Friday, September 13, 2013
A Faint Cold Fear, Karin Slaughter
Ok, so in book 3 of Grant County, Lena has left the police force. She would say she was pushed out. She never met Jeffery's requirement for staying on: seeing a professional. Well, she did, but in typical Lena fashion, it was after she left and she didn't want to tell Jeffery because she thought he'd judge her. *eye roll* Which makes no sense because he was pushing her to do it. In actuality, he gave her an ultimatum, and she gave him her badge and gun. It was her choice to go.
So, we see her in this book at the site of what looks like a suicide working for campus security. And of course she's miserable. Chuck, the head of the security, is pretty much a dick, so that doesn't help matters. The whole situation is pretty awkward.
So the case revolves around a number of suicides. The first, seems odd, but there's nothing specific to point to to call it suspicious, let alone murder. It just escalates from there, the killer getting more and more careless.
Honestly, the case isn't that important. I mean, it structures the book, but it's not the primary point. This is what I think of as a set up book. The character development is the point, not the case. The killer was a slight surprise, as his presence in the previous books didn't indicate him being a psycho.
The real story here is Lena's continued downward spiral. While working on campus, she meets Ethan Green, a grad student, and starts a relationship with him. And OH! what a clusterfuck it is!
Ethan Green is a "reformed" neo-nazi on parole. As disgusting and despicable as that is, that's not my real issue with him. I actually do think you can reform those kinds of beliefs, because they are beliefs. You can stop being Christian, you can become religious, and you can stop hating. Think about people who think homosexuals are..evil or sinners or disgusting. Whatever term you want to attach. Then, after meeting someone who's gay, getting to know them, or finding out someone they know and love is gay, they change their beliefs. I think it works that way for any hate. Once someone is forced to push their hate aside, they're able to see clearly.
What isn't a belief, is abuse. Abusers don't "believe" in abuse. I mean, maybe you can argue they believe they're "teaching a lesson" or some other BS, but they don't really. It's just an excuse. And Ethan Green is an abuser of the highest cabilar. Physical and psychological. Oh, sure he apologizes after almost breaking Lena's wrist, before they're even dating, but don't they all. Isn't that how they operate?
And Lena falls into each and every trap he sets. Understand, I'm not blaming Lena for her situation. There's a whole pathology that goes along with abusive relationships. From the outside, there are things an abuse victim could do to help him or herself, but inside, it's a different story. It's hard to watch, it's hard to not want to swoop in and fix it.
While reading this book, it occurred to me that usually the characters who have a bad past are through the bad times when we meet them. We learn about their past through flashbacks or interactions with other characters. That's how we learned about Sara's rape and Jeffery's affair. But with Lena, we're experiencing it along with her in every excruciating detail.
At the end, I worry that Lena is too far gone. Chuck, her boss ends up dead, and Lena has the murder weapon hidden. Now, Chuck wasn't exactly innocent, but Lena still killed him. It seems like self defense, but she didn't tell Jeffery. In fact, she lied and told him the the suicide killer confessed to killing Chuck too. While, I think Lena is still good, as lost as she is, this may be a step too far. She's now a criminal. If she had just come clean, maybe....
Even characters in a damaged state, in a terrible position, need a moral compass. Lena has always seemed to struggle with where the line is, but even she must know she's left it far behind on this one.
I think one of these books is going to find Jeffery and Sara investigating Lena's death.
A Faint Cold Fear, Karin Slaughter