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Kate Bond

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Unseen - Karin Slaughter 4.5 stars. I have been reading crime thrillers since I was nine years old, and I've yet to find a writer who can do this genre better than Karin Slaughter. I love all but one of her novels, and Unseen is the best so far. The crimes are gruesome and the violence is intense, but I am a human who faints at the sight of blood, and I can handle it, so I don't think it's excessive. Men tend to compliment Slaughter by saying she writes like a man, which is, you know, condescending and not really a compliment, but I think it does give you a good feel for her writing style, which can be a bit butch in the best possible way.The characters are so richly drawn, their flaws and quirks presented without judgment from the author, that everything that happens to them feels real and raw and immediate. And she's not afraid to kill them off. Once I start reading one of these novels, I cannot go to sleep until I've finished it because WHAT IF WILL DIES and OH GOD NO THEY CAN'T BREAK UP and PLEASE SOMEONE KILL LENA BECAUSE SHE IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST and, seriously, WHAT IF WILL DIES.When the book opens, Will is undercover as a biker with a criminal past (he watched Sons of Anarchy to prepare for the assignment because he is adorable and I love him) in Macon, where Lena is a detective. You guys, Lena really is just the absolute worst. She makes those dumb anti-feminist Mila Kunis jokes--you know, like directing "What are you, a bunch of little girls?" and "Are you on your period?" at dudes. Because women are weak and worthy of your ridicule and...I freaking hate Lena. And she's mean to Sara, who is the most awesome character.It took four books to get Will and Sara to the point where they are finally together (although he is still technically married to someone else), and like an idiot he is not being completely truthful about his undercover assignment because he knows she'll be scared for him and also because he was there when the people he's undercover with broke into her stepson (who is in a coma)'s house and shot him. And because he's on this assignment because of Lena, and Sara's husband was KILLED while on an assignment for Lena This is a disaster waiting to happen, especially once Sara has to go to Macon herself. Even Will's awesome harpy of a boss Amanda tries to talk him into telling Sara what's going on. Because obviously it's dumb to lie about important things and she will have to dump him if she finds out about it. Oh, speaking of Amanda's amazingness:You know you can catch more flies with honey. Yes, Faith, thank you. That's exactly what I need is more flies. There was really only one thing that bothered me about this book, and it actually made me kind of angry to the point that I slammed my kindle shut (and then immediately reopened it so I could finish reading). There's a point near the end where a clue comes out because of someone's name. And Will makes a slight logical leap, but it's not really a big deal, because he's freaking brilliant and clearly right, and even if he's wrong, he has to look into it because better safe than sorry and all that. But then he says, to clarify why he's right, " Benjamin's not a common name here." So here's the deal. I grew up in the tiniest of tiny rural towns 35 miles north of Macon--so, like, midway between Macon and Atlanta. And because of this, I know that Benjamin is literally the single most popular name for men in that part of the country. Three of my ten best guy friends in high school had it, as did at least two of my friends' dads. About one out of every fifty males I know in the state of Georgia goes by that name. Slaughter lives in Georgia. How could she make a mistake like this?Grrrrrr.Still, you have to have to have to read these books, and they need to be read in a pretty specific order. They're sorted wrong on Goodreads, which is really annoying because, as I said above, sometimes Slaughter gets rid of characters, and if you get the order wrong you'll miss out on a lot of surprises. There are two separate series with overlapping characters, and the Grant County books MUST be read first.The Grant County books (which take place in a fake county near Macon) are:BlindsightedKisscutA Faint, Cold FearIndelibleFaithlessBeyond ReachThe Will Trent books:TriptychFracturedUndoneBrokenFallenCriminal (This one is garbage. You should skip it.)UnseenPlease don't break the reading order. I read the Will Trent series first and then went back and read the Grant County books, and that was a huge mistake.Trigger warning: This book contains portrayals of rape, child abuse, sexual abuse of children, and extreme violence. Also posted at Finding Bliss in Books