Broken Review
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Police pull the body of Allison Spooner from a frigid lake in Grant County, Georgia. Though they’d like to rule it a suicide to keep things simple, they decide that a mentally challenged young man killed her for resisting his advances. They arrest Tommy Braham, who then commits suicide in his cell.

Dr. Sara Linton arrives in Grant County to visit her parents for Thanksgiving. After her husband, Chief of Police Jeffery Tolliver, was killed in the line of duty, Sara left Grant County and the bad memories behind. But when she’s faced with the suicide of her former patient, Tommy Braham, her hatred and mistrust for one officer comes storming back. Sara believes that Lena Adams was responsible for her husband’s death—and now for Tommy’s, too.

Lena Adams is tired of covering Chief Frank Wallace’s drinking problem. He’s becoming a danger to her fellow officers, but she can’t say anything because he holds too much over her head. To make matters worse, Sara Linton is back in town, determined to bury Lena for the death of Jeffery Tolliver. When FBI Special Agent Will Trent shows up, it takes all of her strength not to break down and tell him exactly what happened after Allison Spooner was found dead.

  
 
Depth of character and a puzzling crime make Broken one fantastic thriller. Ms. Slaughter digs deep into each character’s psyche, bringing to light all of their strengths and flaws—to the point where you’ll care deeply about all of them, no matter what their transgressions might be.

Dr. Sara Linton has a need for closure. Surprisingly, her determination to get to Lena Adams didn’t get on my nerves as it has with other characters in similar situations. Ms. Slaughter strikes a balance between Sara’s pain and her hatred, and you can’t help but hope that she can come to terms with it all before she does something irrevocable.

Special Agent Will Trent is a quiet, strong character who hides a crippling handicap of his own. Through it all, he keeps an open mind and tries to see things from all sides. His main focus—as it should be—is Allison Spooner. And that alone makes him an endearing character.

A lot of the focus of Broken is placed on the characters—but, in the background, there’s still a mystery that begging to be solved. What really happened to Allison Spooner? What was she doing near Grant Lake on a bitter cold night? Who would want her dead—and why? The answers, when they come, will surprise the heck out of you.

Broken is one of my all-time favorite books—one of the rare few that I’ll go back and read again, simply because it has a profound depth that’s not often seen in crime fiction. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check out the “also by” page, to find more of Karin Slaughter’s thrillers that I can pick up and read.

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