BROKEN by Karin Slaughter

Book Quote:

None of this makes sense.

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky (JUN 23, 2010)

Karin Slaughter brings together some of her most memorable characters in Broken, her latest thriller. Twenty-one year old Allison Spooner is at the end of her rope. She is short of money, her boyfriend has disappointed her, and her rusted-out hulk of a car is on its last legs. She is struggling to keep up with her college classes at Georgia’s Grant Tech while earning a pittance as a waitress in a diner. Sadly, her dream of escaping her tedious life are shattered when she is attacked and killed by an unknown assailant.

Lena Adams, the senior detective on call, is summoned to the scene. At first, it appears that Spooner may have killed herself, but new evidence points to murder. Lena’s boss, interim chief of police Frank Wallace, is not much help. He has been drinking heavily, and his mind is clearly elsewhere. When Wallace, Adams, and Detective Brad Stephens travel to the address where the victim allegedly lived, they discover a possible suspect. What follows is a series of blunders that lead to disaster both for the person taken into custody and the cops who arrest him.

To make matters more complicated, Dr. Sara Linton, who is a pediatrician, medical examiner, and the widow of the former police chief, Jeffrey Tolliver, is visiting her family for Thanksgiving. Sara despises Lena, whom she blames for her late husband’s death, and would prefer never to lay eyes on the detective ever again. She acidly tell someone that Lena is “never held accountable for anything. She always manages to slither back under her rock.” When Special Agent Will Trent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assigned to look into Allison Spooner’s death, he teams up with Sara, whose expertise proves to be invaluable.

Broken is an exciting, suspenseful, and poignant tale that shows how people sow the seeds of their own destruction. They withhold vital information, try to cover up their mistakes, and shift blame to others. What results is a needless waste of lives and resources. Sara and Will both have inner demons to contend with, but as they get to know one another, they open up a bit and form a tenuous connection.

Slaughter is a terrific storyteller. The plot is well-constructed and involving, her dialogue is realistic, and the author captures the feeling of life in a small Georgia town, where people know everyone else’s business and cling tightly to their prejudices and pettiness. The characters are generally well-delineated: Dr. Sara Linton is still in mourning for her husband, although he has been gone for four years; Lena Adams has committed her share of screw-ups, but has always been too stubborn to admit her culpability; Will Grant is a good-hearted man and an excellent detective but he is hiding a secret that, if revealed, may affect his future in the Bureau; Frank Wallace, after thirty-five years on the force, is an alcoholic who no longer has what it takes to function on the job. This is a fast-moving story that falters a bit during the final formulaic confrontation. In general, however, Broken works, because Karin Slaughter’s compassion for her characters shines through. She depicts them as three-dimensional human beings, warts and all, most of whom would like to fix what is broken in their lives. Unfortunately, not everyone has the courage, honesty, and motivation to face the truth and take the necessary steps to rectify what is wrong.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 173 readers
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press; 1 edition (June 22, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Karin Slaughter
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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June 23, 2010 В· Judi Clark В· No Comments
Tags: ,  В· Posted in: Sleuths Series, US South

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