Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Book review : Broken - Karin Slaughter

As a crime fiction lover, Karin Slaughter is one of those names that just leapt out at me when I was browsing the bookshelves of a local charity shop recently. I'd promised myself that I wouldn't buy any more books as I was trying to clear my backlog and make some space on the shelves but, well, you know how that works ! Plus it only cost 50p - how could I say no ?! I'd heard lots of good things about Karin Slaughter but this is actually the first of her books that I've read. It's the fourth Will Trent book and the seventh Grant County book, but I totally enjoyed it as a stand-alone novel. That said, I think it would definitely be interesting to read the previous books, as I'm sure they explain a lot of the bad feeling that is evident from the very beginning of this book. It's a great story too, so I'm sure the others offer equally enjoyable reading material.

The story begins like a classic crime novel. A young student is killed as she walks along the side of a lake on a cold night. Medical examiner Sara Linton, currently back home visiting her family for Thanksgiving, is called to the police station to check on the main suspect, who is hysterically crying in his cell and won't calm down. When she arrives, he has committed suicide after making a confession.

However, where this book instantly skives off into different and original territory is that the police and other investigators aren't working together like one big happy family. There is actually an awful lot of resentment and mistrust, as Sara is the widow of the former police chief and holds the detective in charge of the case, Lena Adams, who was his partner, responsible for his death. Is she kicking up a fuss just to get some kind of revenge on the woman she hates or is it really justified ? Lena's boss, Frank Wallace, is another complex character - he seems to be hitting the booze a bit too easily these days, but is he still doing everything he should ? Special Agent Will Trent is brought in to figure it all out and make sure that everyone is doing their job properly. Unsurprisingly, he is not welcomed with open arms as he tries to take a neutral look at everything that is going on.

It's an interesting read, both in terms of the unfolding crime scenes, as Will starts to put things together and make serious headway, but also the complex relationships between the characters. As a widow, Sara deserves some sympathy, but is she really being level-headed in her criticism of the local police? I was surprised by the ending and didn't see it coming at all, which is actually quite rare for me when reading crime fiction. Karin Slaughter definitely deserves her good reputation and I'll certainly be looking out for more of her work.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £6.99

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (23 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099509768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099509769
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm

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