Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blindsighted, Karin Slaughter

It's series time again! This is actually a recommendation from a friend, and boy! was she right on.

I've been feeling like a binge read for a while now, and when the new Karin Slaughter came out, my friend was obsessed. So, when it was time to pick a new read, I thought I'd give the Grant County series a shot so I can catch up.

I completely understand her obsession now!

So, this is obviously book one. It's a mystery/thriller series taking place in Grant County, GA (Hey, that's the name of the series, too!!) where coroner and pediatrician, Sara, and her ex-husband and police chief, Jeffery, live and fight crime (couldn't help myself). Now, there is a...reconciliation brewing, but don't let that trick you into thinking this was a romance. It's all mystery/thriller. (Though I did call the killer right from his first appearance. :D booyah!)

So, the shit hits the fan when Sara comes across the body of a local woman in the bathroom. She's been stabbed and raped, and despite Sara's best efforts, she dies. To make things more difficult, the victims sister, Lena, is on the force. Jeffery's partner actually.

Now, as I said: Not a romance. But I do have to go over that part of the plot because it feeds into the murders (yup, the woman in the bathroom was just the beginning).
So, Jeffery and Sara were married for 6 years, until he cheated on her with the local sign maker. In the bed he shared with Sara. So, asshole, right? But wait, it takes 2 to make a relationship work, and it takes 2 to make it fail. Not that that excuses cheating. It absolutely does not. Nothing does. Just end the relationship if you want to move on. Period.

*end rant*

Anyway. That being said, a quick web search confirmed the majority of marriages survive an affair. As high as 80% of marriages according to some sources. And that's what Jeffery is trying to make happen. As I said, it takes 2, and Sara contributed to the failure by not being honest. Neither of them were honest. Sara's secret (and it is entirely her's to tell, and she should only do it when she's ready, but if you can't trust someone enough to share it, then you shouldn't marry them), is that she was raped before returning to Grant County.

She was a doctor in Atlanta. She was raped and left for dead in the hospital bathroom where she worked. Sounding familiar right?

As I've said time and time again, characters can make or break a book. These definitely made it. I love them, even when I wanted to reach into the book and knock some sense into them.

Sara should have never kept this from someone she was going to marry. If you trust him enough to marry him, you should trust him enough to tell him. Especially if you're still getting postcards from you assailant. But to keep it a secret from the Chief of Police while he's investigating a case with drastic similarities is just unbelievable. Especially for the coroner!!

She finally tells him, and he handles it wrong. Not because he doesn't love her, or is disgusted, or afraid to be with her, but because he can't read her mind. Shocking right? He really should be able to. *eye roll* He wanted to do something. He wanted to see if her rapist was in Grant County raping and killing again. He wanted to be able to tell her he had protected her, or that she was safe. Complete opposite of what she wanted/needed, sure, but it's not like she said, "I need you to comfort me" and he did the opposite. He wanted to fix it. That's the reaction most people would have. We want to help the people we love. We want to take the bad thing away. I think that's especially true for men.

Switching gears, back to Lena. So, the baddie kidnaps her and rapes her for 2 days. Maybe I should deliver that a little softer, but Slaughter sure as hell doesn't. And frankly, I applaud that. Rape is a horrific thing, it makes sense to want to leave it on the periphery, to talk about it after it's over. But to show parts, to see it through a victim's eyes makes it hard to read and uncomfortable and horrific. And it should be.

My heart broke for Lena. And Lena is not a likable character. She's a pain in the ass. She's one of those people who is so insecure and afraid that she hides behind a wall of anger and bravado. She thinks her uncle is weak because he was an addict. She also thinks he's week because he goes to AA/NA and got clean. You can't win. I think she's felt like an outsider all her life. I think she's always expecting people to look down on her, so that's what she always sees. That's how she treats people. A "leave them before they leave me" mentality. That doesn't make a very happy person.

I really hope she can recover. Despite her attitude, you kind of like her. Feel for her.

There are of course other characters, other detectives, suspects, witnesses. Another thing I really liked was the casual racism and sexism portrayed. I know that sounds weird to say that I like it. I don't the racism/sexism, I like how it was portrayed. We have to get over the idea that bigotry is obvious and that people who have it are inherently bad. If you don't think women should be cops because you see them as in need of protection, you're still sexist. You may not be a bad person because trying to take care of people, but you're still sexist. Now, if you throw bricks through a black man's window because you brought up his name to the cops and then the cops talked to him; and then take a shot at his house (shooting a cop in the process)...That makes you a racist asshole. The guy is in his 70s, but because he's black he must have raped and killed a 30 year old woman. Makes perfect sense. *eye roll* Still, despite this, however abhorrent it is, doesn't make the racist...I don't know...less of a family man, for example. People can be more than one thing. Have more than 1 label. They can be bigoted and... a good parent, or work at a homeless shelter, or do 100 other things that we attach positive attributes to. Bigotry is stealthy, and we always need to keep our eyes out. (As a little PSA, check out Project Implicit, the Harvard project that helps identify subconscious bias. You might be surprised by your beliefs.)

At the end, the bad guy dies and Jeffery saves Sara. I was unbelievably appreciative Slaughter didn't have them reconcile at the end. So often, the guy saves the girl and she falls into his arms, her near death experience having made her realize how much she loves him and wants to be with him. But while Sara is willing to crack the door at the end, it's far from a reconciliation. I'll be interested to keep reading and see how their relationship progresses. I'll be rooting for them (especially since Jeffery still doesn't know about the postcards). And Lena.

Blindsighted, Karin Slaughter

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