Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review - Fallen

Fallen – Karin Slaughter
Does Karin write a bad book? This is the 11th novel of hers that I’ve read and I’ve enjoyed all of them immensely. She is one of the handful of authors I look forward to reading every year and releases a book like clockwork.
The Blurb:
There's no police training stronger than a cop's instinct. Faith Mitchell's mother isn't answering her phone. Her front door is open. There's a bloodstain above the knob. Her infant daughter is hidden in a shed behind the house. All that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations taught Faith Mitchell goes out the window when she charges into her mother's house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room. She sees a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn't see is her mother. . . .

'You know what we're here for. Hand it over, and we'll let her go.'

When the hostage situation turns deadly, Faith is left with too many questions, not enough answers. To find her mother, she'll need the help of her partner, Will Trent, and they'll both need the help of trauma doctor Sara Linton. But Faith isn't just a cop anymore - she's a witness. She's also a suspect.

The thin blue line hides police corruption, bribery, even murder. Faith will have to go up against the people she respects the most in order to find her mother and bring the truth to light - or bury it forever.
By using the same characters throughout her novels, it would easy for them to become formulaic like so many other top authors out there that adopt the whole, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it mantra” – Hey Lee Child and James Patterson. Not that I think there is anything wrong with this, after all it was the reason I got into their novels in the first place. But what separates the very good authors from my favourite authors is the ability to keep things fresh.
Karin achieves this with every book. Whether it be that she introduces a host of new characters or moves characters to different locations, they feel fresh. In Fallen, she achieves this freshness by focussing on Will Trent’s partner Faith Mitchell. A character who has been present for several novels but has not a prominent role until now.
As the blurb indicates, Faith has to confront the possibility that her mother is not only potentially dead but that she is not the woman she thought she was. The intrigue surrounding Faith’s mother’s disappearance is reminiscent of Harlan Coben’s standalones. The more you find out the more you realise that nothing is what it appears to be. Faith’s background is explored and you end up feeling genuinely sorry for her situation and her enforced isolation as she struggles to be strong for her children and tackle the difficulty relationship with her brother.
Will Trent is also placed in the uncomfortable position of being cut off from his partner and forced to work closely with his boss Amanda. Up until now, the series has revealed Amanda to be a hard nosed but fair boss. In Fallen she is no different, but we start to see different facets to her personality. Being a close friend of Faith’s mother, Will is convinced she knows more than she is letting on and is forced to bite his tongue on several occasions against his better judgment where he follows the direction she takes the investigation in.
Throw in the ever dependable Sara Linton into the mix and her blossoming but obstinate relationship with Will and this story is bulging at the seams with interesting events and dynamics.
When the full story is revealed, it is highly satisfying and believable. Fallen then is possibly Karin Slaughter’s strongest novel to date. There may be a few contrived plot points such as how Sara is once again the only medical examiner that can look help with the investigation but these are only minor digressions on an otherwise excellent novel.
My rating: 9.1

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