“She had dozens, even hundreds, of friends, but not one single person knew all of the pieces of her.”
The 2019 book from Karin Slaughter, Pieces Of Her follows Laura Oliver, the perfect small-town mum. Her daughter, Andrea, has grown up believing that she is the pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. But when Laura and Andrea are caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person – and that’s because, thirty years ago, she was. As elements of the past return and put them both in danger, Andrea is left to piece together Laura’s former identity and discover the truth – for better or worse – about her mother. Is the gentle, loving woman who raised her also a violent killer?
Karin Slaughter is my favourite author so I always look forward to picking up one of her books, especially when it’s a new standalone story so that I can get to know some new characters.
Pieces Of Her is told over two timelines, one in the present as Andrea goes on the run, and the second in the past as we find out who Laura really is. Because the two stories feel so disconnected at first, I did find the pace of this one a little slow, but it eventually comes together brilliantly.
I may not have warmed to the characters as much as I normally do, but I love Slaughter’s skilful writing and deft plotting. It’s certainly not as dark as her usual style, but it’s just as addictively complex. I really enjoyed the feeling of almost a period espionage thriller, and the mystery of how it will play out will definitely keep you turning the pages.
Although this isn’t one of my favourite books by my favourite author, I think the upcoming Netflix TV adaptation is going to be great. Set to be released in early 2022, Toni Collette is going to be playing Laura and Bella Heathcote is playing Andy.