A Faint Cold Fear
Goodreads ratings
4.07 / 5

"A Faint Cold Fear" Summary

By Karin Slaughter

mystery | 422 pages | Published in NaN

ISBN_13: 9780060534059

Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A forensic pathologist investigates a series of suspicious deaths in a small town, uncovering dark secrets and facing a faint cold fear.


In "A Faint Cold Fear" by Karin Slaughter, the third installment in the Grant County series, the small town of Heartsdale, Georgia is once again plagued by a series of disturbing events. Medical examiner Sara Linton finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation that hits close to home, forcing her to confront her own dark past. With a gripping plot, complex characters, and a chilling atmosphere, Slaughter delivers another thrilling and suspenseful crime novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in the fictional town of Heartsdale, Georgia, where Sara Linton works as the town's medical examiner. Sara is haunted by her husband's death and the abusive relationship she had with him. She is also torn between her feelings for her ex-husband, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver, and her current lover, Detective Lena Adams.

The peace in Heartsdale is shattered when a young college student is found brutally murdered in the local college's bathroom. Sara and Jeffrey, along with Lena, are tasked with solving the case. As they delve deeper into the investigation, they uncover a series of secrets and hidden connections that lead them to question the motives and actions of those around them.

As the body count rises, Sara finds herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous killer who seems to be targeting her. She must confront her own fears and past traumas in order to survive and bring justice to the victims.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Sara LintonThe town's medical examiner, haunted by her past and torn between two men.
Jeffrey TolliverThe Police Chief of Heartsdale and Sara's ex-husband.
Lena AdamsA detective with a troubled past who is involved in a dangerous relationship.
Sara's husbandSara's deceased husband, whose death continues to affect her deeply.
College studentThe first victim found murdered in the college bathroom, setting off the investigation.

Summary of Story Points

Chapter 1-5: The Discovery

  • Sara Linton discovers the body of a college student in the bathroom of the local college.
  • The investigation begins, and Sara, Jeffrey, and Lena are assigned to the case.
  • The victim's background and personal life are explored, revealing potential motives and suspects.

Chapter 6-10: Secrets Unveiled

  • Sara and Jeffrey uncover a hidden connection between the victim and several prominent town figures.
  • Lena's troubled past is revealed, shedding light on her motivations and actions.
  • Clues and evidence lead the investigators to suspect multiple individuals, creating a web of suspicion and mistrust.

Chapter 11-15: The Body Count Rises

  • Another body is discovered, and the investigation takes a dark turn.
  • Sara becomes the target of the killer, and her life is put in danger.
  • The town is gripped by fear as the killer remains at large, and tensions rise among the main characters.

Chapter 16-20: Confronting the Truth

  • The truth about the killer's identity and motives is finally revealed.
  • Sara confronts her own past traumas and finds the strength to fight back.
  • The final showdown between Sara, Jeffrey, Lena, and the killer brings the story to a thrilling climax.

Main Events

  1. The discovery of the first victim in the college bathroom.
  2. Uncovering hidden connections and suspects.
  3. The escalation of the body count and the growing tension in the town.
  4. Sara becoming the target of the killer.
  5. The revelation of the killer's identity and motives.
  6. The final confrontation between the main characters and the killer.

Themes and Insights

  • The lasting effects of trauma and the struggle to overcome past experiences.
  • The complexity of human relationships and the consequences of actions.
  • The dark underbelly of small-town life and the secrets that can be hidden within.
  • The power of resilience and the ability to confront fears in the face of danger.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Faint Cold Fear" is a gripping and suspenseful crime novel that explores the depths of human darkness and the strength of the human spirit. With its complex characters, twisted plot, and chilling atmosphere, Karin Slaughter delivers a thrilling read that will keep readers guessing until the very end. This book is a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers and crime fiction.


In "A Faint Cold Fear" by Karin Slaughter, the town of Heartsdale is once again plagued by murder and secrets. Sara Linton, Jeffrey Tolliver, and Lena Adams find themselves in a race against time to solve a series of brutal killings and uncover the truth behind the dark events unfolding in their small town. With its intense plot and well-developed characters, this crime novel is sure to keep readers engaged and on the edge of their seats. Slaughter's masterful storytelling and ability to delve into the depths of human darkness make "A Faint Cold Fear" a must-read for fans of crime fiction and psychological thrillers.

A Faint Cold Fear FAQ

  1. Who is the author of 'A Faint Cold Fear'?

    The author of 'A Faint Cold Fear' is Karin Slaughter.

  2. What genre does 'A Faint Cold Fear' belong to?

    'A Faint Cold Fear' belongs to the crime thriller genre.

  3. Is 'A Faint Cold Fear' part of a series?

    Yes, 'A Faint Cold Fear' is the third book in the Grant County series.

  4. Do I need to read the previous books in the series to understand 'A Faint Cold Fear'?

    While it is recommended to read the previous books to fully understand the characters and their relationships, 'A Faint Cold Fear' can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

  5. What is the plot of 'A Faint Cold Fear'?

    'A Faint Cold Fear' follows medical examiner Sara Linton as she investigates a series of mysterious deaths occurring in her small Georgia town, uncovering dark secrets and facing personal demons along the way.

  6. Is 'A Faint Cold Fear' a fast-paced thriller?

    Yes, 'A Faint Cold Fear' is known for its fast-paced and suspenseful plot that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

  7. Are there any trigger warnings for 'A Faint Cold Fear'?

    Yes, 'A Faint Cold Fear' contains graphic descriptions of violence and sexual assault, so it may not be suitable for all readers.

  8. Are there any recurring characters in 'A Faint Cold Fear'?

    Yes, 'A Faint Cold Fear' features recurring characters like Sara Linton, Lena Adams, and Jeffrey Tolliver, who appear in other books of the Grant County series.

  9. Is 'A Faint Cold Fear' a standalone novel or part of a larger story arc?

    'A Faint Cold Fear' can be read as a standalone novel, but it also contributes to the overarching story arc of the Grant County series.

  10. Where can I purchase 'A Faint Cold Fear'?

    'A Faint Cold Fear' is available for purchase at major bookstores, online retailers, and as an e-book.