This was my first Karin Slaughter book, and as I've been really picky of late as to which thrillers I will read, I took a chance on this one. So many popular thrillers just don't live up to the hype for me. This one did though. It's an edge-of-your-seat book that will have you wildly turning pages or flipping screens as the case may be. It all starts with a bang when Andrea (Andy) is with her mother Laura having lunch in a diner that they frequent regularly in their southern home. A young man walks in with a gun and starts shooting up the place, killing a mother and her teenage daughter right in front of Andy's eyes. But what stops her heart is the way that her usually calm and serene mother handles the situation. She confronts the shooter, putting herself between Andy and him. Andy's whole world changes from this day forward. She discovers "pieces" of her mother as each day passes as she's on a cross-country road trip trying to find out more about her mother. She even confronts a killer in mother's home, and deals with him in a way she never thought she could. As we read we go back and forth between the 1986 and 2018, and from the southern states to Texas and Indiana and all places in-between. There is a lot of blood and guts, and numerous dead bodies along the way, but apparently that is Ms. Slaughter's signature, and the way she handles it in her writing makes it not just "shock-value", but intricate pieces to the puzzle. There are lots of intriguing twists in both timelines, but we grow with Andy as she learns about her mother's past life. My only complaint is that there were a lot of dangling strings in the plot. Some were tied up nicely, others were tied up messily, and some that were not tied up at all. But this is a great thriller, and I recommend it for anyone who likes this genre. I may have to read more of Karin Slaughter's work.
Pieces of Her is the fourth stand-alone novel by popular American author, Karin Slaughter. August 2018: after Laura Oliver’s fearless actions during a shooting in a diner, her daughter Andrea wonders who this cool heroine is, this woman who bears no resemblance at all to the suburban mom who has been her mother for thirty-one years.
So begins Karin Slaughter’s latest thriller. This is merely the first of a series of dramatic events that soon has Andy, under instruction from this cold, businesslike stranger, on the run from their Belle Isle home, in the direction of Idaho via a storage unit in Carrollton. With each stop, Andy learns another shocking and utterly incredible fact about her mother.
Andy’s narrative alternates with that of Jane Queller: in 1986, Jane’s doubts about the direction of her lover’s activist group solidify when their latest action leaves four dead. The Army of the Changing World is intent on altering the world for the better, and if that demands violent action, then Nicholas Harp, their exciting and charismatic leader, does not demur; perhaps he actually welcomes it? Whenever he is close by, though, Jane is under his spell.
A thriller it certainly is, and the action is non-stop: fans expect Slaughter’s work to be exciting, but even the epilogue is far from sedate. The body count escalates courtesy of a variety of weapons: guns, knives, a cast-iron frypan, bombs, fists and a razor blade. There’s kidnapping, forgery, impersonation, fraud, a secret tunnel, car theft, some old Polaroids, false IDs and a very large amount of cash. And in amongst all that, there’s the occasional laugh-out-loud moment.
Both protagonists prove to be strong women after initially making poor decisions: Andy’s early flakiness soon condenses into a focus on finding answers, leading her to ignore her mother’s explicit instructions at her peril; Jane’s brutal upbringing makes her an easy target for a psychopath, until she emerges from the fog of charm to see what’s really happening.
The psychopath is brilliantly portrayed. Almost as an aside, there’s a scene that comments on society’s changing attitude to misdeeds, how apologies gain accolades, disgrace is short-lived and offenders can still aspire to become the President. With each successive novel, Slaughter sets herself a higher standard; with this one she easily maintains that trend. Another superb page-turner.
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