Don't forget to visit Fabulosity Reads Book Blog

Oct 4, 2011

Skin Privilege

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  2:58 AM

Author:    Karin Slaughter
Series:      Y (The Grant County Series)
Genre:      Crime Fiction
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (September 4, 2008)

Lena Adams has spent her life struggling to escape her past. She has only unhappy memories of Reece, the small town which nearly destroyed her. She's made a new life for herself as a police detective in Heartsdale, a hundred miles away - but nothing could prepare her for the violence which explodes when she is forced to return.

  • Lena Adams is a headstrong police officer who has worked hard to get away from her origins on the wrong side of the tracks in small town Reece, Georgia.
  • Jeffrey Tolliver is Lena’s boss in Heartsdale who together with his wife Sara follows Lena to Reece when they learn she’s been arrested after a fiery murder.
  • Harry Norton is Lena’s meth addict uncle who raised them when their mother walked out on her and her sister.

  • I’ve never been to America and have no idea what poverty stricken small towns that are not on the map are like but Karin Slaughter paints such vivid pictures in your minds that you have a clear visual of exactly what she’s talking about. I felt the oppressive poverty, depressive hopelessness and violence that brews in such a place.
  • Her main characters are three dimensional and even the secondary characters have complexities that make them real people. I think the books character development as a whole is superb.
  • The author switches between narrating the present by following Lena’s boss and his wife and about a week in the past by giving account of Lena’s activities in  Reece since her arrival. There is perfect synchronicity between these and the merging of the two later is so seamless that you forget there ever were two timeframes to begin with. Normally you have to work out at the back of your mind (as you read) where you are, who’s talking now, etc. This is one of the best uses of this writing technique I have come across. 
  • I could not help but empathise with most people in this town because of their life experiences. My heart went out to Harry, Lena’s uncle who raised his nieces through the blur of meth (Methamphetamine) which caused her mother to abandon them. Such a slave was she to her addiction. The victims and sometime members of the skinheads gangs who control people’s lives with an iron fist. Most of the members having become part of this community  in their troubled teens in search of love and acceptance and desire to escape abusive childhoods. The downward spiral of a community in the grips of drug abuse, bigotry and corrupt legal systems makes this tale both moving and riveting.
  • You could not have seen the ending coming it is so shocking. Now I really need to read the next instalment. When writer advisers say the ending should be explosive, this is what they mean.

  • I learnt a lot about narcotics and their impact on individuals and communities amongst other things (which I sensed was close to the author's heart). I just found that she tended to give lectures that were too long in places. Especially in explaining the technicalities and chemical composition of meth and the origins and histories of the skinhead culture. There was just far too much information than I would have liked and had the premise of the book not be so absorbing and the pace page turning, I may have read this it in a much longer time span than 3 days

This is my first Karin Slaughter read and I bought it because a bookstore owner recommended her over and over again. I’m only sorry that I took this long in making that decision. I kept thinking this reminds me of Patricia Cornwell's early Scarpetta books which i was once addicted to, only this is even better. By the way I was also warned that her books are grisly and perhaps they are, especially if you read the prison inmate scenes. This was not a problem for me and I actually finished the book thinking (where’s the grizzle?). But if you are a sensitive type you may find descriptions of putrefying bodies and arms getting tossed aside or wrists chopped off too much for you. So now I warn you.

About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


  1. I do enjoy Karen Slaughter. Great review.

  2. Dana lovely to see you, thanks for coming by and yes, I'm so glad I started reading her.

  3. Yeah it's always hard to judge what level of violence another reader can handle. What doesn't bother me can make someone else flinch. And what makes me flinch would worry me if it didn't bother you...after all I spent all those years with the FBI's Crime Scene photo book. :)

    Sounds interesting but sad.

    I have to be in the mood for a book like this. I use to read and write a lot of thriller but it all started to sound the same so I stopped reading for a while. Maybe it's time to read again.


  4. I know what you men about not having read it for a while. My last real thriller was in 2007 I think, I read a whole bunch then and the just stopped. This will definitely get me back into them though, I started on Tess Gerrison this morning. I've had her gathering dust on my shelf for years.

  5. For Thriller Lite---Tell No One or Gone for Good from Harlan Corben (spelling?). Those are gore free thrillers, nice twist. His only problem is he uses that same twist in more than one book. But don't read the sports agent series.

  6. hey Tirzah, did you see my moaning session at my other blog about genres'?

  7. I enjoyed your very thorough review. I also dislike gruesome scenes in books, so I think I'll pass on this one!

  8. Harvee, thanks for coming by and yes, this is def. gruesome.

  9. This sounds brutal but interesting. I like books set in Southern small towns. I don't think of skinhead gangs being in the South, but I guess anything's possible. I wonder with all the violence if Slaughter is Karin's real name?

    Tossing It Out

  10. I wondered that too Arlee, the irony is a little too much to ignore.

  11. Well the KKK has a history in some parts of the South and skinheads have been making inroads into that organization so its possible even if it sounds odd.



I love hearing from you....

Get our latest posts directly in your email inbox.

What they says

Contact information

Email: Tel: 071 087 4833 South Africa Twitter: Facebook:
Proudly Powered by Blogger.
back to top