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I found this book in a charity shop and thought it looked quite interesting so I thought I would give it a try. It cost me all of 50p so I thought that even if I didn't like it, I hadn't wasted much.
The basis of the story line is:
The main female character (Sara) is the local medical examiner and paediatrician and is divorced but still seeing the local Police chief (Jeffrey). A teenage girl is found pointing a gun at the head of boy her age at the local iceskating rink by Jeffrey while he and Sara are on a date there together. Jeffrey is forced to shoot the girl to save the life of her intended victim and struggles with his actions afterwards. Meanwhile, Sara finds the mutilated body of a premature baby in the toilet of the ice rink. The autopsy findings are particularly horrific and unexpected. Sara helps the police with their investigation but nobody seems to know anything or is it more of a case that no one is willing to say anything?
The tale twists around through some very uncomfortable subjects that may not be to the taste of every reader but the book gripped me from the first chapter which I found most unusual. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. I was stunned when I found out who the culprits were and would never have suspected them. The newly growing again relationship between Jeffrey and Sara is welll described even though Sara's family don't approve. The relationship doesn't detract from the main story line and I found that it helped to enhance it as it brought the characters to life more. If fact all of the characters are really believeable and interesting. You can almost feel that you are able to get inside their heads and understand what is going on. Certain characters actions are completely beyond my comprehension but then they are written that way. I could almost imagine the story appearing on the news so for me the plot was truly believable.
I will definitely read more of Karen Slaughter's books and have lent this one to a friend all ready
Having just had a rather long 6 weeks holiday i decided id catch up my reading so this is the first of many book reviews to hit the Dooyoo circuit so lets get started hey?
--*Karin Slaughter- the woman behind the books*--
Karin Slaughter was brought up in Atlanta, Georgia where she bases her novels and according to her website she spends most of her time split between the kitchen and the living room (sounds like my type of woman!). I believe she started writing because of her son but I'm not sure because I just heard this from the friend who got me into her books so don't quote me on it =D.
Kisscut is the second book in Karin Slaughters Grant County series, preceded by Blindsighted. The story follows Sara Linton Heartsdales Paediatrician and part time coroner and her ex husband but current partner police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver as they get entangled in yet another horrific crime in a small town. The story brings back a few favourite characters from the first book including Lena Adams, Jeffrey's young protégé who having recently lost her twin sister (read Blindsighted for more insight) is having a little trouble keeping on the straight and narrow and her uncle Hank an ex drug addict who is now a strict Christian who religiously attends his alcoholics anonymous meetings and preaches the good word.
When Jeffrey and Sara decide to go to the local in line skating rink for a reconciliation date little do they expect that a teenage feud will result in Jeffrey having to shoot a thirteen year old Jenny Weaver resulting in a shocking autopsy which draws her family straight into the middle of a shocking investigation when the autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse and ritualistic self-mutilation along with one or two other surprises. When another young girl in town is abducted, it become clear that something is seriously wrong within the town of Heartsdale and only the children can uncover the truth but will they aide Jeffrey, Lena and Sara in the investigation and help save the poor abducted girl?
A few new characters in the book can move you to tears including Lacey and Jenny who are caught up in this horrific story and are only young children themselves. Although there are other characters like Grace Patterson and Dottie Weaver which you would never want to meet on a dark night and can cause you some horrific problems if you are reading the book at night especially if you do manage to fall asleep.
Slaughters writing manages to keep me on edge for hours whilst I'm reading and following finishing the book although I don't really count myself as someone that gets scared easily with certain parts of her writing I find myself having to read on because not only is the suspense too much for me to bear but I know that If I don't continue to read on I will probably get nightmares if I don't find out who did certain things throughout the book.
Ok the book itself is a paperback which I am reviewing and it had a dark blue bind with a picture of a barbed wire circle above the authors name and the title KISSCUT which is written in a chilling almost ice blue at the bottom of the book. The first few pages of the book include praise for Blindsighted and Kisscut. Some of the praise for Kisscut is pretty impressive and I must say I do agree for example the Manchester Evening News says 'energetic, suspenseful writing from Slaughter, who spares no detail in this bloody account of violent sexual crime but also brings compassion and righteous anger to it.'
The story itself is a mixture of suspense and thrills from the abductions and horrific sexual crimes portrayed to a romance as the love story between Jeffrey and Sara adds extra layers to the book but does not take away from the fact that the book is meant to thrill, which it does so well. There are 432 pages to the story made from twenty-three chapters which is good as the chapters are not too long but not too short at the same time. At the end of the book Slaughter has also included the first chapter from her next book A Faint Cold Fear which after reading KISSCUT I was eager to read and after reading the short excerpt from the end of this book I must admit I was glad I had already purchased as I began reading it with 10 minutes of finishing this book.
--*The boring bit*--
I paid 2 pounds for my copy of Kisscut off play.com but I was very lucky to be honest as the RRP is 6.99 but to be honest its worth every penny and I have paid full price for all my other books in this series as I will reread them.
Chief Jeffrey Tolliver and his protégée Lena Adams work at Grant County Police Force. Their usual day does not involve much past parking tickets and robberies in the local store, so when Chief Tolliver is forced to shoot thirteen year old Jenny Weaver before she shoots another young teenager, Mark Patterson, at the ice rink in front of near enough the whole town, his week takes a turn for the worse.
His ex-wife (who he is dating again) is the local paediatrician and also the town's county coroner. Her autopsy on Jenny reveals far more to her character than anyone could ever have guessed and the reasons behind the culmination of her death are tantalisingly revealed.
If Jeffrey didn't feel bad enough, Jenny's mother has taken it badly and she is livid with the police and just about everyone but Jeffrey needs to dig deep into the family secrets to help him solve the reasons why he had to shoot Jenny on that fateful night.
I was actually quite shocked at this book. It is the second in a "series" by Karin Slaughter, with the first being Blindsighted. I had read Blindsighted first and to be honest was pleased I had. Kisscut could easily be read as a standalone book but it added some depth and understanding to the characters if you knew a little of their history before reading this. In fact I think it is almost essential to know of the history revolving around Lena Adams, Jeffrey's police assistant. She had some really heavy things to deal with in the first book and a lot of her emotions and reasons for doing or not doing various tasks and procedures in the second book directly relate to this.
I loved the way everything was revealed at quite an unhurried tempo too. I usually like my books to be action packed and have a lot of things revealed in quick succession, but this was different. I enjoyed the slower pace and in fact it made me far more absorbed in the characters than I would be usually. This gave me time think about their emotions and what was actually going on but I was never bored or left thinking it needed to pick up the pace at all.
Slaughter covers some really tough issues in this story which may be hard for some people to read about. I was shocked and saddened by what I was reading as it related to child abuse - sexual, physical and emotional and also some topics I had never read about anywhere, like Female Genital Mutilation. This is revealed very early on in the book and stunned me into complete silence as I was so not expecting it to be a topic that was covered. She never really goes into deep detail over any of the situations but it is written in enough description for you to be left clear about what happens. I have read my fair share of true life stories of abuse and while this could easily be a real life situation for some people, it was most definitely fiction in my mind and I was left feeling satisfied I had read an excellent story, without feeling regret or any deep sympathy for the characters.
This is a good thing for me as I really don't want to go away from a book feeling sad or low and this didn't do that for me, even though the subject matter was horrendous.
I love the character build up Slaughter has given us too. The back stories of the main characters filter and trickle in here and there, never noticeably being character building, but simply enjoyable little runs into a larger river. Everything flows really well through the book and no stones are left unturned for me which is just the way I like it. If I am going to read a piece of fiction I really don't want to be left with any questions. I can live with coincidence and implausibility in my books as long as everything ends up where it should be at the end.
One of my favourite, smaller characters was Hank, Lena's uncle. He was painted to be a bit of loser in the first book and although he had to look after Lena and her sister when they were growing up, he still drank heavily and injected heroine. He was really painted as a low life who did not deserve any second chances. However he had cleaned up for a good few years and his love for his niece, Lena, really shows through in this chapter of the series. I have really warmed to him and a whole new side comes forward for the reader in Kisscut and you do see how much pain he has been in.
Overall I am extremely pleased with this book, the second in the Grant County series, and have already started A Faint Cold Fear, the third book. If you are interested then I would recommend reading Blindsighted first if you can, but if not dive in as you should be able to get up to speed through references interspersed throughout to explain what happened with everyone.
What difference does the sex of an author make? Does one or the other dominate a genre? Its probably true that the vast majority of Romance fiction is written by women, whilst Westerns remain the domain of men. This theory falters is certain genres though, and specifically in crime fiction. For every Harlan Coben there is a Patricia Cornwell, for Michael Connelly, a Ruth Rendell. It seems that the genre is equally divided by authors of both sexes, so how come I rarely read the books written by women? It must be some chauvinistic tendency I have that the books written by women will not be aimed at me. With this in mind I decided to read a book by Karin Slaughter, a successful female author, to see if my opinions were right. What follows is an account that could show that I was right all along
Kisscut follows a case in the sleepy American borough of Grant County. This is the part of America that is not used to regular murders and attacks, so when Sheriff Jeffrey Tolliver has to shoot a 13 year old girl, the impact affects the whole town. With the aid of his lover Sara, the local paediatrician, and cop Lena, Jeffrey begins to explore why the girl came to be shot. They soon discover that her life was far more horrific than her death and that sleepy American towns can hold darker secrets than they could ever imagine.
When I write that this book looks at dark secrets, I mean pitch black. This book details actions such as rape and child molestation from a sensitive viewpoint. By this I mean the exploring of the feelings that the victims have. One of my typical authors may write about such horrific scenes but they would keep their tone neutral and be descriptive and not emotional. What Karin Slaughter brings to this story is a deeper understanding of the emotional turmoil a person can be forced through.
Is this a good thing? I personally do not like this over exploration of a characters feelings, as not only did it add 200 pages too much into the book, but also prevented the case from moving quickly along. I like my crime fiction to be action packed and ready to go. I admit to being shallow in my reading and learning how a woman was brutally held captive does not interest me. The book is nasty all the way through to its ambiguous ending, it just left me felling a little depressed and with no closure.
This over examination of feelings has a particularly negative impact on the character of Lena. This is a young female cop who has recently returned to work after a being captured and repeatedly raped. This alone is not pleasant, but add to this the fact we follow large chunks of the story through her eyes and it is clear that she should never have gone back to work. I appreciate the emotional anguish she is going through but investigating the death of a 13 year old girl is unlikely to help.
This trend by Slaughter of concentrating on the relationships within the book and not the story continues with the Sara and Jeffrey. We learn a lot about their relationship and see that they are getting together. As a small part of the novel I do not mind the introduction of character development, but here Slaughter concentrates far too many resources on things that I have little interest in.
Another criticism I have of the book is that it is far too graphic. I read a lot of crime books and they do have grim scenes. Kisscut explores areas in great detail that I have never really read about, including rape and paedophilia. I think that if a male author tried to explore how a woman feels like after being raped, they would fail. It takes a womens touch to understand what the issues are and how someone survives such an ordeal. Slaughter uses to her advantage the fact that she can tackle these more sensitive subject and for me it was just too much. I can appreciate that for female readers this may be a refreshing change to male authors who skim over the issues. But skimming is enough for me!
Although my criticism of how issues are tackled in the book is personal I think that the fact that its too long and too nasty is universal. Slaughter has written a mystery novel that hardly touches on the crime and instead reflects on the characters feelings. When I read a thriller or crime novel I am interested in the chase not the love lives and personal tragedies of the cast. This may not be the case for every reader but is for me. I will still read other novels written by women but will stick mostly to blokes writing as, if Slaughter is a typical example, they are more aimed at me.
Author: Karin Slaughter
Price: amazon uk - £4.54
play.com - £5.49