A Faint Cold Fear: A Grant County Thriller

A Faint Cold Fear: A Grant County Thriller

by Karin Slaughter
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A Faint Cold Fear: A Grant County Thriller by Karin Slaughter

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

An apparent student suicide has brought medical examiner Sara Linton to the local college campus, along with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. But a horribly mutilated corpse yields up few answers. And a suspicious rash of subsequent "suicides" suggests that a different kind of terror is stalking the youth of Heartsdale, Georgia—a nightmare that is coming to prey on Sara Linton's loved ones.

A small town is being transformed into a killing ground. And the key to a sadistic murderer's motive and identity may be held in the unsteady hands of a campus security guard—a former police detective driven from the force by the hellish memories that will never leave her. Lena Adams survived the unthinkable and has paid a devastating price. Now the survival of future victims may depend upon her ... when she can barely protect herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062385413
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/25/2015
Series: Grant County Thrillers
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 86,481
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television.

Read an Excerpt

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."


"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.

What People are Saying About This

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 followup to Slaughter’s debut in Blindsighted.”

Val McDermid

“An impressive new landmark on the thriller map.”

Reading Group Guide


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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A Faint Cold Fear: A Grant County Thriller 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 217 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very confusing and got off topic to something
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i have enjoyed ms. slaughters books on the whole. this one had a good plot, and was well written except for the repeated insistence on calling a shot gun a "rifle" i understand occasional errors sneak by the editing process but this book called a shot gun a rifle for page after page. every time it happened it knocked me out of the flow of the story. quite distracting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not realistic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The pace of this book is uneven, i would not read this author again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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Great read
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