159 of 164 people found the following review helpful
"None of this makes sense.",
This review is from: Broken: A Novel (Grant County) (Hardcover)
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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 is shattered when an unknown assailant attacks and kills her.
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 25, 2010 2:09:54 PM PDT
Tom McGee says:
This is the most thorough review I have ever read. Great job!
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2010 6:55:15 PM PDT
Thanks so much! Slaughter certainly knows how to write page-turners.
Posted on Jun 27, 2010 4:19:35 PM PDT
A detailed review without being a "spoiler" Very rare.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2010 6:11:42 PM PDT
Thanks for your kind comment.
Posted on Jun 28, 2010 9:41:36 AM PDT
Bruce Stern says:
I appreciate the thoroughness of your review, especially apparently without any spoilers. Yet, I wonder why you would give it five stars after writing this in your review, "this...story...falters a bit during the final formulaic confrontation"?
For me, how a writer, especially one writing a thriller, wraps up the 'thrills' is an especially important component of this type of writing. Giving the story four stars appears to be more appropriate.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2010 1:04:26 PM PDT
Everything is relative. Slaughter has so many strengths that the slightly weak ending is not a deal-breaker. When you read as many books as I do, you appreciate an author who knows how to tell a story and create memorable characters.
Posted on Jul 2, 2010 5:24:30 PM PDT
thanks so much for the excellent review.
Posted on Aug 9, 2010 12:32:43 PM PDT
C. Webb says:
Good to know that you are an expert on "life in a small Georgia town, where people know everyone else's business and cling tightly to their prejudices and pettiness". Nice job of sterotyping, we can do that in Georgia also - New York where everyone is loud, rude, and uncaring of their fellow human beings.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2010 1:59:03 PM PDT
I did not stereotype anyone. I merely indicated that Karin Slaughter characterized her FICTIONAL TOWN in this manner.