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Beyond Reach is the US title for the fifth book in the Grant County series from Karin Slaughter, and was entitled Skin Privileges in the UK, so be careful you don't buy this book thinking it's a new title in the series.
Synopsis: When Heartsdale police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, receives word that Lena Adams, one of his detectives has been arrested, he has no choice but to go to Lena's aid - taking his wife, Sara with him. But soon after their arrival, a second victim is found. The town closes ranks. And both Jeffrey and Sara find themselves entangled in a horrifying underground world of bigotry and rage - a violent world which shocks even them. A world which puts their own lives in jeopardy.
The principle protagonists in the series are Jeffrey Tolliver and his wife Sara Linton from whom he had been divorced but is now remarried. Jeffrey is a police chief in Heartsdale, Georgia and Sara is a piedietrician who also acts as the Grant County coroner.
Karin Slaughter is up there with the best when it comes to gritty and realistic crime fiction. She is from the Deep South and writes with a knowledge that only comes from having lived in that world. Her characters are beautifully created; never perfect but possessing human frailties, making them so much more believable.
Indeed, at the beginning of this series Jeffrey was a pretty unredeemable character in my eyes, having cheated on his wife with the local town floosy, hence their divorce. Such is the power of Karin Slaughter's writing however, that over the course of the series, I've grown to actually like Jeffrey although I still think that he was a lousy, cheating rat!
To appreciate this book it is definitely necesssary to have read the four previous books in the series, simply because there is so much backstory in them. It would be possible to read this as a stand-alone but I think the reader would miss out on many of the nuances in the text.
The story is fast paced and a real page-turner with the most astounding twist at the end. The final denoument of this story left me absolutely shocked. DO NOT READ THE LAST PAGE OF THIS STORY UNTIL YOU GET THERE!!
To sum up, this is another tour de force from Karin Slaughter but should really be read in sequence. If you've never encountered the Grant County series, please begin at the beginning.
The series so far:
4. A Faint Cold Fear