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Indelible is my fourth Karin Slaughter book and although was one I read quickly as I enjoyed it, it didn't quite live up to the last three in my opinion.
Jeffrey Tolliver Chief of Police and his ex-wife (divorced but seeing each other again) Sara Linton are in Jeffrey's office heatedly discussing the point of not getting re-married when Jeffrey is summoned to the front desk by the secretary as there is a young man waiting to see him. Sara gives up the argument and follows Jeffrey through intending to leave the station and carry on with her days work as local paediatrician and county coroner.
That is until the young man at the front desk, blasts his way through most of the squad in the room and detectives entering the station. Jeffrey is seriously wounded in the shoulder and a group of children on a school visit are wounded and scared. Sara goes to Jeffrey and it soon becomes clear what the deranged gun man wants.
There are two stories working side by side here and they are separated by the fact that one is the present day gun siege at the station and the other is going back in time to when Jeffrey and Sara first met. These chapters seem to dominate the book to be honest as there were more crimes to be solved in Jeffrey's home town when he first took Sara there at the beginning of their relationship.
I enjoyed both sides to the story, although did find the story set back in time was a little over the top. Being the fourth book in a series featuring the same people, you do get to the point where you think how much more can a couple take? The double whammy of current day and past events only seemed to exacerbate this feeling and left me finding it a bit unrealistic. I am not fussy when it comes to crime thrillers as I don't expect it to mirror true life and am happy to fill in any blanks myself to an extent and even accept major coincidences in order to wrap things up, but this was just a little too much in my opinion.
A lot of the tension in the past tense story also hinged on Jeffrey and Sara's relationship and how they would react to each other. Mainly Sara's reactions were scrutinised as Jeffry had taken her to his hometown and she was finding out a lot of things about him that she had not known before. Things were coming into the open that Jeffrey had not expected and Sara was having to deal with some pretty awful things. I found this hard to sympathise with though as I had read the three previous books and knew what would happen with their relationship - good and bad - so although the details of their past were interesting it didn't create the tension and build up that I think was hoped for.
The thing I enjoyed about the book though was the fact that I got to know a little bit more about some of the smaller characters in the book that had been speckled through the previous stories and this was nice as page fillers although I would not refer to it as padding. The chapters were a little long for me and I do prefer shorter chapters so I can pick it up and read a couple at bedtime or while I have a spare ten minutes and it was harder to do that with this book, however it was nice when I had a while to read as you could really get into the story.
I have made this book sound quite negative but I really did enjoy it. I like Karin Slaughter as an author and really get pleasure from her books, and this novel was nearly as enjoyable and I certainly didn't get bored reading it but at the same time I didn't get that excitable edge as I had with the others. Still recommended though, especially if you have enjoyed the previous Grant County instalments.
Indelible by Karen Slaughter actually tells two stories within one book however the events in the present story are linked to the one set in the past so there are a series of flash backs to allow the reader to make some sense of the present day goings on.
When two heavily armed gunmen burst into a small town police station both medical examiner Sara Linton and her former husband police chief Jeffrey Tolliver are caught up in the cross fire. Tolliver is left seriously wounded and a number of his fellow officers are dead, Linton is left as one of the hostages along with two other police staff and a few school children who were on a school trip. It soon becomes apparent that this is not a random attack but a carefully targeted one against Tolliver however the identity of the two killers is a mystery to everyone. The second story takes the reader back twelve years to when as a newly dating couple Tolliver takes Linton back to his hometown of Heartsdale to meet his former friends. The trip is a disaster, his mother is an obscene alcoholic and no one paints a very positive picture of Tolliver and when his best friend shoots an intruder in his home both get involved in an investigation which has far reaching effect both then and in the future.
I have read a Karen Slaughter novel before and really enjoyed it and this was no different. It is not a classic but it is a fairly gripping read, a little simplistic at times maybe in the way the plot is constructed and as you become further immersed in the story from twelve years back the identity and motivation of the two killers and hostage takers becomes all the more obvious as does the eventual outcome in both storylines.
On the plus side the book has a fast pace to it and a good level of suspense throughout. One of the aspects I did like wit this book is the way that practically all of the characters are flawed in one way or another, this does mean that you have a little less empathy for the main characters but as the story draws to an end and you begin to fear for their survival then it felt strange to find that I actually did care, similarly you also feel a certain amount of empathy for the bad guys and this just helps to draw the reader in.
I also liked the fact that a certain amount of time was invested in giving personalities and interest angles to some of the more peripheral characters in the story and in fact there was almost a sub plot going on with one of the police officers almost as if a second follow up novel could be developed with her playing a more prominent role.
At first I struggled to think of the draw backs to this book, and there are some, it was just hard to pin down. At times the plot is a little plodding in nature and there are a few issues that are not totally explained. The biggest hole for me rests with the fact that the reader never really understands the motivation of Tolliver deciding to take Linton to visit Heartsdale all those years ago given that she does no really meet anyone who has a good thing to say about him during the visit as before joining the police he was heading into a life of crime. In addition while the motivation behind the present day attack is explained what is not explained is the reason for the attackers waiting until this particular time before they decided to take action, in the end the storyline leaves rather too many holes in it which gives the whole story a superficial sort of quality and lacking real depth.
Other than that the writing style is easy to read and it is engaging enough to capture the reader's attention without making it an addictive read.
The book is published by Random House and the rrp is £6.99. I obtained my copy through a swap on readitswapit.co.uk however copies are available on Amazon for £5.49 new or from a penny in the new and used section. The ISB is 0-09-946224-9.
Thanks for reading and rating my review.