Monday, August 24, 2009
I have now read every Karin Slaughter book out there and must now wait for the next one. I believe I talked about Slaughter's penchant for the wicked twist in a previous blog entry; whether it's in the opening chapters or at the end, she's got a talent for them. Another thing I like about Slaughter's books is how the mystery of whodunit is revealed and resolved. She makes the resolution believable and organic--though this does not mean it was necessarily predictable by any means and is often quite the opposite. Maybe it's a testament to Slaughter's meticulous development of characters throughout the story that one never feels that the culprit appears suddenly from the mists out in left field.
Fractured opens in an affluent, Atlanta neighborhood. A wealthy teenage girl has been beaten to death and quite possibly raped during the course of her brutal murder. Before the sun sets on this murder, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case and agent Will Trent is searching for another girl, who has been kidnapped. Throughout the course of the investigation an extremely unfavorable portrait is painted of a cruelly manipulative girl for whom causing trouble and wrecking lives soon becomes a blood sport. The investigation also introduces Trent to Atlanta homicide detective, Faith Mitchell, his future GBI partner.
While I love the characters of Mitchell and Trent, I can't say as much for Trent's "fiancee," Angie. If that woman jumped off a cliff, never to be seen nor heard from again, I would be very happy.
This is a gripping page turner dripping with suspense as Trent and Mitchell track down leads and clues, putting the pieces of the puzzle together as quickly as possible. But will it be quickly enough to save the girl who's been taken and is surely suffering unspeakable horrors at the hands of her captor?
I highly recommend you read this book. It is available on shelf at Matthews Public Library; it is also available upon request from Annville Free Library, Lebanon Community Library, Myerstown Community Library, Palmyra Public Library, and Richland Community Library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I'm a big Karin Slaughter fan. After reading Undone and the last two Slaughter books outside of the Grant county series that I hadn't read yet, it's like I'm rediscovering why I'm a Slaughter fan in the first place. Now that I've read all of her books (a review for Fractured is forthcoming), I am giddy with anticipation for the next novel coming out in 2010 and desperate for information on what it's about. I'd settle for knowing whether or not it'll feature both Dr. Sara Linton and GBI agents Will Trent and Faith Mitchell like her current release does.
I remember when TripTych first came out; I started to read it and then stopped after the first couple chapters. Something about the character of Michael Ormewood just turned me off. A couple years later after I finished reading Undone and decided I had to read Slaughter's other novels that featured Trent, I gave TripTych another try, and I am so glad I did. In a way it is different from her other novels in that its parts focus on the story from different character perspectives. Through my recent experiences with Slaughter's books, I've realized that she has a penchant for throwing wicked twists at the reader, and the twists she throws into this story will make your jaw drop.
In 1985 the daughter of an Atlanta assistant district attorney is brutally raped and beaten to death; in short order her murderer is caught and brought to justice. This portion of the story is related through newspaper clippings. Cut to 2006 when teenage girls are being raped and beaten in a similar manner; Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent is tracking these crimes. Then an Atlanta prostitute is murdered and mutilated in a manner that matches previous rapes in other parts of Georgia; the pattern of crime matches the others in all ways except victim profile. Atlanta Police homicide detective Michael Ormewood catches the murder of the prostitute and the unique method of her mutilation catches the attention of agent Will Trent, who joins the investigation in an advisory role. The investigation is barely hours old before the serial rapist/murderer strikes again, this time in Ormewood's backyard. How do the murders connect to the rapes that took place in other parts of Georgia? How do the current crimes connect to the murder from 1985?
Slaughter crafts another intricate mystery that has several threads that in the end are all tied together in a messy, little knot. She produces yet another twisty, turny, unputdownable page turner of a novel. Your heart will pound when the murderer is revealed early on and then your fear will be whether or not Trent and Ormewood put the pieces together in time to prevent another life from being taken and to bring the murderer to justice.
If you haven't already read this book, I highly recommend you do. If you love a suspense filled mystery with vivid characterization, you will love this book. It is available on shelf at Matthews Public Library; it is also available upon request from Annville Free Library, Palmyra Public Library and Richland Community Library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I started reading Karin Slaughter's Grant county series a few years ago and quickly fell in love with the characters of Dr. Sara Linton, coroner to rural Grant county and her husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, the local police chief. Slaughter says that in these novels she tells the story of Sara. While this may be true, I've noticed that for novels that are supposed to tell Sara's story, the focus of the story is often on Tolliver and his crime solving rather than Sara. The same is true for the latest (highly anticipated) installment of the series, which picks up Sara's story three years later.
Undone is the latest installment of Karin Slaughter's Grant County series that features a cross-over with the characters of Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents that were featured in a previous novel by Slaughter. I can only hope this means that we'll see more of Trent, Mitchell, and Dr. Sara Linton sharing the pages of new installments. (The next Slaughter book is due out in 2010 and I can hardly wait for it; luckily, I have her other two stand alone novels to help hold me over until then.)
In the suburban backwoods of Atlanta, Georgia, a woman, who has been brutally tortured, runs out into the road; as if this woman has not suffered enough, she is struck by an oncoming car. She is brought to Grady Hospital's emergency room where Dr. Sara Linton treats her. Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents Will Trent and Faith Mitchell catch the case (or more accurately, wrest it from the jurisdiction of the ignorant, local police authorities). Before the night is done, Trent is searching the same woods from whence the woman came for the place where she was kept and tortured. Soon it becomes apparent that the woman was not the only one being held captive and that there is another woman out there somewhere in those woods. Then another woman, matching the description of physical features of the first victim, is abducted in broad daylight in front of her son from the parking lot of an Atlanta grocery store. Now Trent and his partner, Mitchell, must race against time to find the third victim, figure out if and how the victims might be connected, and track down the murderer before it's too late to save the last woman that has been abducted.
Is the recent abductee really connected to the torture victims or is it a separate case? Trent and Mitchell must contend with a turf war between the GBI and the local cops on the case in addition to a case that yields few leads.
In addition to being a talented writer, Slaughter also has a gift for creating powerfully and vividly drawn characters. Slaughter graphically portrays Linton's grief over a brutal, personal tragedy suffered three years prior that the reader feels Linton's pain over the loss. I will also be reading the previous novel that featured the characters of Trent and Mitchell. In short, this book was extremely hard to put down and when I was away from it, I was wishing I was at home reading it.
I highly recommend you read this book --or any book by Karin Slaughter. It is available here at the Matthews Public Library; it is also available upon request from Annville Free Library, Myerstown Community Library, and Palmyra Public Library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The film Knowing stars Nicolas Cage and Rose Byrne. I'm not sure why I expected more from this movie than I did; I should know by now that sometimes Nicolas Cage's films don't always live up to what they should be. The film starts out as a supernatural thriller before morphing into an apocalyptic disaster story about half way through the movie. In the end there were strange parallels to the recent remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still (starring Keanu Reeves who also has one acting mode like Cage, however, Reeves' one mode annoys me far less than Cage does) that made me feel like Knowing was really a rip off of The Day The Earth Stood Still with a far more bleaker ending.
In 1959 a young girl puts a piece of paper covered with an extremely long series of numbers into her class's time capsule. Half a century later that time capsule is unearthed and unsealed and John's (Nicolas Cage) son, Caleb, receives the girl's 'vision of the future.' John, a functioning alcoholic who uses liquor to dull the pain of a recent personal tragedy, becomes obsessed with the numbers' sequence and spends an entire alcohol fueled night deciphering the meaning behind the numbers. He is shocked to discover that the numbers reveal the location, date and number of casualties for every major disaster over the last fifty years. However, the last several numbers are for dates set several days in the future. John then tracks down the daughter of the girl who recorded the numbers and enlists her (extremely) reluctant help in solving the mystery of the disasters foretold for the last three dates. It is at the point of finally resolving the puzzle of the last disaster that the movie drastically swings in a different direction before hurtling on to the cheesiest, hoakiest ending of a movie that I've witnessed in a long time.
You can see this movie for yourself or don't. It is available upon request from Annville Free Library, Palmyra Public Library, and Richland Community Library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
In 1913 a four year old girl is boarded on a ship bound for Australia. When the ship reaches its Australian port, it is clear the girl has been abandoned and that no one is there to meet her. The port master and his wife take in the little girl, name her Nell and raise her as their own. On the night of Nell's twenty-first birthday her father reveals to her the family secret and her world, her identity, her family, her life and her future are irrevocably altered.
At the center of the book is the mystery of Nell's identity and life prior to boarding the ship. Eventually Nell follows the mystery all the way to England to find the answers to the questions about her parentage and of how she came to be on that ship alone in 1913. While Nell makes remarkable headway in solving the mystery in 1975, circumstances at home conspire to keep her in Australia and Nell goes to her grave without ever knowing her true origins and why she was sent on a ship to Australia. In 2005 upon her death Nell's granddaughter Cassandra is told of her inheritance of a remote cottage in the Cornish countryside of England--a cottage that Cassandra never knew Nell owned. Now it is up to Cassandra to pursue the missing pieces of the puzzle and when the complete picture is finally assembled it is more twisted and heartbreaking than she could have ever imagined.
Morton relates the story from alternating points of view--each chapter switches between 1913, 1975 and 2005; each one revealing a little more the mystery of the family Nell never knew. It is a story of family secrets, cruel manipulations, and, in the end, of resolution and redemption. For Cassandra, solving her grandmother's mystery will lead her back to the land of the living and help heal the grief of a personal tragedy suffered a decade ago.
Although the story is slow moving at first, once the reader reaches the thick of it, it will be hard to put down. While the switching off of time periods illuminates the story from other character perspectives and serves to connect the reader as much to the events occurring in the far distant past as those in the present of the book, I still found this plot device irritating.
This book is available upon request from Myerstown Community Library, Annville Free Library and Lebanon Community Library. It can also be found in adult fiction at Matthews Public Library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie