Monday, May 19

Skin Privilege - Karin Slaughter

Lena Adams has struggled her whole life - with the shame and anger of her childhood, raised by a drug-addicted uncle, who blinded her twin sister when he hit her with his car; with the grief of the mother she lost at birth, a mother who would have cared; and with the loss of her beloved twin, first when she was seduced by an older woman, and then when she was murdered by a serial killer. She created a new life for herself as a police officer in a town a hundred miles away from where she grew up, but she never really put it behind her.
When her boss, Heartsdale police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, hears that Lena has returned to Reece, and has been arrested after being discovered next to a burned out car containing a charred body, he doesn't hesitate. Taking his pediatrician wife, Sara Linton - only too glad to leave the heartbreak of a wrongful death suit - with him, Tolliver heads to Reece. He has no idea what they'll discover there, or the violence that will threaten everyone he holds dear.
This is the sixth Tolliver/Linton novel, and so a little formulaic writing is to be expected. For those who haven't read the previous novels a little background is woven, and quite well integrated, in to the text, especially around Lena's background.
That said, to get the most out of Skin Privilege (the title relates to one of the main themes, white supremacy) you really need to read the preceding novels, because one of the most striking elements Slaughter included was a sequence of events that make Lena question many of her fundamental beliefs, beliefs that have profoundly shaped the woman she became. The effect is very powerful and particularly well done.
Of course there's also character development for the other main players (Jeffrey and Sara), an intricate plot and two interwoven timelines (Jeffrey's perspective, running chronologically from when he hears about the burned out car and arrest, and Lena's, leading up to the car), and a particularly startling cliff-hanger of an ending that comes out of the blue.
I'm not usually a fan of cliff hanger endings that almost force the reader to continue to the next book, which is particularly prevalent in a lot of FSF writing, and I certainly felt some of that resigned irritation here, but less than I would usually expect. All in all, not a bad addition to the series but, like I wrote earlier, not where I'd suggest new readers start with Slaughter. - Alex

No comments: