The story is set in Atlanta and the narrative is told in third person.
The opening of the story shoots off like a pistol. A mother comes home to find her daughter dead and the killer standing over the body. The events that happen next will result in an outcome that may surprise you.
Special Agent Will Trent and his supervisor, deputy director of the GBI apprehension team, Amanda Wagner, are called in to look over the crime scene as a political favor. The victim’s grandfather was a billionaire developer who had made his share of enemies over the years while gathering up a few political allies along the way.
Will and Amanda arrive at the crime scene, which is in one of Atlanta’s most affluent neighborhoods, fully prepared to take over the case if it looks like a contract hit. Shortly after arriving, however, they discover that the Atlanta PD has completely misread the scene. The GBI takes over the case almost immediately when it is discovered that there has been a case of mistaken identity and that there is another victim in this case who has been kidnapped.
Will is partnered with homicide detective Faith Mitchell and he doesn’t like it; he prefers to work alone. Faith’s a cop with the Atlanta PD and she was given this assignment to ease the tension between the local and state law enforcement agencies; a sign of truce for yanking another case away from the Atlanta PD. As excited as Faith is to work on this high profile case, she has a personal problem with Will: she resents him.
Six months prior, Will had arrested six Atlanta PD officers and forced several high ranking officers to retire because they were skimming cash off narcotic busts. As a stranger coming in to clean house, Will is viewed as a social pariah within the local police department. Faith’s mother, Evelyn Mitchell, was one of the high ranking officers Will had investigated that resulted in her being forced to retire. Due to some well placed political connections, from up the chain of command, her mother managed to escape being sent to prison.
I’ve tried to craft this review in such a way as to not spoil it for you. The themes of Ms. Slaughter’s latest suspense novel of sexual abuse, revenge, obsession, troubled teens, violence against women and victim recovery – is nothing new. She throws a few jabs at the media as well. Moving on.
The author’s narrative certainly will keep readers turning the pages. But you know, Slaughter has never been one to shy away from showcasing life’s ugly realities. She seems to specialize in dysfunction and tells her stories in such a way that is rather captivating to read. Her monsters are the average joe on the street and they tend to be well hidden from society’s view.
As for Special Agent, Will Trent – his background, his relationships, his work ethics, his demeanor, his character has made me bond to him completely. You see, Will harbors a secret that he has become adept at hiding and he’s learned to compensate for it. He’s managed to make a success of himself despite coming from nothing. He was raised in the foster care system for 18 years and has since went on to become an agent with the GBI.
As to his personal life, Will’s in a unhealthy relationship with a fellow cop that he needs to end but he won’t. She knows his history and her presence in his life provides him with some measure of safety. Will doesn’t act like a cop and his impassivity and awkward social skills tends to rub his partner, Faith, the wrong way at times. However, Will is good at his job and he’s damn good at reading crime scenes. He’s an enigma and unpredictable and I am drawn to him because of these character traits. Slaughter knows how to write interestingly dynamic characters and this book is no exception.
Fractured has to be Karin Slaughter’s best book to date. She may have hit her stride with writing this series and I plan to tag along for the ride. Given our past history [cough], I’m willing set aside past grievances and complaints.
While the first part of the story starts off with the first surprise twist, the rest of the investigation unfolds rather slowly and nicely over the course of four days. As the plot moves along, the story picks up pace and it gets harder and harder to put the book down. So, what does Fractured mean in relation to the story? Does the title fit? Yes, the title is apt for this the story. If I had any complaints at all, I would be hard pressed to find them, let alone list them; but no book is perfect. I did feel that the Epilogue was a little long-winded but I understood that the author was trying to wrap things up.
Ms. Slaughter’s novels are always character driven and Fractured is no different. One of the highlights of reading this story besides figuring out the mystery was watching the relationship develop between Faith and Will. They have great chemistry together but they spar often because Faith feels she is being constantly kept out of the investigation.
Faith, in her own right, is a rather interesting character. She’s 33 years old with a 18 year kid in college. She’s been a cop who just worked the hours on the clock and went home to an empty house. This case provides her with the opportunity to shine. Faith started off this story resenting Will, admittedly, for doing his job. But along the course of the investigation, it was nice to see her start to respect him and see that he is a good cop.
Fractured is the second book in this purported series and some parts of the plot of the first book, Triptych, is discussed here briefly. But Fractured does stand alone very well. While there is nary a romance in this story, I didn’t miss it. My grade, A and that’s withstanding any flaws. Fractured is available in hardcover and ebook. Publisher’s Weekly also gave this book a starred review.