Review: Karin Slaughter merges characters from her two series when Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent is assigned to investigate a suspicious suicide in rural Grant County in Broken, the superior eighth novel of suspense in the Grant County series (and third to feature Will Trent).
After the body of a local female college student is found submerged in a lake, the police arrest Tommy Braham, a young man who hours later commits suicide in jail. But Dr. Sara Linton, who is in town to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family and was married to the county's sheriff, who was killed in the line of duty, considers Tommy's death questionable and calls in the GBI. Atlanta-based Will Trent is given the assignment and, shortly after arriving in Grant County, comes to the same conclusion … but also suspects there is more — much more — going on. The violent murder of another college student, this one male and the boyfriend of the young woman found in the lake, complicates matters. With three deaths to investigate, Will finds his work made all the more difficult by the interpersonal relationships of the officials involved, each of whom seems to have their own agenda to follow — and not always with getting to the truth foremost in mind.
The story in Broken primarily takes place over two cold, rain-soaked days in late November and for the most part alternates between the points of view Trent, Sara, and Grant County police detective Lena Adams. What appears at first to be a simple crime of passion — the young woman found in the lake — has elements of precision and forethought to them, right down to the clumsy "suicide" note found at the scene. How these three characters react to finding the body, and their subsequent actions, is a study in contrasts. There are myriad interpersonal relationships involved, and the author handles the complexity of these as an extension of the investigation of the murder. It is exceptionally well done, and though the narrative at times drifts into the verbose, it errs on the side of being more atmospheric and literary than merely wordy.
After spending two tense, miserable days searching for a killer, the conclusion to Broken seems rather anti-climactic. Or maybe it's just a relief that the case has come to a close for these characters, that it has changed each of them — probably for the better — and they can, in their own way, seek closure on a personal level and move on with their lives. This is a remarkable suspense novel, and is highly recommended.
Acknowledgment: Authors on the Web provided an ARC of Broken for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Delacorte Press (Hardcover), July 2012
ISBN-13: 9780345528506; ISBN-10: 0345528506
Location(s) referenced in Broken: Georgia
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Broken by Karin Slaughter — A Grant County Mystery
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 2010
List Price: $26.00