Three and a half years ago former Grant County medical examiner Sara Linton moved to Atlanta hoping to leave her tragic past behind her. Now working as a doctor in Atlanta’s Grady Hospital she is starting to piece her life together. But when a severely wounded young woman is brought in to the emergency room, she finds herself drawn back into a world of violence and terror.
The woman has been hit by a car but, naked and brutalized, it’s clear that she has been the prey of a twisted mind. When Special Agent Will Trent of the Criminal Investigation Team returns to the scene of the accident, he stumbles on a torture chamber buried deep beneath the earth. And this hidden house of horror reveals a ghastly truth – Sara’s patient is just the first victim of a sick, sadistic killer.
While Genesis is billed as the third book in the Will Trent series, this is where the Atlanta series would become a more appropriate title as Will is about to meet Sara Linton, the main protagonist of the Grant County series.
It has been more than three years since Sara lost her husband and she has moved back to Atlanta where she first studied medicine and is working at Grady. As the story unfolds we learn how Sara has dealt with her grief by immersing herself in her work and she reflects back on that first difficult year without Jeffrey where she withdrew from the world and drugged herself into a stupor. Although working at Grady has given her a renewed sense of purpose, Sara is still not really living and has developed the aura of the tragic cop widow.
When a young woman with severe injuries is brought into the emergency room, Sara realises her patient has been tortured and when the body of another woman is found, she finds herself drawn into the investigation despite herself. Sara is even more intrigued when she meets the lead investigator on the case, although she keeps telling herself Will Trent is nothing like Jeffrey and she could never give her heart to another man. As Sara and Will’s paths continue to cross, it is obvious the feelings are mutual but there are too many obstacles in the way for now.
Since the previous book, Will has been married to Angie Polaski for nine months, however it was done as a dare and Angie has been missing in action for at least eight of those months much to Faith Mitchell’s disapproval. While Will is finally beginning to see that Angie is no good for him, her hooks are still firmly embedded in his skin and he can’t seem shake her loose yet. Being with Sara makes Will realise there are better options out there but he has never been with anyone other than Angie and this makes him feel unworthy. The scenes between Will and Sara are wonderfully written as they hint at the great relationship they could have if they could just get past their trauma but it remains faithful to their stories as we know they aren’t ready yet.
Faith and Will have been partners for about nine months now and it is nice to see she is firmly on Will’s side without being too intrusive. Faith has her own problems though as she discovers she is pregnant and has diabetes into the bargain. As a single mother of a teenage son, Faith has no real desire to go through it all again and is angry with herself for allowing it to happen, especially since the father is no longer in the picture. With both Will and Faith wrapped up in their personal problems, there is a little bit of distance between them as Faith chooses not to confide in Will but expects him to confide in her! The partners are not out of sync for long though and once the truth is out, things get back on an even keel.
The investigation itself is one of Slaughter’s most horrific as it deals with young women who are tortured and held prisoner underground. As the police wait on Sara’s patient coming out of her coma, the body of another woman is found and another is kidnapped. While looking into the lives of these women, Faith and Will are introduced to groups on the web promoting anorexia as a positive thing and I found this even more disturbing than the descriptions of the torture.
With the introduction of Sara, the team is more complete and all three of them work well together despite some initial reservations from Faith and I suspect Sara is going to find herself embroiled in their cases on a frequent basis.