Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for the return of Detective Lena Adams, while in the wake of Chief Jeffrey Tolliver's death the Grant County police department is clearly long been in a downward spiral into corruption.
Broken is Karin Slaughter's follow up to Undone. Sara's hometown, rife with memories of her life with Jeffrey, is still a painful place for her to be even four years after his death. It's her first time back, and Sara is still devastated and emotional in regards to both her husband's death and Lena Adams, the woman she deems responsible for it. Sadly Sara's grief and physical distance from her parents have also translated into an ever encroaching emotional distance. Meanwhile, Lena is trying her darnedest to get herself out of law enforcement and into crime scene investigation, while also getting herself out of Grant County and the moral mire into which the police department has sunk before she, too, is dragged down with it.
Late one rainy night the body of a pretty young college girl is fished out of the local lake; initially pegged as a suicide, Lena immediately realizes the girl was first murdered and then dumped in the lake. Upon arriving at the girl's last known address Lena and interim chief Frank Wallace confront a masked intruder holding a knife. Things immediately fly out of control, culminating with one officer flown to the hospital fighting for his life while Frank and Lena arrest Tommy Brahm, a former patient of Sara's, whose low IQ renders him incapable of the cunning and planning required for the college girl's murder. But appearances being what they are, Lena and Frank and the entire local police force are convinced of Tommy's guilt, bolstered by his confession and subsequent brutally gruesome suicide in his holding cell.
On hand for the discovery of Tommy's body, Sara immediately realizes he was incapable of the murder and jumps to the conclusion that it was Lena's negligence that allowed Tommy the means to kill himself while in police custody. Hellbent on ensuring Lena pays this time for her screw ups, Sara instigates a witch hunt by calling in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Agent Will Trent is sent to investigate both suicide and the homicide; meanwhile his investigation is frustrated, obstructed and stonewalled at every turn and opportunity by Frank, Lena and the local cops. As the investigation proceeds and more information turns up it becomes apparent that both Tommy and the girl were involved in something shady enough to get them killed. It also becomes clear that more than one party was complicit in these deaths.
With Will sent to investigate the police force's culpability in Tommy's suicide, Lena is at first determined to do the right thing and divulge the truth, including all the mistakes made by both her and Frank that led to their fellow officer's injury. Instead Frank gets to her first, threatens to pin everything on her and destroy her both professionally and personally in the process unless she assists him in the cover up and obstruction of Will's investigation. Lena's behavior is outrageous as always, and Frank is scum of the earth awful--together Frank and Lena's scenes are infuriating.
Slaughter's suspenseful plot is balanced with much character development for Will, Sara and Lena, especially for Sara. It is as much the finely crafted complex mysteries as future developments in the lives of these characters that keeps drawing readers back to this series. I highly recommend both this book and this series for crime mystery readers or anyone else looking for a good book to read.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie