Book Report: Karin Slaughter ‘Zoenoffer’ (Grant County 2)
Atonement is the second part of the Grant County series by thriller writer Karin Slaughter. Lena, Jeffrey and Sara face a great mystery when a teenage girl goes completely bonkers. Jeffrey is obliged to shoot her before the situation gets completely out of hand. But the three soon realize that there is more to it and that more teens are involved in this drama than they expected.
- Main characters
- Symbols and motifs
- Structure and perspective / way of telling
- Time and place
- Original title: Kisscut
- Title: Atoning sacrifice
- Author: Karin Slaughter
- Series: Grant County (2)
- First print: 2002
- First edition translated into Dutch: 2003
- Translation: Ineke Lenting
- Number of pages: 430
- ISBN: 90-234-1337-7
After their divorce, Sara and Jeffrey make some rapprochement with each other. They meet at the local ice rink on Saturday evening. It’s not going to be an ordinary date when Jenny Weaver, one of Sara’s patients, points a gun at a boy, Mark, that she’s furious about. Jenny is beyond reason and puts Jeffrey in a dilemma, if he doesn’t shoot she will shoot Mark. He shoots her against his will. During the inquest, Sara discovers signs of abuse and self-mutilation. What happened to Jenny that all this had to happen?
Lacey, Mark’s sister, visits Sara with a stomach ache, but she immediately notices that there is more to it. When Mark also enters the hospital, completely damaged, the gate is over. He is furious and wants to see his sister. Lacey flees and is dragged into a car in front of Sara and Mark. Nobody knows where she went and Mark refuses to speak to anyone.
After the events in the hospital, Mark is charged with assault and threats. He gives a vulnerable impression and wants to go to his mother, who is dying. There is a click between him and Lena and she gets him talking. Like a real mother, she wants to take Mark under her wing and listens to what he has to say. Mark admits he cared about Jenny. What else she gets to hear disgusts her.
Jeffrey doesn’t know what to do with Lena. She’s unstable and he knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s going to collapse. Lena only has her uncle Hans as a family member. Her parents and twin sister had already died. Hank lived with her, out of necessity and not because they got along. Lena had been kidnapped and badly beaten several months ago. She had taken up her job as a police officer again, which ensured that she had structure in her life again. She didn’t have time to think at work either. She couldn’t live without Hank, she was too scared to be alone and suffered from sudden panic attacks. Isn’t this case going to weigh too heavily on her?
Lena and Jeffrey investigate Dottie, Jenny’s mother, who has not yet claimed the body of her daughter. What they discover there leads to additional questions. Who has Lacey and what to do next with Mark? It will be a tough quest that they will not soon forget.
Sara has been separated from Jeffrey for two years after cheating on her. She combines the work of a pediatrician with that of a municipal coroner, so she works with Jeffrey anyway. As a pediatrician, she works with heart and soul and cares about her patients. The collaboration with Lena is less successful, as their approach is completely different. This sometimes leads to collisions, which Sara then feels guilty about afterwards.
He is the commissioner of the local police. Despite his mistake, he still loves Sara.
She lived with her mother Dottie. During the investigation, Lena and Jeffrey soon discover that Jenny is not loved by her classmates. She was a good student and an introvert, but then again the story was that she dated a lot of guys.
She had been trained by Jeffrey to prepare her to work with a team of men only. She had now been with him for ten years.
She was angry and drank a lot. She is struggling to come to terms with her sister’s death and what had happened to her. She no longer recognized herself.
He is the father of Mark and Lacey. Teddy is an ex-criminal who owns a trailer park and drives a truck himself. He doesn’t immediately come across as the most likable person.
She is the mother of Mark and Lacey. Despite her illness, she is in good control of her family.
The sixteen-year-old boy has many problems. Some time ago he had attacked and beaten his sister. Mark has a tough image and can attract enough girls with his appearance. But he really cared about Jenny, she was special, she listened to him and had no prejudices.
Mark’s thirteen-year-old sister is a good child and was good friends with Jenny until a few months ago. Nobody knows what happened between the two girls.
She had been the girlfriend of Sibyl, Lena’s twin sister. Nan and Lena weren’t the best of friends themselves. Nan suspects Lena of being homophobic. Still, she’s worried about Lena.
Symbols and motifs
Jeffrey is no longer herself after the incident with Jenny. He can’t understand why he couldn’t talk her up and had to kill her. He has no idea how to deal with this thought.
When Jeffrey’s mother has an accident, he goes there. Which also equates to going back to its past. He remembers his father Jimmy Tolliver, as a drunkard and petty thief who terrorized his family. Jimmy had died in prison some time ago. His mother is also not a saint and like his father is an alcoholic.
Sara feels responsible for Jenny’s death. How could she know so little about her patient?
Structure and perspective / way of telling
The thriller is dedicated to Doris Smart. It consists of eight parts and twenty-three chapters. Each part has a title that indicates a day. Part One – Saturday, Part Two – Sunday, Part Three – Monday, Part Four – Tuesday, Part Five – Wednesday, Part Six – Thursday, Part Seven – Friday and Part Eight – Sunday, one week later. The chapters written in third person alternate in point of view. You get Sara, Jeffrey, Lena ‘s point of view.
Children remain children no matter what they have done.
Time and place
The story is written in the present day and is set in Grant County, the Grant County area; Augusta, Macon and Sylacauga.
Karin Slaughter has managed to put a sensitive subject in a thriller that grabs you by the throat. The main characters of this series are further spelled out, which gives you more sympathy for them.