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Psychological Mysteries

Blindsighted, Karin Slaughter, Harper Torch, $7.50.

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

This is a new series that's gotten lots of attention, and after coming late to the party, I can happily say it's well deserved. It is extremely violent and graphically so, however - if you've read any of Val McDermid's novels, you'll know what I'm talking about - but I think it's worth it to wade through the awful scenes (there are a few parts you can skip over) because the writing, on every level, is excellent. This is the opener is a series set in a small Georgia town, and features the divorced town pediatrician/coroner, Sara Linton, and her police chief ex, Jeffrey Tolliver. The relationship between the two is complicated and though you may become impatient with Sara, the reasons for her behavior are made more than clear by the end of the novel, and Sara and Jeffrey are such well written, memorable characters that they make the journey worthwhile.

The book begins with the gruesome murder of a blind woman - Sara discovers her body in the town restaurant - and it propels her into the investigation, where her careful probing turns up several clues that help solve the case. Like Val McDermid, Slaughter is a meticulous, thoughtful and literate writer. There are no extraneous parts to this book, though it is long, it's a quick read. Slaughter's writing about small town Georgia is never condescending but rather the matter of fact detailing of a certain way of life. Complicated by Sara's own past - not just her relationship with Jeffrey - the investigation seems to hit some dead ends before it takes off and you as the reader are reluctant to put the book down. This is a highly recommended novel, just not for the squeamish.

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