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Fallen: A Novel (Will Trent) Hardcover – June 21, 2011
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Praise for FALLEN
“An amazing effort. This is Slaughter's best book to date, and readers unfamiliar with her work will find this one a perfect place to begin.”
“The first 16 pages of Karin Slaughter’s new novel are a master class in suspense….Fallen, Slaughter’s 11th novel in 11 years, shows again that she is in the first rank of today’s crime novelists. Her story is expertly written, exhaustively researched, steeped in police lore, deeply rooted in the author’s native Georgia and exceedingly violent. Slaughter has a rare ability to balance violence with a compassionate view of her complex and all-too-human characters. She’s a supremely tough-minded novelist who often writes with exceptional sensitivity…..Fallen is a complex, gripping and deadly serious novel that reflects anew Slaughter’s abundant talent. If you haven’t read her, you should.” —The Washington Post
“Karin Slaughter has written a novel that is complex, unsettling, and with one of the meatiest suspense plots of the summer.” —Tucson Citizen
“Slaughter just keeps getting better!”
—Romantic Times Book Review
“Her talent is the equivalent of an Edgar Allan Poe or a Nathaniel Hawthorne.…You can't dismiss the growth of Slaughter's talent. She has always been a good writer but of late she has become an exemplary storyteller, weaving her words with skill and intelligence. Fallen is a prime example of her talent….Sometime in the future, college classes will be devoted to Slaughter's books and her writing skills will be dissected. She will be recognized as one of the great talents of the 21st century and will hold an honored place in the realm of world literature.” —Huffington Post
“Slaughter has always known how to pace the suspense in her stellar crime novels, but she really outdoes herself here….In what might be her best effort yet, Slaughter reveals the heart and soul of her characters within a highly choreographed, unrelentingly suspenseful plot.”
“Karin has set a high bar with each of her books—and she delivers….Once you close it, you will need time to think about the story as you finally exhale.” —Bookreporter
“Gripping….a thriller sure to please Slaughter’s many fans.” —Publishers Weekly
“Slaughter's thrillers are always exciting, but it's her compelling characters that really make them page-turners.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“This is Slaughter’s best thriller yet.” —Bookloons
PRAISE FOR THE CRIME FICTION OF KARIN SLAUGHTER
“Karin Slaughter is one of the best crime novelists in America.”—The Washington Post
“Crime fiction at its finest.”—Michael Connelly
“Slaughter writes like a razor . . . better than Cornwell can ever hope to be.”—The Plain Dealer
“Slaughter will have you on the edge of your seat.”—The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“One of the boldest thriller writers working today.”—Tess Gerritsen
“Move over, Catherine Coulter—Slaughter may be today’s top female suspense writer.”—Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Karin Slaughter is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of eleven thrillers, including Broken, Undone, Fractured, Beyond Reach, Triptych, and Faithless. She is a native of Georgia.
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Top customer reviews
Its definitely worth the read, and the story pulls you into the characters.
+ The attention to detail and accuracy in terms of all things medical, police procedure, and even automotive is excellent.
+ Some beautiful phrases I loved, e.g. "her breathing was soft and familiar, like tissues being pulled from a box". Loved that.
+ The Sara, Faith, Amanda, and Will characters are pitch perfect and most of the minor characters are as well (Roz).
+ Opening scene, chapter one, is fantastic, the fear and panic is palpable.
Some sloppy fact checking, some 2D characters, a few contrived plot elements and plot holes, some characters telling the story, and the ending could be stronger.
Some fact checking was missed:
1) A brownie box camera would never be used as a crime-scene camera, a 4x5 Wee Gee Speed Graphic with a flash would be the correct tool.
2) The darkroom would be in the basement of the house, not in a closet. You need lots of running water and lots of counter space, cannot see how a 1940s era Atlanta house is going to have all that in a closet.
3) Today, this old lady would not have shot/developed/printed a black and white photo of Evelyn's friend. She would have a digital camera because you cannot get film for a box (or other) camera anymore, and its a lot of work to make black and white photos. Of course the camera at the window would also be digital and modern. (Even if she used her police-issue 4x5 Graflex, if she could get film, telephoto lenses were rare).
4) For a kidnapping it would be the FBI and not the APD waiting by the phone.
5) Would GBI agents really 'check their guns' to interview a gang boss? I don't think so.
6) Does the GBI yell "Police" or "GBI"? Not sure.
7) Chapter 18: how could you really gather that much cash? I don't think a bank branch would be able to give you $200K in cash...they don't keep that much on hand. I would assume some use of counterfeit currency would be used instead?
8) Chapter 18: there could not be blood everywhere when she entered the house. It would have had to be cleaned up, or there would be flies and/or her first response would be to vomit. If it were still there, it would now be dried blood.
Some Plot Holes:
If she's in danger, instead of cops guarding her house for the impromptu reunion, why not go stay in a hotel? She's a GBI agent who can take care of herself.
Why does Zeke come into town at all? And why does he stay with his sister, just to annoy her and mess up her relationships?
Some characters are 2D:
Both Zeke and Angie feel forced and flat and Madam Ling-Ling and Roger Ling...their gang is the Yellow Rebels? seriously? An Asian gang is not going to call themselves a racist slur.
These have their role to play to move the story along, but they don't feel real. Some story elements feel contrived and implausible. If a drug mule flew from Sweden, now he's puttering around midtown somewhere...that seems illogical. And the value of the drugs in his stomach is not a large amount, so the whole gang is not going to care all that much.
I don't see the motivation to kill Boyd. An awful lot of cost/effort to make a GBI agent feel uncomfortable. And if he's on death row, why bother...it seems implausible.
The whole backstory about her brother getting beat up over Faith being an unwed mother--seems way over the top. While the neighbors might talk, this took place in Atlanta in 1970s, not rural GA in 1935--I don't think so much scorn and shame would happen. Unwed mothers happen, but shopping in another part of town? That seems over dramatic.
Her brother is cartoonishly a jerk, that seemed too heavy handed...at least please kill him in the end, that way the reader gets some relief.
And Angie, while obviously a flawed person, also seems unrealistic. Give her some shred of humanity or at least kill her off, again, think of the reader.
And Dr. Dale, I'm sorry, he seems like Goofy MD, and don't see his fit in the story. Make the other guy be at least slightly likable to give Will a little competition and to create more internal conflict for Sara. Her choices are Dr McGoofy or the tall-muscular-shy Will Trent...duh, which one to pick?
Madam Ling Ling in her secret lair with her pet dog is an overdone meme. And the Texicanos led by Ortiz. These all seem a bit 2D to me.
Some plot points miss the turn a bit. Somehow Will, a GBI agent, does not carry his cell phone or gun when he goes for pizza? (Thus Amanda has to pick him up). How did Amanda even know where he was? And then why is he walking this poor wounded dog out to the pizza place? There are some of these moving-the-story along incidents that made me grit my teeth a bit. Last sentence of chapter 12 made me cringe: while I realize Zeke is a jerk, this should have been said without using the 'r' word.
And chapter six..while we need to sew together the plot points, it's too long and dense, it should have been broken into two chapters. First its all Sara, then it's all one long recap of the case files for all the players in the story....its structured well, balancing dialogue, action, and story, but it makes the reader feel trapped in their apartment, and these two characters who are really hot for each other just eat eggs and read a bunch of case files. Build some sexual tension at least...
Chapter 13: Roger Ling is like the most talkative prisoner ever met, he seems to know the life history of every character of the story. He almost feels like he's read the book and he's writing an Amazon plot summary. He seems like Will Trent's best friend as he gives a much-too-long information dump. A drug mule taking a trip to Sweden would be a minor transaction, cannot see that would be something the boss would know or care about. If it were a cargo-container full of drugs, yes, but the stomach only holds so much. The reader does not need every nuance of each character and their case file spelled out. And dialogue-wise, Roger goes from street-thug to college professor...he speaks too clearly.
Chapter one started brilliantly then fizzled at the end.
It feels like the action in the back yard was rushed....it was just bam, he's dead, and the cops show up. While some scenes had all sorts of self reflection and deep thoughts, this was like, pow, it's done. Faith looks up and there is Leo Donnelly and poof, all the energy and tension drains from the scene.
How does everybody know there are not more bad guys with guns, what if the baby is not safe, what if for a second she's not sure?
Chapter one starts simply brilliantly, the buildup of tension is exquisite, the action is thrilling, but then it's just over, like the roller coaster had one hill, and it's done. It goes from shots fired to "Emma needs her mom" in four seconds and all the bad guys are either dead or gone.
Chapter 18-20: Without writing spoilers: this part blows up the story for me. First of all, they meet at the scene of the crime? Why? That makes no sense for either party. And both parties of this transaction walk in with the goods? That's not how it works. Unless what the other party wants is hidden away somewhere, then the one with more guns can control the situation. What would stop them from being surrounded and arrested right there? Or just shoot everybody and take the money. And she just walks in?
Logically why not kidnap another person at the same time, let's say a very young one, to guarantee that the one collecting the money can walk out alive? And what bad guy does not have a 'backup bad guy' watching his back, or maybe making more complications or flying-lead-things for those watching this from a distance? While there was a bit of a Star Wars twist to it, I think that so much more could have gone so much more wrong.
Ending: could have done more with it. Just villain loses, the end.
There should have been more complications--it seems sorta rushed. There was a lot of action but once the main characters were all in the same room, then ending would seem fairly predictable. Could have done more to put hero in peril, her family in peril. Maybe knock-off her obnoxious brother? Or take other family members for a wild-ride? Or make Jeremy or Angie the one who set it all up...
All of the above is my opinion, I could be wrong.
Unraveling this tale of greed, deceit and family secrets is greatly enhanced by the evolving characters. Nothing runs in a straight line - with trying to track down the killers; or the cast of characters working through the case, their interactions and a whole lot of emotional baggage. Slaughter carefully combines all these elements to craft an entertaining story and an excellent chapter in the Will Trent series.
I started at Book 4 of the series, thanks to a special offer, and I was hooked by the characters. It would be nice to go back to read earlier books - but I couldn't wait to see how the Will/Sara dynamic moved forward. Intriguing mysteries and the continuing development of all the peripheral actors reinforces Slaughter's standing as a great story teller. (Can't wait to read Book 6)
I thought the story dragged in places but I know that it is the publisher's fault for that. The publisher wants another 100 pages from these established writers so they can charge more for the book, but not necessarily pay more to the author. I have learned to skim through the slow parts in this book and others where extra material is added with no merit to the story.
Slaughter is a gutsy author. I have give a five star to FALLEN and to her other books I have read.
I LOVE Karin Slaughter's books. In the past month I've read and reviewed "Fractured" and "Undone"...both were great cop/suspense novels. And, in many ways, "Fallen" was good, too. It kept me reading and kept me guessing til the very end. But "Fallen" started to feel just a LITTLE like a Lifetime Movie. I WANT character development, but maybe just not so much that it feels 'forced.'
Obviously, mine is the minority opinion here. Maybe it's because I'm a guy and more involved in the crime drama than I am in the love life(s) of the characters. I haven't read Slaughter's earlier series involving Sara, Jeffery, etc...but I've read the reviews and "Fallen" felt like maybe Slaughter was trying to redeem herself for what many readers felt was an unsatisfactory ending to that series (it's hard to explain without spoilers)
That being said, I'd still recommend "Fallen" for its plot (Faith Mitchell's mother is missing! WHO took her, and WHY?) Slaughter's talent for creating suspense is still there, and she surely knows how to tell a great story! There were twists and turns and all kinds of surprises.
I enjoyed "Fallen"...I enjoy ALL of Karin Slaughter's novels. This just wasn't my favorite. That honor goes to the disturbing "Undone."