REVIEW: 'Fractured' by Karin Slaughter

Fractured by Karin SlaughterFractured (2008) by Karin Slaughter is the sequel to last year’s, Triptych, featuring Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

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.

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Grade A Reviews, Mystery and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to REVIEW: 'Fractured' by Karin Slaughter

  1. Tee says:

    Glad to hear you liked it. Your enthusiastic statements about Slaughter’s previous books on another message board were what prompted me to at least try her. I’m so glad I did. There were a couple in the last series that were not her best, but the rest were dynamite. And even those few were good when comparing them to a lot of what’s out there. I’m anxious to get my copy from the library–hope it’ll be soon. Thanks for the review.

  2. Avid Reader says:

    Hi Tee, you’ll have to let me know how you liked Fractured. As for her other series, I would be hard pressed to to pick a favorite but Blindsighted, Kisscut and Beyond Reach were hard to put down. Weakest for me would have to beIndelible.

  3. Sweet says:

    I’m glad to see that Slaughter just didn’t let the wonderful character of Will Trent go to waste. After reading Triptych, I wondered if she’d ever write about him again. There was just something about him that left me wanting to know more.

    I did a Karin Slaughter reading marathon awhile back, while enjoyable I was left kind of bruised and battered. It will probably be awhile before I get my hands on Fractured. Thanks for the review. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  4. LesleyW says:

    I was in Borders yesterday and picked this up and read the inside cover, I was interested to read that she was following up the character of Will Trent.

    But unfortunately Skin Privilege has left a (figuratively) nasty taste in my mouth and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy Fractured.

  5. Avid Reader says:

    I got this copy from the publisher. I know what you mean LesleyW. It felt weird reading her new book but the story took off and I just couldn’t put it down. Am I foolish for reading her again? Maybe. Only time will tell and I’ve accepted what happened in the Grant County series and I have zero plans to continue to read that series. But part of me does realize that it wasn’t easy for her [Slaughter] to kill off a popular character but I do respect an author for wanting to do something different. I just think that she killed off the wrong character. If she had killed off Lena or Sarah, I’d still be reading the series, honestly. But [the character she killed off] was the only one I liked in that series so when she killed him off that was the end of it for me.

  6. Tee says:

    If Slaughter writes another book in the Grant County series, I know I’ll read it. I thought I wouldn’t, but Lena is too fascinating a character for me not to know which direction the author will lead her. I liked the deceased character too, but enough time has passed for me (as with you) that I can drop it. It’s Slaughter’s baby to do with what she wants and that’s what she wants, I guess.

    By the way, I have Fractured now in hand and am about half way thru it. I am loving it. Will is a wonderful character and I remember that I enjoyed him in Triptych too. His relationship with Angie is a time bomb and he so does not need her in his life. Slaughter has a way with pulling you into the characters without realizing that you’re heavily invested. She draws them slowly and you’re in waist-deep. The story overall is great, so far.

  7. Avid Reader says:

    By the way, I have Fractured now in hand and am about half way thru it. I am loving it.

    Good to hear! I have Tryptych and will read it soon.

    His relationship with Angie is a time bomb and he so does not need her in his life.

    Does it seem to you that maybe Slaughter will have Will and Faith eventually get together? It would be a slow progress.

  8. Tee says:

    I don’t know if Faith and Will will get together. Now I’m about 3/4 of the way thru Fractured and something appears to maybe be going on with her and Victor. If that’s the case (and I don’t know that it is), it will be very slow progress between Will and her. Will is a person that always wants to do well and make a good impression on people, but he needs to come to grips with his personal issue. Angie is there for a reason for him, but I’m hoping he eventually understands it’s not a good thing.

    I love his relationship with Amanda (his boss). It really works for me. I like how he thinks thru a problem and works it like a rubic’s cube. Even through all that, he doesn’t have the self-esteem he should. Slaughter has her work all cut out for her with this one.

    Have you not yet read Triptych or is this just a re-read? Just wondering.

  9. Avid Reader says:

    I’ve never read Triptych. I just jumped into the second one. I bought it last year but never cracked it open.

    Re: Will and Faith – tell me what you think after you finish reading. I may be reading too much into it but I think a “spark” is there. I’m a romance reader after all, I look for these types of things. [g] Even if it is not so – I look forward to reading more about Will Trent. And like you – I really enjoyed Amanda’s character.

  10. jenreads says:

    I’ve enjoyed the Grant County series, but I think this new series is Slaughter’s best. I loved Triptych and think this is just as good if not better. Will is a so likable and Faith fits very well with him. Of course, I’d love to see them together at some point (hey, I’m a romance reader too).

  11. Tee says:

    <<>>

    Well, Keishon, I am finished with “Fractured” and loved it to the end. She has created a wonderful character in Will (I think I’m in love). Do I think Will and Faith will be a relationship? Maybe, maybe not. Slaughter has a way of pulling the rug from beneath our feet. I just don’t know. But I’d like to see it happen. As the book was nearing the end, I felt she gave us some fairly good reasons why he continues to stay with Angie (I’m sure many of us guessed them also). Unfortunately, for him, it makes sense; but I don’t see it long-term. I can’t wait for the next book, but I also don’t know if it’ll be in this series or the Grant County one. Have you changed your mind yet about reading one in that series yet if she puts one out?

  12. Tee says:

    Sorry, I meant Will and FAITH, not Frank in the post above. Is there any way to go back and make corrections on a posted message here? Thanks.

  13. Avid Reader says:

    Hey Tee –

    I made the corrections for you 🙂 I’ll add an editing feature soon. Often I am having to make corrections as well.

    Re Grant County series – I think it will be a depressing read and I’m sure I will be tempted to read it but – who knows. I said I’d never read her again and here I am doing just that. Sigh.

  14. Sue says:

    I just finished Fractured last night — had to ration it out to myself to make it last longer. I’m a huge fan of Karin’s writing and having met her several times, am totally amazed at the plots she creates and the way she develops her characters.

    BTW, I’m a huge romace reader also, and most of my friends are shocked that I enjoy this genre of fiction. I agreed with Will that the most romantic thing was Angie buying another jar of mayo. I hope Karin develops that relationship more in her next book about Will.

    I too was stunned that she killed off Jeff (maybe because I had such a crush on him) and I did actually tell her that I was crushed by it, but I am very anxious to see what she does next with the series. Although extremely gruesome, I did not find it offensive the way she developed the crime and I loved the way she described the crime from all the different perspectives — thought that was a brilliant way to get inside the crime. I was totally surprised with the news about Lena’s mother and wonder if that will develop further?

    I do have one serious question about Fractured, which I really did enjoy, and that is, “what about the handprint on the wall?” Did I just totally miss it, or did she ever identify to whom the print belonged? When I finished reading, closed the book, saw the handprint on the jacket, that was the first question I had. Am I loosing it? HELP!

  15. Avid Reader says:

    Hi Sue –

    OK, it looks like it is Will and Angie and not Will and Faith [relationship developement]. I just don’t know how long that relationship will last [with Angie]. I like Faith more. As to your question regarding the handprint on the wall, Sue – I am blanking on that. Skimming through my notes, she didn’t say who it was. I guess it was inconclusive?

  16. Tee says:

    On page 29, it says, “For some reason, the most troubling part to Will was the single red handprint on the wall directly over the victim’s head where her attacker had obviously rested his weight as he raped her.” So, in my mind, it’s saying the print belonged to her killer, who I’ll not identify here. If there’s anything more to that, I missed it too.

    I am hoping that the relationship will end eventually with Angie. He deserves so much better, but he doesn’t realize that right now. I think she should be in his life, but not his sexual relationship life. She’s good for him in some ways, but he knows he needs something more on a personal level. I don’t know if that’s Faith, but I’d like to see someone other than Angie. But, here again, it’s Slaughter’s call and who am I to say?

  17. Avid Reader says:

    Angie does have her uses – she’s insightful, good at reading people but that’s about it. Tee, as to your reference on page 29 I have my own speculations on that “handprint” but for fear of spoilers but you may be right. There were quite a few twists to this story.

    As an aside, I am currently reading Sandra Brown’s “Smoke Screen” right now. I have Mike Carey’s “Vicious Circle” waiting and a lot of other diverse reads that I can’t wait to start.

  18. Tee says:

    I haven’t gotten “Smoke Screen” yet, but I loved “Play Dirty” last year. I hope this one is just as good. Get back with us on that one with your opinions on it.

    One last thing on “Fractured,” and that is I don’t really get the title. You said you thought you did, but it isn’t connecting with me. I have thoughts, but I’m not sure they are the same as the author’s.

  19. Avid Reader says:

    One last thing on “Fractured,” and that is I don’t really get the title. You said you thought you did, but it isn’t connecting with me. I have thoughts, but I’m not sure they are the same as the author’s.

    Well, I take the word “fractured” to mean “broken.” Almost all of the characters are “fractured” to some degree: The Campano’s marriage, Will’s childhood, etc, so forth, without giving too much away. That’s all I was alluding to in regards to the title. It is aptly named story.

  20. Jaynine says:

    Is this book appropriate for a 14yr old boy?

  21. Avid Reader says:

    Is this book appropriate for a 14yr old boy?

    I am the last person in the world to ask about the appropriateness of crime novels such as this one but if I had to rate this like a movie, it would be rated R for sexual situations and violence.

  22. Jaynine says:

    Thank you…I really appreciate you taking time to comment!

  23. Sue says:

    I once asked Karin if she thought her books were appropriate for a very mature 16 year old reader (my extremely brilliant niece) — and she said she did not think so. She thought some of the details might be too gruesome for even a very progressive reader, simply because they were still too young to cope with the information and situations.

    Regarding the book title — “Fractured” — the last chapter addresses the title. In it, Abby talks about how time seems fractured — the “if-only’s” and “what-if’s” of the situation and circumstances.

  24. Marin says:

    Hi!
    Thank you so much for this review, it kind of helped me understand the book a bit more. I’m from Sweden and my english isn’t really 100% perfect so thanks!

    I also liked the book very much I think Slaughter’s work is excellent and a piece of art made into a book.

    Greetings from Sweden! 🙂

  25. Avid Reader says:

    Marin: Greet­ings from Swe­den!

    Hi Marin and WELCOME!

    Have you read Karin Slaughter’s latest book, UNDONE?

  26. Sara says:

    I am fairly certain that the hand print was later explained to belong to Adam around the same time they determined it was his blood in the streak along her stomach. I would have to go back and re-read, but I am almost positive it ended up belonging to Adam, not her killer.

  27. Avid Reader says:

    @Sara: Now, if only I can remember who Adam is, lol. I think I know who you’re talking about and I think I agree with you. I remember the hand print was explained in the book at least.

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