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Kisscut: A Grant County Thriller

Kisscut: A Grant County Thriller

4.2 268
by Karin Slaughter

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Gillian Flynn says, "Karin Slaughter is simply one of the best thriller writers working today."

Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton—the town's pediatrician and


Gillian Flynn says, "Karin Slaughter is simply one of the best thriller writers working today."

Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton—the town's pediatrician and medical examiner—finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister's death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it's going to happen again . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Aptly named novelist Slaughter (Blindsighted) brings back her horribly scarred cast of Grant County, Ga., cops and coroners for more murder, mayhem and horrific sexual violence. Pathologist Sara Linton, who has been dating her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, is witness to Tolliver's fatal shooting of a teenage girl when the girl threatens to shoot a 16-year-old boy in a standoff outside the local skating rink. A search of the rink turns up a dismembered fetus in a toilet; Sara's postmortem reveals the girl had a long history of abuse most gruesomely, her vagina is sewn shut. Working the case alongside Jeffrey is Det. Lena Adams, herself the victim of a recent abduction and rape, who is also trying, with difficulty, to come to terms with the death of her gay sister. Questioning Mark, the boy who was almost shot, Lena gradually uncovers a true horror show of pedophilia, incest and kiddie porn, an inverted world where parents rape their children before peddling them to strangers for money and blackmail. Slaughter adheres to the traditional mystery format, but turns up the shock factor tenfold, demonstrating that the deepest depravity can be business as usual in small towns as well as big cities. The undertone of violence is pervasive, even at quiet moments ("Lena was able to pull her hand away, but not before she felt Grace's thumb brush across the scar.... The touch was tender, almost sexual, and Lena could see the charge Grace got out of it"), amplifying Slaughter's equation of intimacy with menace and placing her squarely in the ranks of Cornwell and Reichs. (Sept.) Forecast: Slaughter's much-praised first novel, Blindsighted, put her on the thriller map. Kisscut, a featured alternate selection of the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Mystery Guild and BOMC, could make her a bestseller. 10-city author tour. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Slaughter's second novel picks right up where her acclaimed debut, Blindsighted, left off-with Grant County, GA, pediatrician/coroner Sara Linton fighting crime with Jeffrey Tolliver, her ex-husband and the chief of police. It all starts one hot night in the parking lot of a skating rink: teenager Jenny Weaver is threatening to shoot Mark Patterson, but before she can pull the trigger, Jeffrey is forced to kill her. Was Jenny the mother of the 23-week-old fetus that Sara finds in the skating rink bathroom? Was Mark the father? Had he jilted Jenny, earning her wrath? Sara's autopsy answers some of these questions; Jenny was most certainly not the mother, as she had been a victim of genital mutilation and had her vagina sewn shut. This first disturbing discovery leads to many others, and before the week is out many dark secrets involving child pornography, pedophilia, and incest are exposed. With the same graphic detail found in her first novel and in those by Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, Slaughter has again written a fast-paced thriller for those not faint of heart. Recommended for most public library thriller collections. [Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Mystery Guild, and BOMC alternate selections; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/02.]-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
If novels were sold with parental advisories, Dr. Sara Linton’s second case (after Blindsighted, 2001) would be plastered with every warning notice they make. The opening sequence, in which Sara’s ex, Grant County police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, is forced to shoot Jenny Weaver, a troubled teenager who’s apparently just tried to flush a newborn baby down a skating-rink toilet when Jenny draws down on Mark Patterson and begs the chief to shoot first, would get an R for violence and adult themes. The autopsies on Jenny and the baby offer horrifying reasons why Sara can be sure Jenny wasn’t the mother and hadn’t been sexually active for months. The interviews with Jenny’s trash-talking classmates are starkly depressing. And the questions revolving around the ensuing investigation—who were the baby’s parents, and why was Jenny so determined either to kill Mark or die herself?—only broaden into still more monstrous revelations, beginning with a web of child abusers and getting ever darker until they overflow the whodunit’s traditional promise of closure. Readers prepared to take the plunge will be rewarded with the uncommon intensity Slaughter brings to everything from action to dialogue and her peculiarly literary sense of humor (in addition to characters named Eddie Linton and Hare Earnshaw, she dubs a pedophile Arthur Prynne).

It’s not easy to transcend a model like Patricia Cornwell, but Slaughter does so in a thriller whose breakneck plotting and not-for-the-squeamish forensics provide grim manifestations of a deeper evil her mystery trumpets without ever quite containing.

Author tour

“Engrossing…[with] meticulous characterizations.”
People Magazine
"Engrossing…[with] meticulous characterizations."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Few young writers show more promise than the thirty-year-old Slaughter. She writes…with skill, anger, sensitivity, and compassion.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Grant County Series , #2
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Dancing Queen," Sara Linton mumbled with the music as she made her way around the skating rink. "Young and sweet, only seventeen."

She heard a furious clicking of wheels to her left and turned just in time to catch a small child before he crashed into her.

"Justin?" she asked, recognizing the seven year old. She held him up by the back of his shirt as his ankles wobbled over his in-line skates.

"Hey, Dr. Linton," Justin managed around gasps for breath. His helmet was too big for his head, and he pushed it back several times as he tried to look up at her.

Sara returned his smile, trying not to laugh. "Hello, Justin."

"I guess you like this music, huh? My mom likes it, too." He stared at her openly, his lips slightly parted. Like most of Sara's patients, Justin seemed a bit shocked to see her outside of the clinic. Sometimes she wondered if they thought she lived in the basement there, waiting for them to get colds or fevers so she could see them.

"Anyway," Justin pushed back his helmet again, knocking himself in the nose with his elbow pad. "I saw you singing it."

"Here," Sara offered, leaning down to adjust the chin strap. The music in the rink was so loud that Sara could feel the bass vibrating through the plastic buckle as she tightened it under his chin.

"Thanks," Justin yelled, then for some reason he put both his hands on top of the helmet, as if to rest them. The motion threw him off balance, and he stumbled, clamping on to Sara's leg.

Sara grabbed his shirt again and led them both over to the safety railing lining the rink. After trying on a pair of in-line skates herself, Sara had askedfor the old four-wheel kind, not wanting to fall on her ass in front of half the town.

"Wow." Justin giggled, throwing his arms over the railing for support. He was looking down at her skates. "Your feet are so huge!"

Sara looked down at her skates, feeling a flush of embarrassment. She had been teased about her large feet since she was seven years old. After nearly thirty years of hearing it, Sara still felt the urge to hide under the bed with a bowl of chocolate-fudge ice cream.

"You're wearing boy's skates!" Justin screeched, letting go of the rail so that he could point at her black skates. Sara caught him just before he hit the ground.

"Sweety," Sara whispered politely into his ear. "Remember this when you're due for your booster shots."

Justin managed a smile for his pediatrician. "I think my mom wants me," he mumbled, edging along the rail, hand over hand, casting a wary eye over his shoulder to make sure Sara was not following him.

She crossed her arms, leaning against the railing as she watched him go. Sara loved kids, a characteristic most pediatricians shared, but there was something to be said for not spending her Saturday night surrounded by them.

"That your date?" Tessa asked, coming to a stop beside her.

Sara gave her sister a hard look. "Remind me how I got roped into this."

Tessa tried to smile. "Because you love me?"

"Right," Sara returned caustically. Across the rink, Sara picked out Devon Lockwood, Tessa's latest boyfriend, who also worked in the Linton family's plumbing business. Devon was leading his nephew around the kiddy rink while his brother watched.

"His mother hates me," Tessa mumbled. "She gives me nasty looks every time I get near him."

"Daddy's the same way about us," Sara reminded her.

Devon noticed them staring and waved.

"He's good with children," Sara noted, returning his wave.

"He's good with his hands," Tessa said in a low voice, almost to herself. She turned back to Sara. "Speaking of which, where's Jeffrey?"

Sara looked back at the front entrance, wondering that herself. Wondering, too, why she cared whether or not her ex-husband showed up. "I don't know," she answered. "When did this place get so packed?"

"It's Saturday night and football season hasn't started; what else are people going to do?" Tessa asked, but did not let Sara change the subject. "Where's Jeffrey?"

"Maybe he won't come."

Tessa smiled in a way that let Sara know she was holding back a snide comment.

"Go ahead and say it."

"I wasn't going to say anything," Tessa said, and Sara could not tell if she was lying or not.

"We're just dating." Sara paused, wondering whom she was trying to convince, Tessa or herself. She added, "It's not even serious."

"I know."

"We've barely even kissed."

Tessa held up her palms in resignation. "I know," she repeated, a smirk on her lips.

"Just a few dates. That's all."

"You don't have to convince me."

Sara groaned as she leaned back against the railing. She felt stupid, like a teenager instead of a grown woman. She had divorced Jeffrey two years ago after catching him with the woman who owned the sign shop in town. Why she had started seeing him again was as much a mystery to Sara as it was to her family.

A ballad came on, and the lights dimmed. Sara watched the mirrored ball drop down from the ceiling, scattering little squares of light all over the rink.

"I need to go to the bathroom," Sara told her sister. "Will you keep an eye out for Jeff?"

Tessa glanced over Sara's shoulder. "Somebody just went in."

"There are two stalls now." Sara turned toward the women's rest room just in time to see a large teenage girl go in. Sara recognized the girl as Jenny Weaver, one of her patients. She waved, but the girl didn't see her.

Tessa muttered, "Hope you can wait."

Kisscut. 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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Kisscut 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 268 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This gripping novel, while too truthful and realistic for some, rang true to me. The characterizations were totally believable (take it from someone in law enforcement and familiar with sex offenders). I enjoyed the dialogue and dynamics between sisters. Those that want a 'happily ever after' sort of read will be disappointed - life just isn't like that sometimes. Readers looking for reality and insight into this disturbing subject will find it here. This is without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the parking lot of the popular Heartsdale, Georgia teen hangout skating rink Jenny Weaver threatens to shoot Mark Patterson. Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver is forced to kill the teenage girl. His former wife pediatrician and Grant County coroner Sara Linton witnesses the fatal shooting. Inside a toilet of the rink resides a dismembered fetus. Sara's autopsy of Jenny provides several strange clues that do not add up. The deceased was a long time abuse victim, Her battered vagina had been sewn shut and there is no evidence of any recent sexual activity to produce a fetus. Detective Lena Adams, a victim of rape and grieving the death of her sister interrogates Mark. Soon she learns the horrifying perverted secrets of a town with quite a sideshow of pediophile, incest, and child pornography and prostitution. Living up to her surname, Karin Slaughter provides readers with a graphic thriller that combines elements of a police procedural with that of a medical examiner tale. The story line catches the audience from the start, but fans should not dive in with a full stomach as KISSCUT tears into boundaries rarely seen in a thriller. The author eases some of the tension by the use of puns and other humorous devices that at times can be missed due to the high level of excitement. Those who enjoy Patricia Cornwall will relish this novel and Ms. Slaughter¿s previous book (see BLINDSIGHTED), but this writer adds more red meat in her recipe. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grest book.... ending was not what I was expecting and ruined the whole thing.
countrygirl3 More than 1 year ago
HORRIBLE!!!!! What a waste of time and money, the more I read the worse it got. If you like reading about incest, pediophilea, rape and torture this book is for you, not for me. I will NEVER waste my money on this author again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book but only for strong stomach. People were complaining about too sick and graphic stuff but that's what is happening in real life too no matter how horrible it is.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was OK. The Jeffrey character is too one dimensional. Too much off topic, got boring at times. Seems like author goes for shock instead of writing deeper. Not the caliber of Gone Girl or Dark Places, not even close.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It helps to read series in order. I enjoyed this book kept me interesred. I think it makes you realize how many sick people are in the world and this issue is a problem and hopefully makes people aware of the many abused children. With that in mind it does deal with a sensitive issue and it may bother some people.
Mseer More than 1 year ago
Why invest in a character if the author plan's to kill them off? Jeffrey dies in the 4th book, I will not waste my time on this author again.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This storyline couldnt possibly get more creative and unique! I always find myself wondering where the hell authors like Slaughter come up with these scenarios that are so incredibly real-life that its scary. This book will have you thinking and thinking the whole time, trying to figure it all out. Then when you finally DO get to that point, youll be like "wow i never wouldve suspected THAT to be the case!"... jaw dropping, thrill seeking, white knuckle grasping, crazzzzy awesome book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why all the bad language! Good otherwise. Kathy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was pulled in at the beginning but the plot continued in a downward spiral. I stuck with it hoping for redemption, answers and just a little itty bitty chance of hope of joy for the characters and town. The book ends with none of these.
Jim2E More than 1 year ago
The plot of this book is good and it is continued from previous books. For me,there were too many characters to keep track of. Overall, I enjoyed the book.
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