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Beyond Reach    by Karin Slaughter order for
Beyond Reach
by Karin Slaughter
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Karin Slaughter continues to abuse and brutalize her series leads in Beyond Reach, sixth in the series. By now, Police Chief Jeffery Tolliver and pediatrician/medical examiner Dr. Sara Linton of Grant County, Georgia have just begun to settle down again into married life - after a divorce and enough mayhem and gore in previous episodes to permanently traumatize anyone other than this incredibly tough and resilient pair. On top of all this, Sara has to cope with a malpractice suit after a small patient died of cancer. Despite Sara's loving care of their little boy, the parents see her as a cash machine and are trying to recoup their medical costs at her expense.

They're heading home for a quiet evening of sex and solace when Jeffery receives a call from Sheriff Jake Valentine to say that detective Lena Adams has been arrested in her hometown of Reese at the scene of a murder (where the victim was burnt alive) - and that she's been severly beaten and is not talking. After they show up at the hospital, Lena tricks Sara into helping her escape police custody. As Jeffery's and Sara's investigation plays forward in time, we see what led up to Lena's desperate situation. It all began with a call from a neighbor of her uncle Hank, telling her he needed her. After Hank told her that his drug dealer killed her mother, Lena started digging herself deeper and deeper into trouble.

There are shocking revelations about demon-ridden Lena's past. There's drug (meth) dealing with connections to white supremacists, including to Lena's abusive (now jailed) boyfriend Ethan Green, who still has influence over her. Ethan is not happy to learn about her abortion and blames Jeffery for his arrest and conviction. There are repeated, horrific close shaves for all three main characters. And there's a harrowing ending that will leave series fans on the edge of their seats until the next installment in this violent, deeply chilling series.

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