A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter

A Faint Cold FearReviewed by Allen Hott

Suicides or murders? That is pretty much way that A Faint Cold Fear evolves as a small town police chief (Jeffrey Tolliver) and the medical examiner (Sara Linton) begin their investigations. A student at the local university is found dead next to a bridge on campus and is assumed to have leaped to his death. However while Tolliver and Linton are examining the scene Linton’s pregnant sister who had tagged along with Linton is attacked on a trail going through the nearby woods.

Tolliver and Linton were once married and though now divorced are quite friendly in their off duty hours. It is an on again off again arrangement and doesn’t prevent them from working together as an investigative team.

However this investigation really appears to be getting the best of them and all others concerned. Being a small town many ties that bind are familial and these tend to always bring in other complexities. There are also natural feuds between the different factions as the story moves along.

Members of the college staff are both directly and indirectly involved in many of the happenings. These happenings include another couple of deaths again somewhat clouded as to whether they are suicides or murders.

Lena Adams, a former member of Tolliver’s police force, who now works on the college campus security force, is often on the scene. She appears sometimes to be an investigator and at other times she appears to be a suspect. Part of her problem stems from having been abducted and raped in the recent past. People in the town are sympathetic to her feelings but also somewhat concerned about her current activities.

One of her activities recently has been an involvement with a college student who appears to be a neo-nazi type person and as it turns out has a record of previous criminal behaviors. His place in the activities that have taken place has Tolliver, Linton, and Adams greatly confused. He appears to be in the know and friendly with all concerned but perhaps lacking a motive.

Karin Slaughter is without a doubt one of the better mystery novelists of the day. Her plotting is second to none as she weaves people, events, and possibilities in and out of her stories. There is always more than one suspect and there usually is a completely different ending that the one the reader envisions. A Faint Cold Fear is true Slaughter styling although perhaps a little more raw sex than some readers might care for.

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