Broken (Will Trent Series #4)

Broken (Will Trent Series #4)

by Karin Slaughter

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101887448
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Series: Will Trent Series , #4
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 46,127
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of numerous thrillers, including Cop Town, Unseen, Criminal, Fallen, Broken, Undone, Fractured, Beyond Reach, Triptych, Faithless, and the e-original short stories “Snatched” and “Busted.” She is a native of Georgia.


Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Fortunately, the winter weather meant the body at the bottom of the lake would be well preserved, though the chill on the shore was bone-aching, the sort of thing that made you strain to remember what August had been like. The sun on your face. The sweat running down your back. The way the air conditioner in your car blew out a fog because it could not keep up with the heat. As much as Lena Adams strained to remember, all thoughts of warmth were lost on this rainy November morning.

"Found her," the dive captain called. He was directing his men from the shore, his voice muffled by the constant shush of the pouring rain. Lena held up her hand in a wave, water sliding down the sleeve of the bulky parka she had thrown on when the call had come in at three this morning. The rain wasn't hard, but it was relentless, tapping her back insistently, slapping against the umbrella that rested on her shoulder. Visibility was about thirty feet. Everything beyond that was coated in a hazy fog. She closed her eyes, thinking back to her warm bed, the warmer body that had been wrapped around her.

The shrill ring of a phone at three in the morning was never a good sound, especially when you were a cop. Lena had woken out of a dead sleep, her heart pounding, her hand automatically snatching up the receiver, pressing it to her ear. She was the senior detective on call, so she in turn had to start other phones ringing across south Georgia. Her chief. The coroner. Fire and rescue. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation to let them know that a body had been found on state land. The Georgia Emergency Management Authority, who kept a list of eager civilian volunteers ready to look for dead bodies on a moment's notice.

They were all gathered here at the lake, but the smart people were waiting in their vehicles, heat blasting while a chill wind rocked the chassis like a baby in a cradle. Dan Brock, the proprietor of the local funeral home who did double duty as the town coroner, was asleep in his van, head back against the seat, mouth gaping open. Even the EMTs were safely tucked inside the ambulance. Lena could see their faces peering through the windows in the back doors. Occasionally, a hand would reach out, the ember of a cigarette glowing in the dawn light.

She held an evidence bag in her hand. It contained a letter found near the shore. The paper had been torn from a larger piece--college ruled, approximately eight and a half inches by six. The words were all caps. Ballpoint pen. One line. No signature. Not the usual spiteful or pitiful farewell, but clear enough: I want it over.

In many ways, suicides were more difficult investigations than homicides. With a murdered person, there was always someone you could blame. There were clues you could follow to the bad guy, a clear pattern you could lay out to explain to the family of the victim exactly why their loved one had been stolen away from them. Or, if not why, then who the bastard was who'd ruined their lives.

With suicides, the victim is the murderer. The person upon whom the blame rests is also the person whose loss is felt most deeply. They are not around to take the recriminations for their death, the natural anger anyone feels when there is a loss. What the dead leave instead is a void that all the pain and sorrow in the world can never fill. Mother and father, sisters, brothers, friends, and other relatives--all find themselves with no one to punish for their loss.

And people always want to punish someone when a life is unexpectedly taken.

This was why it was the investigator's job to make sure every single inch of the death scene was measured and recorded. Every cigarette butt, every discarded piece of trash or paper, had to be catalogued, checked for fingerprints, and sent to the lab for analysis. The weather was noted in the initial report. The various officers and emergency personnel on scene were recorded in a log. If a crowd was present, photographs were taken. License plates were checked. The suicide victim's life was investigated just as thoroughly as with a homicide: Who were her friends? Who were her lovers? Was there a husband? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Were there angry neighbors or envious co-workers?

Lena knew only what they had found so far: a pair of women's sneakers, size eight, placed a few feet away from the suicide note. Inside the left shoe was a cheap ring--twelve-karat gold with a lifeless ruby at the center. The right shoe contained a white Swiss Army watch with fake diamonds for numbers. Underneath this was the folded note.

I want it over.

Not much of a comfort for those left behind.

Suddenly, there was a splash of water as one of the divers surfaced from the lake. His partner came up beside him. They each struggled against the silt on the lake bottom as they dragged the body out of the cold water and into the cold rain. The dead girl was small, making the effort seem exaggerated, but quickly Lena saw the reason for their struggle. A thick, industrial-looking chain was wrapped around her waist with a bright yellow padlock that hung low, like a belt buckle. Attached to the chain were two cinder blocks.

Sometimes in policing, there were small miracles. The victim had obviously been trying to make sure she couldn't back out. If not for the cinder blocks weighing her down, the current would have probably taken the body into the middle of the lake, making it almost impossible to find her.

Lake Grant was a thirty-two-hundred-acre man-made body of water that was three hundred feet deep in places. Underneath the surface were abandoned houses, small cottages and shacks where people had once lived before the area was turned into a reservoir. There were stores and churches and a cotton mill that had survived the Civil War only to be shut down during the Depression. All of this had been wiped out by the rushing waters of the Ochawahee River so that Grant County could have a reliable source of electricity.

The National Forestry Service owned the best part of the lake, over a thousand acres that wrapped around the water like a cowl. One side touched the residential area where the more fortunate lived, and the other bordered the Grant Institute of Technology, a small but thriving state university with almost five thousand students enrolled.

Sixty percent of the lake's eighty-mile shoreline was owned by the State Forestry Division. The most popular spot by far was this one, what the locals called Lover's Point. Campers were allowed to stake tents. Teenagers came here to party, often leaving behind empty beer bottles and used condoms. Occasionally, there would be a call about a fire someone had let get out of control, and once, a rabid bear had been reported, only to turn out to be an elderly chocolate Labrador who had wandered away from his owners' campsite.

And bodies were occasionally found here, too. Once, a girl had been buried alive. Several men, predictably teenagers, had drowned performing various acts of stupidity. Last summer, a child had broken her neck diving into the shallow waters of the cove.

The two divers paused, letting the water drip off the body before resuming their task. Finally, nods went around and they dragged the young woman onto the shore. The cinder blocks left a deep furrow in the sandy ground. It was six-thirty in the morning, and the moon seemed to wink at the sun as it began its slow climb over the horizon. The ambulance doors swung open. The EMTs cursed at the bitter cold as they rolled out the gurney. One of them had a pair of bolt cutters hefted over his shoulder. He slammed his hand on the hood of the coroner's van, and Dan Brock startled, comically flailing his arms in the air. He gave the EMT a stern look, but stayed where he was. Lena couldn't blame him for not wanting to rush into the rain. The victim wasn't going anywhere except the morgue. There was no need for lights and sirens.

Lena walked closer to the body, carefully folding the evidence bag containing the suicide note into her jacket pocket and taking out a pen and her spiral-bound notebook. Crooking her umbrella between her neck and shoulder, she wrote the time, date, weather, number of EMTs, number of divers, number of cars and cops, what the terrain was like, noted the solemnity of the scene, the absence of spectators--all the details that would need to be typed exactly into the report.

The victim was around Lena's height, five-four, but she was built much smaller. Her wrists were delicate, like a bird's. The fingernails were uneven, bitten down to the quick. She had black hair and extremely white skin. She was probably in her early twenties. Her open eyes were clouded like cotton. Her mouth was closed. The lips looked ragged, as if she chewed them out of nervous habit. Or maybe a fish had gotten hungry.

Her body was lighter without the drag of the water, and it only took three of the divers to heft her onto the waiting gurney. Muck from the bottom of the lake covered her head to toe. Water dripped from her clothes--blue jeans, a black fleece shirt, white socks, no sneakers, an unzipped, dark blue warm-up jacket with a Nike logo on the front. The gurney shifted, and her head turned away from Lena.

Lena stopped writing. "Wait a minute," she called, knowing something was wrong. She put her notebook in her pocket as she took a step closer to the body. She had seen a flash of light at the back of the girl's neck--something silver, maybe a necklace. Pondweed draped across the victim's throat and shoulders like a shroud. Lena used the tip of her pen to push away the slippery green tendrils. Something was moving beneath the skin, rippling the flesh the same way the rain rippled the tide.

The divers noticed the undulations, too. They all bent down for a better look. The skin fluttered like something out of a horror movie.

One of them asked, "What the--"

"Jesus!" Lena jumped back quickly as a small minnow slithered out from a slit in the girl's neck.

The divers laughed the way men do when they don't want to admit they've just soiled themselves. For her part, Lena put her hand to her chest, hoping no one noticed that her heart had practically exploded. She took a gulp of air. The minnow was floundering in the mud. One of the men picked it up and tossed it back into the lake. The dive captain made the inevitable joke about something being fishy.

Lena shot him a hard look before leaning down toward the body. The slit where the fish had come out was at the back of the neck, just to the right of the spine. She guessed the wound was an inch wide, tops. The open flesh was puckered from the water, but at one point the injury had been clean, precise--the kind of incision that was made by a very sharp knife.

"Somebody go wake up Brock," she said.

This wasn't a suicide investigation anymore.



CHAPTER TWO

Frank Wallace never smoked in his county-issued Lincoln Town Car, but the cloth seats had absorbed the fug of nicotine that seeped from every pore in his body. He reminded Lena of Pig Pen from the Peanuts comic strip. No matter how clean he was or how often he changed his clothes, the stench followed him like a dust cloud.

"What's wrong?" he demanded, not even giving her time to shut the car door.

Lena shucked her wet parka onto the floorboard. Earlier, she had thrown on a jacket with two shirts underneath to help fight the cold. Still, even with the heat blasting, her teeth were chattering. It was as if her body had stored up all the chill while she was standing outside in the rain and only let it out now that she was safely sheltered.

She held her hands up to the vent. "God, it's freezing."

"What's wrong?" Frank repeated. He made a show of pulling back his black leather glove so he could see his watch.

Lena shivered involuntarily. She couldn't keep the excitement out of her voice. No cop would ever admit it to a civilian, but murders were the most exciting cases to work. Lena was so pumped through with adrenaline that she was surprised the cold was getting to her. Through chattering teeth, she told him, "It's not a suicide."

Frank looked even more annoyed. "Brock agree with you?"

Brock had gone back to sleep in his van while he waited for the chains to be cut, which they both knew because they could see his back molars from where they were sitting. "Brock wouldn't know his ass from a hole in the ground," Lena shot back. She rubbed her arms to coax some warmth back into her body.

Frank took out his flask and handed it to her. She took a quick sip, the whisky burning its way down her throat and into her stomach. Frank took a hefty drink of his own before returning the flask to his coat pocket.

She told him, "There's a knife wound in the neck."

"Brock's?"

Lena gave him a withering glance. "The dead girl." She leaned down and searched her parka for the wallet she had found in the pocket of the woman's jacket.

Frank said, "Could be self-inflicted."

"Not possible." She put her hand to the back of her neck. "Blade went in about here. The killer was standing behind her. Probably took her by surprise."

Frank grumbled, "You get that from one of your textbooks?"

Lena held her tongue, something she wasn't used to doing. Frank had been interim police chief for the last four years. Everything that happened in the three cities that comprised Grant County fell under his purview. Madison and Avondale carried the usual drug problems and domestic violence, but Heartsdale was supposed to be easy. The college was here, and the affluent residents were vocal about crime.

Even without that, complicated cases had the tendency to turn Frank into an asshole. Actually, life in general could turn him into an asshole. His coffee going cold. The engine in his car not catching on the first try. The ink running dry in his pen. Frank hadn't always been like this. He'd certainly leaned toward grumpy for as long as Lena had known him, but his attitude lately was tinged with an underlying fury that seemed ready to boil to the surface. Anything could set him off. In the blink of an eye he'd turn from being manageably irritated to downright mean.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Broken"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Karin Slaughter.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Broken 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 418 reviews.
THRILL-SEEKER More than 1 year ago
Karin Slaughter raises the stakes once again, taking this genre for a thrillride. She captivates with BROKEN, her best storytelling yet, and takes her vivid and tried and true characters in new and unforgettable directions. Unlike so many others in her field, Slaughter NEVER phones it in. She is truly the hardest working thriller writer on the market, and the one with the most visionary and wicked imagination. I could barely wait for this one to pop today. I'm stunned by the misinformation and lack of facts in the front page review, whose writer proudly but ignorantly states this book was released in 09. Reviewers should have the good sense to fact-check before mouthing off. This one is a winner and, as is always the case with Slaughter, a serious departure.
christytilleryfrench More than 1 year ago
Former coroner Sara Linton hasn't visited her hometown in Grant County, Georgia since the death of her husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver. Almost four years later, she returns, planning to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Shortly thereafter, Tommy Braham, a mentally disabled young man, is arrested for the murder of Allison Spooner and asks that Sara, his former pediatrician, visit him. When Sara arrives at the jail, it appears Tommy has committed suicide. Sara, who blames the arresting officer, Lena Adams, for her husband's death, immediately suspects Lena mishandled the interrogation and provided the young man the means to kill himself. After she calls in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent Will Trent arrives in Grant County, where he is met with stubborn resistance from the police department. Sara is asked to perform autopsies on Tommy and Allison as Trent investigates both murders while trying to unravel the complexities of Lena's involvement in Tommy's murder, as well as that of Chief Tolliver. Slaughter once more provides a tense thriller centered around Sara Linton. Although the character Jeffrey Tolliver is certainly missed, this book proves the series can move forward without his presence. Slaughter is adept at providing dark, complex characters and does not disappoint with this outing. Her revelations concerning the desperate measures hardworking, indigent people will resort to is insightful and empathetic.
BookAddictFL More than 1 year ago
Broken is Karin Slaughter at her finest. Dr. Sara Linton, the star of this ongoing series, takes a backseat in this novel. Slaughter gives Special Agent Will Trent, a character we've met in earlier novels, the starring role here. Will is a flawed but incredibly likable character who brings a new spark to this series. It's not often that a twist in a story truly takes me by surprise. However, Slaughter manages it with ease here. The story moves at a quick pace, we are given great imagery without lengthy descriptions, the characters feel real, and the tangled plot kept me reading. I will be honest and say that I was disappointed in Slaughter's last book and was a bit leery of reading this one. But nothing about Broken was a let down. I enjoyed every word! ** I received this book as a first-read from the www.Goodreads.com giveaway. **
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book, good reading...will keep you engaged till the end....
harstan More than 1 year ago
Four years ago, in Heartsdale, Grant County's popular police chief Tolliver was murdered; the case remains unsolved. His widow Dr. Sara Linton was the county coroner and ran a children's clinic, but left after her spouse died. She is back in town visiting her family on Thanksgiving yet is still thirsting for her husband's homicide to be resolved although she is positive that Officer Lena Adams is at the center of her husband's homicide. At the same time, Special Agent Will Trent is also in Grant County to investigate a questionable death oif a prisoner. Not surprising, he finds the local police officers circling the wagons protecting each other form the intruder. Will concludes that Police Officer Lena Adams is concealing something, but is not sure what or why. As he struggles with the uncooperative cops, he is taken aback when Dr. Linton asks him to look into her husband's murder, a cold case. Trent is being pulled by two women in opposite directions of the Blue Line that keeps him outside in spite of being law enforcement too. This is an intriguing Grant County thriller (see Faithless, Undone and Blindsided) as Will instead of Sara holds the story line together with two females yanking him in opposite directions. The insightful look at the learning disorder agraphia augments the taut tale as it showcases how an individual learns to conceal a problem with some form of over compensation. In a starring role, Will brings freshness to the plot as he investigates two deaths that cast the Grants County Police Office in a shroud of darkness. Harriet Klausner
ThrilList More than 1 year ago
We've waited to see Lena and Sara again for so long! This merging of the Will Trent story line and Grant County is not to be missed.
gutsrus99 More than 1 year ago
I've been an avid reader of Karin Slaughter and have enjoyed following the characters in her books, from Will to Sara. Karin has made these characters come to life for us, her fans. And Broken continues the great storyline of both characters. Her books will grip you and you just can't put them down. I recommend Broken if you need a good book to read.
trishcTN More than 1 year ago
With Karin Slaughter you can never go wrong. This is the Best, I could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with Karin's previous books, "Broken" is an intense page-turner. What impresses me with her new work is how skillfully Karin weaves the worlds of Grant County and Will Trent together.
Avid_ReaderLL More than 1 year ago
Broken is a good name for this book because to me that's exactly what the Grant County series is...broken. Killing off Jeffrey Tolliver has destroyed this series for me. While Slaughter writes fantastic mysteries that keep you guessing, they also tend to be rather dark. In the earlier Grant County novels, this was balanced with the journey and ongoing love story of Sara and Jeffrey. However, now there is no balance and I found this book just dark and depressing. Broken is set 4 years after Jeffrey's death, but it might as well have been the day after. All the characters in Grant County, including Sara that returned, seem to have gone on a downward spiral unable to move past Jeffrey's death. If the book isn't focusing on Will Trent solving the mystery, it waxes nostalgic about Jeffrey, reminding fans that there won't be a happy ending. The biggest insult to me is the fact that Lena, who is partially responsible for Jeffrey's death, is now involved with Jeffrey's biological son and really hasn't redeemed herself at all. Maybe there is some greater plan for these characters, but frankly I don't care anymore. I'm disappointed and walking away from a series that used to be fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for her next book; her sytle is wonderful and makes every book a page-turner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved every paige
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm still unsure of my feelings towards some characters but the story had me hooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like her books. Keeps you guessing.
Bearcatrawr More than 1 year ago
When I first bought this book, I expected it would be good. I had read one of the other Sara Linton books by Karin Slaughter a few months ago and I completely enjoyed it. What I didn't expect was for it to be even better! Karin adds suspense in a way it envelopes you. You can't wait to turn the page. You can't even seem to Fathom "who dun it" either. You may have your suspicions but Karin puts each character in a light so they either look like they all did it or not a single soul did. You seem to delve into the book, the people and the town. Like you're recalling a memory rather than reading. The end was breathtaking. I was completely surprised. Even after having finished the book, I find myself thinking about how the end ties to the rest of the book. Karin gives you clues throughout, but you don't get them until the final verdict. I had actually finished reading this particular book while I was at work. It was so exciting I finished it and ended up being late back from lunch. I had stood up and made my way to the office door, but I just couldn't put the book down, to continue it later. I love this book. In combination with Kisscut by Karin, I will devote my reading time to all of the Slaughter books. I can't wait to start the next one!
Lizard10 More than 1 year ago
This is the eighth in the series and I recommend reading them in order to get the development of the characters to date. Still, each is complete in itself and can be read singly. This story is intricate in that the leads don't always point the right way. Clues that seem pertinent may or may not be vital to finding the culprit. The personal feelings between several of the characters provide a compulsion for the characters to pursue their paths. In an unusual twist (and this is not a spoiler), two of the main characters never come face to face in this book, yet both are instrumental in the story. I would not rate this as a cozy read, but if you like serious mystery books, read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a pretty good read overall. The first part of the book gathers you in and keeps your interest by developing a story line and detailing conflict between characters. The last third or so of the book, however, seems to move too fast and tries to pack way too much detail into a short amount of space. The author tries to pull together way too many loose ends and it seems like she rushes and does not make it easy to follow. I do think this is a good read, but wish there was additional background earlier in the book to help make it easier to follow the resolution.
Shannon71 More than 1 year ago
Karin Slaughter outdoes herself again!!! Was well worth waiting for!! Loved it!
ctfrench on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Former coroner Sara Linton hasn¿t visited her hometown in Grant County, Georgia since the death of her husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver. Almost four years later, she returns, planning to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Shortly thereafter, Tommy Braham, a mentally disabled young man, is arrested for the murder of Allison Spooner and asks that Sara, his former pediatrician, visit him. When Sara arrives at the jail, it appears Tommy has committed suicide. Sara, who blames the arresting officer, Lena Adams, for her husband¿s death, immediately suspects Lena mishandled the interrogation and provided the young man the means to kill himself. After she calls in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent Will Trent arrives in Grant County, where he is met with stubborn resistance from the police department. Sara is asked to perform autopsies on Tommy and Allison as Trent investigates both murders while trying to unravel the complexities of Lena¿s involvement in Tommy¿s murder, as well as that of Chief Tolliver. Slaughter once more provides a tense thriller centered around Sara Linton. Although the character Jeffrey Tolliver is certainly missed, this book proves the series can move forward without his presence. Slaughter is adept at providing dark, complex characters and does not disappoint with this outing. Her revelations concerning the desperate measures hardworking, indigent people will resort to is insightful and empathetic.
ceh0017 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
I would have to agree with most of the reviews below. I thought when one of the main characters back a few books was killed off that the books would never be the same, and that is true but they are still worth reading. This one wasn't my favorite of Karin's, but definitely worth reading if you are into the series. Hopefully Fallen will be better!
SenoraG163 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Truly one of Slaughter's best books! I was so disappointed when a few books back a main charactors was killed off and I thought the books would never be the same. They were still great but this one tops them all.Can be a stand alone read but I think it will be enjoyed much better if you have read the other Grant County books in the series and know the backgrounds of the old characters.Thanks so much First Reads for a chance to read this before it's release. I highly recommend it!!
daisygrl09 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Would recommend. Page turner.
Altarasabine on LibraryThing 27 days ago
A intricately woven thriller that will have you on edge and guessing till the very end. Skillfully entwines the different ranges of human emotion into highly entertaining characters. An emotional roller coast ride of love/hate relationships between the reader and the characters. Has the complete package that makes a great thriller; revenge, greed, suspense, devotion. What more could one ask for?
Darcia on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Broken is Karin Slaughter at her finest. Dr. Sara Linton, the star of this ongoing series, takes a backseat in this novel. Slaughter gives Special Agent Will Trent, a character we've met in earlier novels, the starring role here. Will is a flawed but incredibly likable character who brings a new spark to this series.It's not often that a twist in a story truly takes me by surprise. However, Slaughter manages it with ease here. The story moves at a quick pace, we are given great imagery without lengthy descriptions, the characters feel real, and the tangled plot kept me reading.I will be honest and say that I was disappointed in Slaughter's last book and was a bit leery of reading this one. But nothing about Broken was a let down. I enjoyed every word!** I received this book as an early review. **
caitemaire on LibraryThing 27 days ago
The police of a small college town in Grant County, Georgia receive an anonymous phone call that a young college student may have killed herself and when police first find her body in the lake, it does appear to be a suicide. There is a note, her shoes at the side of the water, but on a little further investigation, Officer Lena Adams discovers that the girl had been stabbed in the back of her neck and that they are dealing with a case of murder. Along with the temporary police chief, a veteran cop whose always seems to have a smell of alcohol on his breath these days, and a third officer, they go to check out the residence of the victim and through a combination of carelessness, incompetence, and bad luck, one person ends up dead and another perhaps fatally injured. Lena realize that if she is to save her career...let alone discover the murderer..a little creative explanation may be in order. But that is nothing new for Lena.Called in to investigate what has happened, and try to break through the Blue Wall of Silence that arises very quickly, is Special Agent Will Trent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. To add to the drama, the person who made the call for the outside investigator is Dr. Sara Linton, a woman with a history, a very checkered history, with this town and many of the people involved. She is home for a quick visit from Atlanta to see her family over Thanksgiving, but just a few years ago she lived in Grant County, was the local doctor and part time coroner and her now deceased husband was the very respected chief of police. The chief of police whose death was the fault of Officer Adams in Sara's mind. And she is determined that Lena will not get away with skirting responsibility for someone else's death.Trent quickly realizes that the local police are covering up something, but when a second student turns up dead, a student who without question was killed with the same weapon as the first but this time in an even more horrible and bloody way, SA Trent has his hands filled with all the interconnected threads of this investigation. The local police are hostile and offering little help. He has the expertise of Sara to assist him, but she is not without her own biases that may obscure her view of the facts. She is clever enough though to rather quickly figure out Will's secret, a secret that may hamper his ability and could mean the end of his career if it comes known.Oh, there are a lot of secrets here in Grant County!This is the seventh book in the Slaughter's Grant County series, a fact I did not realize until well into the book. These characters have all appeared before and previous books have explored their own histories and their previous interactions but this book is easily successful as a standalone. Slaughter is careful to explain the parts of the characters pasts that are relevant in this story, and little references to past incidents have me very curious to check out the earlier books in the series.While the plot of this book is quite good, I think the real strength of the story lies in the characters.. and what a bunch they are. There is no easy black and white here. They are a flawed group, with sometimes complex motivations, that the author skillfully explores. As a reader, flawed and complex is very interesting. The dialogue is very well written and the characters act in a realistic and intelligent way. Now, I did have a few issues with the story, small issues. It is hard to believe that Will could have advanced to this point in his career without his secret being found out and I must say I found Sara a bit whiny. But part of that may be beacuse I have not read the previous books in the series where their own stories have been explored more. Also, I must say I thought the ending was a bit rushed and not totally logical, but these are small flaws in what is, overall, a very good suspense novel.This is the first of Karin Slaughters that I have read (yes, that is her real name, and yes, quite a nam