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1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter

on July 23, 2018

Pieces Of Her 
Karin Slaughter
Harper Collins AUS
2018, 480p
Uncorrected proof copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The electrifying new thriller from international bestseller Karin Slaughter explores the deadly secrets kept between a mother and daughter.

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. Or so Andrea thinks.

When Andrea is 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 she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle.

Laura is hailed as a hero for her actions at the mall but 24 hours later she is in hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down.

What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide? 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?

I’m not sure how this is possible, but this is the first Karin Slaughter book I’ve ever read. She’s been on my radar for ages – possibly years. I own two of her books and one is the first in the Will Trent series, which I’ve heard people absolutely rave about. Apart from having two relatively well known series’, the Will Trent and the Grant County series, Slaughter also writes stand alone novels and this is one of those.

Andrea moved back from New York City to the tiny Belle Isle three years ago, when her mother got sick. Her mother is well again now but Andrea is still there, working a night shift job and going nowhere. She and her mother are having a discussion on how Andrea should find what makes her happy when a young man unleashes a hail of bullets on several of the other people having a meal.

What follows next is a terrifying ordeal for Andrea that becomes shocking in more than one way – not only does the shooter mistake her for a police officer because of her uniform, but Andrea’s calm, quiet, speech therapist mother suddenly morphs into someone else, her takedown of the shooter captured on a phone and broadcast to the entire world. Andrea doesn’t know what to think – everything about what her mother is, who she is, suddenly seems as though it’s one huge lie. And when Laura tells her to flee and gives her directions to a place that gives her the means to do so, Andrea suddenly wants answers about the person who raised her far more than she desires safety.

Pieces Of Her is told in a back and forth kind of way, focusing on the present and then dipping back into the past at intervals to slowly construct Laura’s background and show the events that lead up to how and why she’s where she is in the present. I don’t know what it is, but I just love books where characters are on the run – that isolation, staying low, time spent on the road. I find it really appealing and so when it seems that Laura’s actions being broadcast to the world have brought people to her door looking for her, she sends Andrea away to keep her safe. Andrea has to deal with yet again more secrets that her mother has been keeping and she wants answers. Armed with an overheard clue, she starts tracking down the people she thinks might be able to help her unravel the mystery of her mother’s past.

I really got into Laura’s story! It starts with such a huge event where you think this horrible thing has happened and how will she cope but then you realise that there’s so much more going on and not everything is what it seems. The way in which this built was really interesting and it made Laura this really complex character. Did I feel sorry for her? Did she deserve my sympathy? Was she a victim as well, or was she a perpetrator who didn’t deserve her second chance? It raised so many questions for me and I really enjoyed examining them and trying to decide how I felt. It’s one of those things where I think everyone will feel a little differently, the sort of book where it’d be good to read it with a book club or something because there’s so much that could be up for debate.

There are a lot of ‘shades of grey’ in this book, which I liked. The tension was nicely built as well with plenty of heart stopping moments. I did pick a few things before they were revealed but I don’t think that was a negative – it allowed the focus to be so much on the psychological as well, the mind games that were being played and how that impacted. This is a decent sized book but it seemed to fly by……I was very reluctant to put it down once I’d started and the more I read, the more I wanted to know. I’m so keen to read more Karin Slaughter books, because it seems as though a lot of people regard her other books really highly. This being my first one, I have nothing to compare it to but I absolutely loved this! For me it was just the right mix of past and present, ambiguous characters, suspense and gore and mind games. Highly, highly enjoyable.


Book #119 of 2018

3 responses to “Review: Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter

  1. Snap! I have never read a Karin Slaughter novel either. I do have a few on the shelf though because her reputation is pretty credible. This one sounds excellent.

    • It has definitely left me wanting to read more of her books! I have the first in the Will Trent series (but only the first and the sixth, which is annoying) so I might try that next and see how I go.

      • The first and the sixth! Ha! I have the one she released late last year, I can see the edge of it behind another pile. Am going to dig it out soon. A work colleague really likes all of Slaughter’s books.

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