Faint Cold Fear

Faint Cold Fear

by Karin Slaughter

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062021892
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/31/2011
Series: Grant County Series , #3
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.50(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.

Table of Contents

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 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
Karin_Fan More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read of Karin Slaughter's and I have to say that I fell completely and totally in love with it. The plot catches you from the beginning and doesn't leave you hanging at the end. The characters are so complex that you just want to believe that they are real because they seem that way in the book. If you are looking for a good read, pick thins book up and don't stop reading until you are finished!
Guest More than 1 year ago
On the local campus in Heartsdale, Georgia a boys' body is found. Although it looks like a suicide, Sara Linton, the towns medical examiner suspects foul play. Then, one after another, bodies start showing up, looking like suicides, but could this be possible? An epidemic of college suicides? Lena Adams, who survived a brutal rape and attempt against her life, was once a respected police detective, but now struggles working for an egotistical scumbag boss, with the college campus security. Lena sets out to prove that she is still a good detective and wants to solve this mystery, but she runs in to all kinds of obsticles that just make her look suspicious to the local police. This book is riveting! You won't be able to put it down. The pace is fast and the leads keep you guessing until the very last page is read. Karin Slaughter has woven together one of the best plots I've read so far this year!! You will never figure out who is the mastermind behind all these deaths!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pages and pages of mind-numbing dialogue between truly unlikeable characters interspersed with laughably improbable gore. At the appearance of murder #x (I'm trying to avoid spoilers here for those who feel they MUST read this really bad book), I actually nearly laughed -- I figured one more and the author would have written the perfect satire of the genre. Nothing rang true in this book. The bad guy became patently clear by the evil glint in his eye, even though it was very difficult to believe in his sudden and nonsensical transformation. The murders were meant to 'shock and awe' with their brutal details; the sex scenes were absurd, the dialogue, as I've said, went on and on without a reason, and the resolution was cheap and unsatisfying. Also, finally, there's a bit of small-mindedness to the book. Almost all of the bad things happen to or because of someone of mixed race, gay men, a skinhead, Jews.... As one pal pointed out, the one gay woman who had a heart of gold was incredibly ugly, as the author made sure to point out repeatedly.
Gizzie More than 1 year ago
One of her best - keeps you wanting to know the outcome. Good author
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up my first Slaughter book (Blindsighted) on a whim. I had read all of the books by Koontz and was looking for something to read. I'm glad I snagged it. I've been hooked on Karin Slaughter ever since. I'm no profession reviewer like a lot of people seem to be that post one, but I had to have my say. I enjoy a good story, and A Faint Cold Fear is a very good story, right along with all her other books. Yes she makes some mistakes, but rather than get offended, I tend to make the correction myself, in my head and not let it affect the story. Her characters are incredibly life-like and I find myself wanting to GO to Grant County and meet them even though I know there is no Grant County and the characters aren't real. She tells a story that will keep you hanging on the edge of your seat till the very end. I reccommend all of her books to date. Unless you sweat the small stuff, you will greatly enjoy them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was enjoying this book until I reached the point where the author confused shotguns and rifles. As she described the gauge/caliber of the 'skeet rifle,' I became more and more confused. These weapons are not the same. Sportsmen shoot skeet with shotguns that use ammo measured in gauge. It would take some crack shot to use a rifle for skeet, no matter what the caliber. These firearms are so far apart, only ignorance could mix them up. And the characters who are doing this are a police chief and a coroner? We are in trouble, folks. Finally, to save my reason, I closed the book forever on page 143.
wcath on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I enjoyed her first novel, Blindsighted, much more. Although this is very readable suspense it did not keep me on the edge of my seat like the first in this series. I have not read the second in the series, Kisscut, but I am hoping that it is more like Blindsighted.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing 7 months ago
College students appear to be committing suicide at an alarming rate, and their deaths are not your ordinary suicides. In amongst the suicides a young woman is brutally attacked not far from the scene of a suicide. How are the two related? Grant County just keeps getting better and better! Lots and lots of unexpected events happen in the lives of our main characters. I'm really intrigued as to where they will go in the next book. The case was unusual with just the right amount of gruesomeness as I've come to expect from Slaughter. A thrilling, fast-paced read with intriguing characters. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
debavp on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wow, this was much better than the last installment. Slaughter kept the pace moving right along. Too easy to give lots of things away here, suffice it to say you probably know won't who the villain is until the end, with a big surprise (but then again, maybe not???). Slaughter doesn't get bogged down with a lot of unnecessary descriptions. As for Sara, Slaughter uses her humanity along with a gentleness that gets the point across perfectly with regards to the forensics without beating the reader about the head with a over-sized medical dictionary.
emhromp2 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Karin Slaughter never disappoints. Again a good, decent thriller, almost Agatha Christie style, with the unexpected turn of events at the end of the novel. I am warming towards the characters more and more.
PermaSwooned on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is one of the series of Karin Slaughter books featuring police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, M.E. Sara Linton and the rest of the series cast of characters. This is one series that you should probably only read in order, and fairly close together, since they depend on the others. To me, that's a detriment.
DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
With A Faint Cold Fear, Karin Slaughter has taken her Grant County series up a notch. Fastpaced action combined with great character development kept the pages turning, and I am looking forward to the next installation.The main storyline revolves around a series of deaths at the local university. At first glance they appear as suicides, but are they? They must be connected, but Sherrif Jeffrey Tolliver is having difficulty finding the connection. His ex-wife, Medical Examine Sara Linton is involved with a nightmare of her own involving her family. I found the most interesting plotline was of Lena Adams, former Grant County deputy, now working as security at the university campus. Her life has been in a downward spiral since the first book, and she seems to be hitting rock bottom in this, the third book. I am curious to find out what is going to happen to this character. A Faint Cold Fear is a solid thriller, the author doesn't pull any punches, she takes us ona thrilling ride with skillful writing, great imagination and excellent characters.
tulikangaroo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very well written and engaging, as usual, though Lena drives me a little nuts. Most of my problem is I've read subsequent books and I know how well things go for her and Ethan. Other than that, Karin Slaughter's usual intelligence and wit are touching and refreshing, and her commitment to speaking out against racism and violence against women are in full force.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A Faint Cold Fear is well paced, with solid plotting that moves the story forward as the investigation twists around the characters. It starts with a suprising crime scene that gives an impression that quickly changes with the arrival of Sara who uses the injuries, described in detail, to determine that not all is as it seems. There is a lot of violence in this book - some overt, some hidden but Karin handles it well - it's never gratuitious but contributes to the story. There are enough victims and enough suspects to keep you off balance in determining who dunnit - personally I didn't see the last little reveal coming.I found Lena almost more intriguing than the murders, such a damaged woman and her behaviour so difficult to reconcile even though I know intellectually that it is not an unusual reaction to the tragedy she experienced.Suprisingly I haven't ever read this author before - as a fan of the genre I am not sure how I missed her - but I'll be hunting up some more of her work
RavenswoodPublishing on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Karin Slaughter is the absolute best crime/mystery writer I have come across in this day and age. Her novels will simply astound you with their heart-racing moments and intrigue. Every time I pick one of her novels up I cannot stop reading until I'm done and I still find myself begging for more. She's a writer with no fear! She wields her instruments like a knife ready to dig in deep and take you by surprise at every turn!
bjmitch on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I'm gradually becoming a solid fan of Karin Slaughter's mystery novels. In this one the lead characters are Sara Linton, medical examiner, and Jeffrey Tolliver, Chief of Police, of a small college town in Georgia. The college plays a large role in the story; it's supposedly a school for dorky types who don't fit in at the better known large universities in Georgia. Judging from the scene at one dorm party, though, these kids don't seem very nerdy at all.As this gripping story begins, the body of a young man has been found in the dry river bed under a bridge by the college. He has fallen or jumped from the bridge and his legs are shattered. Is it suicide? He has tried to slit his arm before. While Sara, Jeffrey, and others try to figure out what happened, Sara's very pregnant sister leaves Sara's car to go up a hill into the woods to relieve herself. They find her stabbed and bleeding profusely a few minutes later. In other words, the book grabs the reader by the neck and doesn't let go until the end.There is one masterfully drawn character in this book you won't soon forget. Lena is a former cop who now works for the college security department. She hates the job, mostly because of her bigoted, smarmy boss. She was an excellent cop but was the victim of one of the most terrifying violent kidnappings you'll ever read about. Her head still isn't back to normal, and neither is her body for that matter. I was impressed by the depiction of this woman and her struggle to keep it together.The other characters are well drawn too and although the plot kept me turning pages, it was the characters I really loved. Slaughter has been compared to Patricia Cornwall and Kathy Reichs and I can see the truth of that comparison, but I am more impressed with Slaughter's characters than Cornwall's. I highly recommend this book.
Darrol on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A sometimes moving book about the struggles to put a life back together after being a victim of violence. A few too many dead bodies in the course of 3 books to be quite plausible, but still a reasonably good series to read.
heidilove on LibraryThing 11 months ago
not literature by any stretch of the imagination, slaughter manages to put a grisled twist on the mystery genre and hold her own. perfect for plane rides, beach trips, or any bit of escapism.
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
Although I really liked A Faint Cold Fear, it's my least favorite book in the Grant County series so far. It doesn’t seem to have that same gripping tension from the first two that kept me reading long after I should have gone to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, no one does the whole creepy thriller quite like Karin Slaughter, but I just felt like something was missing from this one. That little extra something that pushes itself under my skin and keeps me riveted. That said, it is a thoroughly enjoyable story that has some unexpected twists, some really creepy characters, and an ending I never saw coming. Plot I can seen Karin Slaughter’s progression as an author by this third book in the series. She’s developed a more honed ability to bait the reader and reel us in slowly, which makes reading this one a little more fun. But the plot does lack the unputdownable aspect of her previous two novels in this series. Characters The characters are as solid as ever and it’s both painful and engrossing to watch them try to come to terms with their inner demons. Karin Slaughter does an amazing job of keeping it real when it comes to the horrific events that have shaped her characters’ lives. And she doesn’t sugar-coat it. She doesn’t care if we like her characters or not. Being likeable isn’t really key to the story, but being real is, and they are authentic. It’s this characterization that really moves A Faint Cold Fear along more than the plot. Bottom Line Another solid thriller in the Grant County series that keeps the reader guessing. The author draws on the events of the previous books to develop her characters to realistic perfection.
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lv2tig More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!I think the author is great.I have passed the book on,and everyone has loved it.
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