myself bored, and not interested in the simple and uneventfull. If you are interested in boring dull books, i would recomend it to you. But if you like something that is a bit mor upbeat and more fascinating i wouldnt suggest reading it
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a great scenario with the acute development of the hostage situation early on. If the objective of going back in time to tell prior stories is to keep the readers turning the pages then this tactic is simply annoying. What went on in the past is a stretch to what is happening now. The way the author gets us back is even more unreal. Jeffrey, one of the protagonist, has repeatedly mentioned how he hates the town, how much he 's ashamed of it, then it makes no sense at all to go back out of the blue. A huge problem there as to the approach of writing about the past. Additionally, there is nothing likable about the guy. He's a player. And for Sara to fall for him only serves to further cement the common belief or myth that women like bad boys. Keeping in mind, she's a physician. What does she see in him? Aside from the great sex, nothing. Then there is not much to explain their divorce. Whatever that conflict was, at the end, we are to simply believe they are back together again. That's just not real! The storyline isn't very original. Similar plots and themes have been employed by other authors such Richard North Patterson with much more intensity and believable writing. Nonetheless, it was an ok read. Just not as good as others.
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Lny11 More than 1 year ago
At first the novel had too much going on at one time but once you get past the back and forth it gets better.
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