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Broken by Karin Slaughter

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Broken by Karin SlaughterQuite a story about a small town in Georgia and all of the troubles that manage to get intertwined in the lives of the inhabitants. Originally it focuses on the murder of a young girl whose body is dumped into a nearby lake. But as the story evolves more and more twisted events are brought into play by the author.

When Frank Wallace, the local police chief, and his main deputy begin investigating the death of the girl their suspicions are drawn to another youngster in the town. They find Tommy Braham, a slightly retarded boy, in the dead girl’s garage apartment. In the ensuing chase Frank is wounded, as is another of his deputies. Lena Addams, his second in command, takes command, apprehends and jails Tommy.

However after the arrest Lena begins having deep concerns about the way that the whole episode went down. She not only replays the scene in her mind but she also realizes that once more Frank had been drinking or “nipping” all the way up to the chase itself. She has seen more and more of this and other strange quirks in his behavior recently. Although she believes that Tommy committed the crime she is unsure about the way that he is being handled.

About the same time Sara Linton who was married to the former police chief comes back into town to visit her parents for Thanksgiving. Sara had worked as a part time medical examiner along with running her children’s clinic in the town but left it all behind when her police chief husband was killed. Sara has a deep hatred for Lena because she feels the deputy was at fault in the action when Sara’s husband was killed.

Frank calls Sara to come to the police station because Tommy has been asking for her to come to help him out. He claims that Sara had been very good to him while he was growing up. Frank feels that perhaps Sara can help calm him down because he is very worked up. However before Sara gets to the station Tommy has cut his wrists with an ink cartridge taken from a ballpoint pen and bled to death. Frank appears distraught but Sara does not understand how any of this could happen. Since she now works in Atlanta she immediately calls her friend who is a deputy director with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Due to the fact that a suicide occurred inside of a police station, the GBI would have been called in for an investigation anyway but Sara felt strongly that it needed to be done as quickly as possible.

With the arrival of special investigator Will Trent, the story grows into a full-blown mystery novel with many different twists and turns. At this Karin Slaughter is a real master and she has done a fantastic job with Broken to pull the reader into the action. The final ending is a complete shock but very well thought out and explained. It leaves the reader fully satisfied! Great job of writing!

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