25 March 2011

Book Review Number 53: Broken by Karin Slaughter

Broken is the latest book in Karin Slaughter's Grant County series.  It had been awhile since I'd visited Grant County through these books, so it was nice to get back into it.

It's been four years since the death of Jeffrey Tolliver, police chief in Grant County, GA.  His wife, Sarah - the local pediatrician and Medical Examiner - sold her practice to move to Atlanta.  It didn't hold the same heartache as Grant County had.  And it didn't hold Lena Adams, the woman that Sarah blamed for her husband's death.  The only thing that was able to draw her home was to visit with her family.

The story opens with the death of a coed from local Grant Tech.  It looks to be suicide when she's first found.  But Lena's quick eyes spot things that don't add up to suicide.  Even though it's clear he doesn't want it to be looked into, interim police chief, Frank Wallace, lets her do some follow up.

Frank immediately picks out a suspect and when, in an effort to question the young man a police detective is injured, their suspect heads to jail.  And that is the story that Sarah hears when she is called to the police station because this young man wants to talk to her.

Things have changed in Grant County since she's been gone.  There's something different about the police force without Jeffrey at it's helm.  It doesn't feel quite as upstanding as it once had.  There are secrets within secrets there.  Rather than stand back and let things go, she calls in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  Her friend, Will Trent, is sent to investigate.

What follows changes everyone involved.  And there are very few secrets left by the end of the book.

I really enjoyed reading this one.  Somehow, I missed the previous book, Beyond Reach, so I wasn't familiar with how Jeffrey had died.   (I'm going back to read it now.)  Still, that missing piece of information didn't seem to affect my enjoyment of the story.  The characters all felt real to me - I could understand why Sarah hated Lena so much, the spiral that Lena was still going through with bad decision after bad decision, the way the Will was torn when he was around Sarah.  It was a very emotional read, as so many were pulled out to be studied through the course of the book.  But that's one of Karin Slaughter's strengths, finding the right tone for the character.

I'm glad this is one that I'd purchased because I think it's one that I'm going to want to read again.