I have read all of Karin Slaughter's books in the Grant County series, this being the 5th. They are hugely absorbing. I love Sara and the rest of the Linton family, Jeffrey and Lena - it is always wonderful to catch up with them. I would recommend that you read the novels in order of publication if possible - I didn't and sometimes I have got a little confused with the chronology of events.
This murder is set within a religious community which has provided a great new setting for some really sinister characters and a plot that keeps you guessing. Once again Slaughter tackles socially difficult aspects of human behaviour as themes in this story - the physical and mental abuse of women and religious/cult movements. It's hard to imagine any novel will ever be quite as shocking as Kisscut in the authors' choice of subject material and this is certainly not as gruesome. I would say the plot depends more on police work and less on medical expertise than previous novels. There is still a fair amount of pathology included though for those of us who enjoy it.
Have the characters run their course over five novels? I don't think so but I admit it does sometimes get a little tedious to keep going over events in earlier novels so that this one can stand up on its' own. On the plus side however - this does make life easy for the reader.
The on/off relationship between Sara and Jeffrey? - well for me it still works but you wonder how long Slaughter will succesfully be able to keep this alive for the reader.
I loved this book. I would recommend reading it as time enjoyably spent. For anyone following the Grant County series it's obviously a must but I would be interesed to hear whether any other fans felt they didn't quite turn the pages as quickly as for the earlier novels, especially in the first half, although it did gain pace in the second. I have given Faithless 4 stars but it was border line for 5.