Onyx reviews: Broken by Karin
Dr. Sara Linton is in Heartsdale, Georgia visiting her family for
Thanksgiving. Being back home from Atlanta stirs up conflicted emotions. The wound
of her dead husband, Heartsdale's former police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, is still fresh. She
blames Detective Lena Adams for creating the circumstances that lead to his murder
four years earlier.
A homicide ruins Sara's plans to keep a low profile while in
town. Someone tried to make the murder of a female college student look like
a suicide, but Lena turns up clues that reveal a different story. The evidence
leads Sara, interim chief Frank Wallace and rookie officer Brad Stephens to the
student's garage apartment, where they surprise Tommy Braham. In the confused
melee that follows, Brad is stabbed, Lena is wounded and Tommy is beaten while
being arrested. In custody, Tommy plunges into depression and begs to see Sara, who used to be his
pediatrician. By the time she gets to the
jail, Tommy has killed himself.
A lot of things are broken in Grant County, including the
local police department. Wallace is a raging
drunk. Tommy's arrest was a catastrophe of epic
the confession Lena obtained was probably coerced. Tommy had a low IQ and
was highly suggestible. The case probably wouldn't have stood up in court, and
that was before someone started tampering with the evidence.
Rather than going through channels, Sara reaches out directly to GBI agent
Will Trent to investigate the circumstances surrounding Tommy's death while in custody. Sara
sees the situation as a chance to exact her revenge revenge on Lena.
Will knows he won't be welcomed with open arms, and he's right. The local
police dig in their heels, hide evidence and generally refuse to cooperate with
his investigation. To make matters worse, he ends up staying at Sara's
domineering mother's house, leading to rumors that he's sleeping with Sara. He
has a complicated relationship with his wife back in Atlanta, but that's not the
worst of his problems. He has severe dysgraphia, which makes it virtually
impossible for him to read anything. Sara is quick to diagnose his problem,
which leads to tension between them.
While characters with afflictions can be interesting, readers may find it
difficult to accept that someone with such a severe handicap could escape
detection by his coworkers and superiors. It's also hard to fathom how he could
have progressed through the ranks. Surely his job and advancements would require
copious paperwork, written reports, and written examinations. Will reminisces
about how his wife helped cover for him, but that stretches credibility to the
limit. Vital evidence often comes before him in written form. Delays in
interpreting that material could torpedo cases. He even has trouble following directions, so how does he make it
to crime scenes?
There is a lot of history among the characters, much of which comes from Slaughter's previous
novels; however, she does a good job of filling in the history for readers who
haven't read the earlier books. At times, the conflict feels a touch
melodramatic and it's hard to like the characters very much. Lena, at least,
begins to lighten up once she realizes that Will has figured out how badly she
screwed things up. She achieves a kind of peace in acknowledging that her career
may be over. She starts working the case with a diligence she previously lacked.
The resolution of the crime comes out of left field, though. There are clues to the motivation behind the murders, but they're very subtle, and
some readers my feel like Slaughter has been stingy. Besides, the killings are
more brutal than the motive would seem to explain.
make much of the fact that everyone in tiny Heartsdale knows everyone else's
business and yet Lena's relationship manages to remain secret and another important character
returns to the area without
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