After stepping away from her regular characters in the stand-alone thriller Triptych, Karin Slaughter returns to the series that made her famous with Beyond Reach, a Grant County novel. Beyond Reach leaves Grant County in this book, taking place in Elawah, the small town where detective Lena Adams grew up. Lenaís boss, Jeffrey Tolliver, and his wife, Sara Linton, have followed Lena back to her hometown after she is arrested at the scene of a crime: Lena is found sitting in the bleachers, beaten to a pulp, while a car with a body in it burns on the football field. When Jeffrey and Sara visit her in the hospital, she is obviously terrified and does her best to make them leave town before they get into danger. When they donít follow her advice, Lena tricks Sara into helping her escape.
As they search for the escaped Lena, Sara and Jeffrey begin getting a good picture of the town of Elawah, a small burg crippled by the burgeoning meth trade that makes some rich and ruins even more lives. This is the town where Lena grew up with her twin sister, raised by their ex-meth addict uncle Hank. Hank is now back on the needle and nearly helpless when it comes to helping them find Lena. In fact, he may the key reason why she is in trouble. Sara and Jeffrey must follow the clues as they deal with the townís corrupt law enforcement and wade through the mess of meth dealers and white supremacists that make up Lenaís hometown if they have any hope of finding Lena before itís too late.
Fans of Slaughterís Grant County series will not be disappointed with this new offering. Lena, who is arguably the seriesí most intriguing character, gets plenty of page time here, and much of her past is filled in. Sara and Jeffrey also play lead roles, and readers will enjoy watching as their relationship, which has been spotty throughout the series, deepens in this new book. New characters are also introduced, and Slaughter does a good job of giving them just as much personality as her regular cast.
The signature Slaughter darkness and view of humanityís seedy side is front and center in Beyond Reach. If youíre looking for a book with even a hint of lightness or fun, this is not the one for you, but fans of the author will already know that. Slaughterís talent for plot and character development and her complete lack of fear in going to the darkest places of the human spirit have made her a star in her field. If youíve been following the Grant County series, make sure you pick up Beyond Reach. If you havenít yet been introduced to this author, start from the beginning of the series or check out Triptych for a sample of her work.