Grant County #4
Wow, on book nine of the challenge! Karin Slaughter brings to the table her fourth Grant County installment, Indelible. Again quick, witty, intense and hard hitting, a brilliant journey is undertaken from the first page of this novel.
Detective Lena Adams has been brought back onto the Grant County Police Force by police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. She is still a broken individual, but as they have all learned, she seems to be far better off with them then working for the university campus police. Shockingly, Lena is still fooling around with her extremely volatile and dangerous delinquent ex-white supremacist boyfriend Ethan Green (previously White).
A typical day in Grant County receives the worst shock when the police station is under siege: two gunmen, evidently military trained, have walked in and taken those inside hostage. Anyone who resisted died in a crazy shootout. A very bad day for all this to be going down as there was a school outing that had young children exploring the police station when the massacre began. Sara Linton, town coroner and pediatrician, is at the police station arguing with her ex-husband and current beau Jeffrey. The argument becomes petty and useless in the midst of the drama.
Lena’s first day back and the drama is not stopping. Georgia Bureau of Investigation sends in Agent Nick Shelton as well as negotiator Amanda Wagner to try to appease the situation. The shooters are after Jeffrey, and when he is pegged down in the gun battle, they seem to have won their war.
Flitting right back to 1991, Sara and Jeffrey’s holiday to Florida gets waylaid when he insists on taking Sara past his old hometown of Sylacauga, Alabama. Sara meets his childhood friends Jerry “Possum” Long and Robert Blakenship and their wives, Nell and Jessie. Sara discovers the trip was not so impromptu as Jeffrey would have her think, and she meets his drunkard mother, May Tolliver. Sara is getting a good look see at the real Jeffrey, and both battle with their feelings for one another. However, May says some cuttingly bad things to Sara, causing her to flee the house and Jeffrey to chase after her. While out in the streets, gunshots are fired and they race to the scene to find that Robert has shot and killed an “intruder”. Sheriff Clayton “Hoss” Hollister arrives at the scene and Sara is shocked to find that it seems that Jeffrey is changing the crime scene and getting a story straight for Robert, who is also in law enforcement.
Everything Sara thought she knew she begins to question. Who is this man? Jeffrey is very unpopular and disliked in Sylacauga, all because his father, Jimmy, left him with a really bad reputation due to his being a thief and then later tied to the murder of a cop. While Sara is doing the autopsy on the man that Robert apparently shot, a body turns up in an old cave that Jeffrey and his friends used while still in school. A young girl was murdered there many years ago. Jeffrey looks good for it, and all the nasty rumours and accusations about him come to the fore. All the while Sara is uncovering secrets about Jeffrey – some she will even not be able to discuss with him.
Will Jeffrey be able to withstand the stigma of his past and the rumours that flit around rampantly? Will Sara still want to be with them if she knows what a washout he is? In the present with the shootout, it seems an element of Jeffrey’s Sylacauga days have come back to haunt him, and survival seems slim at best. The past and the present collide with one another in a way that is not expected, and memories resurface without hesitation. The gunmen are intent on their target, they are hungry to spill Jeffrey’s blood, but the question lingers, why?
The story was fantastic, jumping between the present and the past that was done the most successfully I have ever seen in a book. I usually hate it when an author does that because it is inevitably always a screw up. However, she writes it in well, and it works, especially for the story it unfolds. It was great to get some more back story on Jeffrey and Sara’s relationship, and I love how it was not all given away too early in the series, but builds up to it. They have something undeniable between them, though they both stubbornly do not want to believe this. Lena also really needs to find a way to get her life back together, and the police force might be that way. Again with the writing, there is a distinct attachment you feel to the characters, and that is a rare achievement for authors. Excellent read!