“Never underestimate the power of a shared history.”
The fourth book in the Will Trent series by author Karin Slaughter, Broken, which was originally released in 2010, follows the investigations of detective Lena Adams and her often drunk boss, interim Chief of Police Frank Wallace, after the body of a female student is discovered deep beneath the icy waters of Lake Grant. With a note left under a rock beside her body, the evidence initially points to suicide. But within minutes, it becomes clear that this was a brutal, cold-blooded murder.
When the prime suspect, Tommy Braham, commits suicide in his jail cell, Dr Sara Linton, back in town for Thanksgiving with her family, is put on the case. Still incredibly angry with Lena over her role in Sara’s husband’s death and convinced that Lena’s callous and reckless behaviour has led to the possibly innocent suspect’s death, Sara calls in back-up from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and is introduced to Agent Will Trent. Despite the roadblocks, he unveils serious errors and deliberate cover-ups in the investigation that definitively points to a murderer still on the loose.
The fourth book in the Will Trent series, which follows on from the Grant County series, I have only previously read the seventh book in the Will Trent series, Unseen. So, I have gone at this franchise in completely the wrong order, but after enjoying the characters in Unseen so much, I just had to get into another instalment and this is the first one that found its way into my hands.
Whilst I struggled with Unseen because there were so many characters to get used to, I went into Broken having some prior knowledge and understanding of their relationships, so it was much easier to get invested in the story this time around. I especially loved getting to see Sara and Will meet for the first time having read about a more struggling time in their relationship, and I definitely can’t wait to get to know them even more.
There’s still a lot I don’t know about Sara and Lena’s past with this being the earliest book in the Grant County series that I have read, but I understood all of the developments and emotions going on. Slaughter’s stories are so complex, yet each of her books work so well as standalone books, as well.
As a thriller on its own, Broken is the most engaging and well-paced that I have read in a long time. It may not be as gruesome or disturbing as previous instalments, but the mystery will undeniably have you hooked and keep you guessing all the way through. It is also heavier on the forensic side of the investigation so it’s also very interesting to follow the police proceedings more thoroughly.
Slaughter uses brilliant descriptions and I genuinely felt like I needed to change my socks whilst reading this because of the constant rain and mud. As with all of her books, she again delves into some dark themes, exploring issues of mental illness, alcoholism, dyslexia, grief, loss and shame. And this is why her stories are so engaging, because her characters all have relatable issues and it is through their social awkwardnesses that they are drawn together and we are drawn to them.
Having read a few instalments in the Grant County series as well as some of Slaughter’s standalone books, she is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I definitely intend to be getting my hands on some of her other books as soon as I can.
I’ve just revisited this book after starting from the beginning of the series and this is still a firm favourite for me! I could remember every scene in this book vividly and it was great to go back to it with more knowledge of the characters and relationships, especially since we haven’t been in Grant County for a while!
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