Book Title and Author: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
Publication Date and Publisher: August 21, 2018 by William Morrow
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 480 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: June 23, 2018 (e-arc)
What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?
Andrea 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. . . .
I’ve you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that Karin Slaughter is hands down my favorite author alive today, so when I heard Pieces of Her was coming out, I was like a little kid at Christmas (but Slaughter could write my grocery list, and I’d get giddy). This was my number one most anticipated read of 2018 since The Good Daughter was my favorite book of 2018. While it didn’t disappoint, it is completely different than anything she has ever written before, and I admit I missed the dark, menacing, pulse-pounding Slaughter style that I have grown to love.
Slaughter’s writing is phenomenal and none of her books is your typical, unoriginal crime thriller, and Pieces of Her is no exception. Yet, like I said, Pieces of Her is completely different than anything she has ever written before. The story is told in dual timelines as Andy goes on the run in search for the truth about who her mother really is after a lone gunman at the mall turns his gun on her mother, Laura, only to be taken down by her. Who is this woman she’s called mother for thirty-one years and thought she knew everything about? Andy is left bewildered, devastated, and frightened as the life she knew seems to be falling in pieces.
As the story reveals itself, the plot is smart and intricately woven with Andy’s story in the present as she searches for the truth about her mother and the narrative set in 1986 that exposes Laura’s secret past involvement with a group of dangerous anarchists. What Andy learns as all the pieces of her mother’s past are revealed is that Laura has and will do anything to protect the daughter she loves, and the novel truly becomes a complex character study and psychological exploration of the relationship between mothers and daughters.
I’ve said it before, but what I probably love most about Slaughter’s books is her heavy focus on her characters. All of Slaughter’s books are very character driven and Pieces of Her is no different; in fact, it might be one of her most character-driven novels yet as she explores the relationship between mother and daughter and the reader gets to watch not only that relationship alter and develop as Andy learns the truth but each character undergoes intense personal growth.
Some readers who shy away from Slaughter’s books because of the graphic, terrifying violence she layers throughout her stories probably will enjoy her newest novel because even though there are moments that are violent and bloody (triggers for emotional and physical abuse in some parts), these moments are nowhere near the dark and graphic imagery Slaughter typically writes in her novels. If you’ve avoided her books before because of that, then this is the perfect book for you to dip your feet into the unique, unequaled, and uncompromising writing style that defines Slaughter’s works!
If you are like me, then the lack of violent and graphic imagery in Pieces of Her will be a downside to the book. Maybe I’m much more bloodthirsty than I ever realized, but I’m a reader who thinks that Slaughter’s use of violence only adds more to her books because she only ever writes it with a distinct point in mind and uses it with brilliant effect so you can better understand her characters and what makes them act the way they do. So, I have to say, odd as it might sound, that I would have enjoyed the book more if it had been written with a darker, more violent slant.
Still, this is an excellent, twisted, gripping psychological thriller by an author who I think is the best writer in her genre. From the very first page, Pieces of Her is enthralling and complex and definitely one that I would highly recommend to anyone!
**Thank you Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC in exchange for my fair and honest review.**
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