Harper, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
his excellent debut thriller stars young Dr. Sara Linton, who is a pediatrician and also the coroner for Grant County, Georgia. By page eleven, she is not only covered, but bathed in blood, after finding the first victim in a restaurant washroom. What was done to the blind college professor haunts Sara and devastates the victim's edgy sister Lena, who has a huge chip on her shoulder and happens to also be a police detective.
he situation is even more convoluted. Dr. Linton is the ex-wife of police chief Jeffery Tolliver, who badly wants her back. She cannot forgive his infidelity and, while still attracted to her ex, has begun to date again. As the investigation of the first death proceeds, a young college student goes missing and soon Dr. Linton stumbles on another violated body, positioned with deliberate use of religious symbolism. Why are they being placed where she will find them?
here turns out to be a connection between current events, disturbing annual postcards sent to Sara, and her own past. She is finally forced to confront it and, most reluctantly, to reveal what happened to Tolliver. And, as in the best of recent coroner thrillers, intriguing technical information is integral to the story, in this case the effects of a herb that causes '
'in those who ingest it.
ou won't want to put
down once you pick it up. It's a gruesome, compelling read whose characters have enough breadth and depth to be flawed. You will want to meet them again, and to share their subsequent adventures. Luckily a second volume,
, is already out in hardcover.
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