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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kisscut - Karin Slaughter

Released June 2011 (Reissue)

Karin Slaughter

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Kisscut is the second novel in Karin Slaughter's series about medical examiner/pediatrician Sara Linton. Sara and her sister spend an evening at the local roller rink and Sara really needs to use the rest room but it's occupied by a couple of local teens. When they finally leave, Jenny, one of Sara's patients, bumps into her but rushes off without speaking to Sara. After touching the door handle, Sara realizes it's covered in a blood and finds a dead, mutilated baby in the toilet. Outside, Sara's ex-husband Chief of Police Jeffrey Tolliver battles with Jenny who is threatening to kill a local boy. When the Jenny begins to act on her threats, he's forced to shoot her.

Performing an autopsy on Jenny isn't easy for Sara, especially when she knew her so well. She finds no evidence that Jenny had given birth, but there are obvious signs she'd been raped. Worse, someone removed the girl's labia and sewed her vagina shut. Jeffrey and Sara must now uncover this horrible crime and find out what really happened to Jenny.

Kisscut is not for the faint of heart. It's gritty, gory, and incredibly realistic. To break up the tension, there's a romantic angle between Sara and her ex. They love each other but his indiscretions were too much for her to take. Now he wants a second chance and she really wants him in her life, but she's also hesitant because he once cheated. That angle will appeal to romance readers.

This is a spoiler if you didn't read Blindsighted, if you plan to stop reading! One of Jeffrey's detectives, Lena Adams was raped in the first book. Her sister was also murdered in that book. Lena's mental state is on the edge in Kisscut. The story also cuts away to her attempts to deal with the emotional and physical pain she's endured and her actions may very well put her job on the line.

One thing I love about Karin Slaughter's crime novels is that they are horribly realistic. Incredible detail goes into the book, as gruesome as it may be she captures the stark reality of the crimes.  There's a Canadian show I love called Da Vinci's Inquest - Season 1. The reason I love this show is that unlike CSI, not every crime is solved in one episode and DNA tests take weeks or months to come back. Some cases are never solved at all. It's sad but that's real life. There are thousands of cold cases out there where a killer got away. Karin Slaughter's books remind me of  Da Vinci's Inquest - Season 2 because nothing resolves easily. The tension builds up throughout the book and keeps you on the edge of your seat for that reason. As gruesome as the subject matter may be, I loved Kisscut just as much as I loved Blindsighted.

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