Karen Karbo
July 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Like a trick rider who gallops around the circus ring standing astride two stallions, Karin Slaughter balances two equally wicked plots in Indelible. In the first, two exceptionally vicious, gun-toting boys storm a Georgia police station where hunky chief Jeffrey Tolliver and his ex-wife, medical examiner/pediatrician Sara Linton, solve crimes and ride the big waves of their stormy romance. The second plot takes place 12 years earlier, when Sara and Jeffrey, newly in love, take a swing through his Alabama hometown and get involved with two murders, one involving Jeffrey’s boyhood friend. Slaughter’s plot creaks in places, but she has a bighearted way with her highly flawed characters and a knack for grisly detail.

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