Pieces of Her
by Karin Slaughter
Publication Date August 21, 2018
Pages : 480
Synopsis from Publisher :
Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?
But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.
The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . .
Pieces of Her is the first book by Karin Slaughter I have read. While browsing in bookstores or online, I would always see her name and books pop up. For some reason I never gave her books a try. When the opportunity to read Slaughter’s latest release presented itself, I decided to finally see what all the fuss was about. To say I now understand the hype would be an understatement. Pieces of Her is an intense, captivating story of young woman thrust into a dangerous unplanned journey of self discovery.
At thirty-one Andrea Oliver’s life is at a stand still. After a failed attempt at making it in New York City she returns home to Belle Isle GA to care for her mother, Laura. Laura has now beaten breast cancer and is eager for Andrea to get back to her own life. However, Andrea has become complacent in the apartment over Laura’s garage. When a tragic and violent event occurs, Andrea and Laura unfortunately play a key role. To protect her daughter, Laura sends Andrea across the country. While on this unplanned road trip, Andrea is alone, bewildered and is forced to face her mother’s dark past and her own unknown future.
On this road trip and for the first time in her life, Andrea can only rely on herself and she must not fail. I think everyone can relate to Andrea. After her time in New York City, her confidence has been taken a bit of a hit. I think we all have been her shoes at one point. We have made a mistake or over estimated our abilities and things did not turn out well. We have two choices, either we concede defeat or we dust ourselves off and try again. When we meet Andrea she seems to be at the point of conceding defeat. The violent event she witnessed forces her out of her comfort zone. Reading Andrea’s journey and her evolution into a bad ass was wonderful. She defies her own expectations and unknowingly becomes the person she has always wanted to be.
Slaughter’s story telling ability leaves little doubt as to why she has such die-hard fans. Her writing is concise, clear, and leaves little room for interpretation. There are enough descriptions so readers are immersed into the character’s world, but where other authors dedicate pages upon pages of illustrations of the characters surroundings, Slaughter focuses on the feelings of the characters. This did not make the book any less atmospheric, instead it drew me even more into the mind of the characters, as though I was reading the story through their eyes, feeling what they were feeling, rather than as a spectator.
Many topics are addressed in Pieces of Her, the outbreak of AIDS in the eighties, lack of funding for people with mental illness, veteran affairs, gun violence, just to name a few. Each character in Pieces of Her is dealing with one or more of these issues, adding layer after layer to the story. All of the characters are richly developed with loads of background info that NEVER becomes overwhelming or tiresome. I found myself (even after I finished reading) wanting to know more about some of the characters.
In the flyleaf of Pieces of Her Slaughter poses a question to readers, “Can your ever really know anybody completely?” In my opinion the answer is usually no. In the case of Andrea, she did not know herself completely until she was tested. This was my favorite aspect of Pieces of Her. Andrea set out on this journey hoping to learn more about her mother but instead learned more about herself.
I now consider myself a member of the Slaughter Squad. The intensity, the characters, the pacing were all perfection. Fans of Sara Blaedel and Fiona Barton should add Pieces of Her to their list of must reads.
** Thanks to William Morrow for my free copy of Pieces of Her**
Murder and Moore Rating :
5 out of 5 Stars