A Faint Cold Fear (Grant County #3) – Karin Slaughter

four stars black
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Arrow
Pages: 480
Release Date: September 16, 2003

Haven’t read the previous novels in the Grant County series? Check out reviews for Blindsighted and Kisscut.

A suicide on a college campus.
A tragic case with a simple resolution.

But for medical examiner Sara Linton, it just doesn’t add up. When two more suspicious deaths follow and a young woman is brutally attacked, it becomes clear that she’s looking for a murderer.

The college authorities are reluctant to cooperate and Sara isn’t any closer to finding the answers she needs.

With the violence triggering memories of a past she’d rather forget and the clues pointing ever closer to home, can she uncover the truth in time to save the next victim?


A Faint Cold Fear is the third novel in the Grant County series. As with the previous novel, Lena’s trauma and her lack of self-care play a large role. As a consequence of Lena’s behavior, she became truly one of the most infuriating characters I’ve ever read. It may be unfair of me to say that after everything she’s been through, but she remains frustrating. Lena is brash and independent to a fault. She refuses to allow anyone to help her and looks for attention in all the wrong places.

It would be a lie to say I read Karin Slaughter only for her gruesome mysteries. Slaughter’s character development is incredible considering mystery novels tend to focus on the plot at the expense of the characters. Not Slaughter. Arguably, her characters are at the center of the novel not the mystery.

Sara and Jeffery’s relationship develops some more as Sara has one foot in the relationship and the other out. She’s still wrestling with his past indiscretion as reminders of it pop up. I’m not exactly sure if I like Sara and Jeffery together as a couple. This may boil down to the fact that I’m unsure of Jeffery. Jeffery has a one track mind as chief of police. He is undoubtedly one of the good guys, but he is not afraid to cross the line even at the expense of those he loves.

As always, Slaughter’s mystery is tight with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. Though, A Faint Cold Fear goes a step further and implicates Tessa, Sara’s sister.

The ending of the novel is slightly rushed. The killer is revealed, readers find out the motivations, and then the novel ends. Though, the final page makes up for the rushed ending.

Overall, A Faint Cold Fear is an excellent mystery that subtly lays the groundwork for what’s to come. I’ve read a few Will Trent novels so I know where this story is headed, but it’s a pleasure to watch Slaughter weave the narrative.

Have you read A Faint Cold Fear? What did you think?

3 thoughts on “A Faint Cold Fear (Grant County #3) – Karin Slaughter

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