Book Critique - Fractured (Will Trent Series #2)

For review of all books in the anthology: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Karin's plot truly gets under your skin, keeping you breathless all the time, gluing you to the edge of the seats, while each turn of the page gives you new suspense and unexpected turns.

Fractured is the second book in the Will Trent Series by Karin Slaughter published in July of 2008. The plot revolves around a murder and kidnapping case that Special Agent Will Trent is assigned to solve along with his current partner, Detective Faith Mitchell.

The books in Will Trent Series aka Atlanta Series, as the name suggests, revolve around the various cases handled by Special Agent Will Trent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation along with his partner Detective Faith Mitchell from Atlanta Police Department and his fiancée Angie Polanski, a Vice Squad Detective. Naturally all the plots are set in Atlanta. He is frequently assigned to cases involving gruesome murders and horrific crimes that delve into the dark, dark recesses of human mind. 

While reading Under Suspicion series co-authored by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, I came across Karin Slaughter's books. More so because the heroine of the series, Laurie Moran, loves Karin's books. At a local library book sale a few months ago, when I found two of her books, I grabbed them to give them a try. And here is the review of the first of the two books I bought.

Special Agent Will Trent is called on to the rape and murder of a teenage girl living in the upscale neighborhood of Atlanta, Ansley Park. When arrived he realizes that the supposedly perpetrator is killed by the teenager's mother. However on closer examination, he finds more to the crime. Before anyone realizes, Will and his team are now searching for another kidnapped teenager and also the killer.

The shared background that Angie and Will share forms a base for their relationship. As dysfunctional as it looks for an outsider, they actually fit well with each other. Her will to fight crime despite his extreme urge to protect her and his acceptance of her way of loving him despite her reputation to be promiscuous. They both know each other inside and outside including all the flaws and whatever goodness is left. 

I don’t think anyone else could have been a partner for Will. However, I have seen with other authors where they give a different kind of partner if the hero or heroine has such a disturbing childhood like these two. While the approach the other authors I have read tends to be closer to romance and rosy life, what Karin took is very hardcore and shuddering. As a reader I like both scenarios.

It was very educating to see how criminals can create false traces, how they take help of CSI and other shows from TV and learn to escape being caught. But it was more educating how life is vulnerable for the young, the technology causing more fears, and the rising bullying. And this book was written 12 years ago. And these have only increased by 100 times now. 

Karin hits on two important topics along with others in this plot. One about Bullying. In the past when social media was not so active, bullying ended when you enter your home unless you are bullied by your family. However, now it doesn’t end there, it creeps into online, phone and messaging services and relentlessly stalks the person being bullied never letting go. 

Recently I saw a movie on HBO, Unfriended, a 2015 American found footage supernatural horror movie, that focuses on bullying and what happens if the bullied person comes back in the form of spirit and haunts you. Albeit the theme is supernatural, it does touch on the grave topic. An issues that is increasing day by day everywhere.

Another topic that closely ties to Bullying is being Dyslexic or having other Learning Disorders. How as a child someone gets tortured and bullied by classmates and friends for being different, for being a tad bit high in intelligence although the learning disability mars it. Here she gives multiple scenarios, where one prevails against all odds, while other goes into a dark deep hole, still others are in between and survive. 

Though this book was written thirteen years ago, what Karin brings forth to everyone's attention on the most gravest issues of our societies still exist, and infact are compounding. A clever plot spun around murder and mayhem, delving into social issues and darker minds of humans, fringed lightly with romance. 

Mid-way through the book, when we meet one of the characters, my hairs rose just reading about him. He came across fishy and slimy and caused shudders in my back, the way one shudders when they are faced with a scorpion. I knew he would be part of the crime. And my guess came true.

On her website you get to see a link to "Save The Libraries". It is much needed thing now since the art of reading through a book is dying. We need to preserve the yesterday's knowledge so we don’t lose what we have already lost from the golden eras in past centuries. I am impressed with Karin's effort.

Karin's plot truly gets under your skin, keeping you breathless all the time, gluing you to the edge of the seats, while each turn of the page gives you new suspense and unexpected turns. Definitely going to pick up her other books this year, at least in the Will Trent Series. And you should too, if you like a mystery that keeps you up in the night and also thoroughly engaged.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. The kidnapped teenager's, Emma Campano, parents - Abigail and Paul Campano. 

b. One of the dead teenagers, Kayla Alexander, had a nemesis while in school - Ruth Donner, who had transferred to a different school. 

c. The second dead teenager, Adam David Humphrey's parents - Gail and Simon Humphrey.

d. Paul Campano, Will Trent and Angie Polaski were living in Atlanta Children's Home as kids. 

e. I always wondered why most lights in America were yellow colored. According to the author, she mentions that the yellow lights would ward-off mosquitoes. Perhaps that was the reason. 

f. At the end of the plot, Detective Faith Mitchell becomes Special Agent Will Trent's partner. 

g. TV Shows, Movies, Music, Books nd Media we come across along the way:

i. Author compares Charlie Reed, the crime-scene tech to a cop in The Village People. Curiosity took me to a band in the 70s and 80s, Village People. Don’t remember hearing their songs.

ii. Movies - The Bourne Ultimatum; mention of  movies like The Man with Three Wives; Florence Foster Jenkins; Old Yeller; The Great Gatsby.

iii. TV Shows - CSI; 

iv. Hiking magazine called Get Out. 

v. Books - Flowers in the Attic; Thomas Harris books; Garden & Gun; Wuthering Heights; 

vi. Music - Band called Doors; 

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) team - Special Agent Will Trent; Amanda Wagner, Will's boss and heads GBI; Hamish Patel, hostage negotiator; Charlie Reed, crime-scene tech; Barry Fielding, GBI Canine Unit Director; 

b. Atlanta Police Department team - Detective Leo Donnelly; Detective Faith Mitchell; Ivan Sambor; Billy Peterson; 

c. Georgia Highway Patrol (GHP) team - 

d. Other people tied to law enforcement - Pete Hanson, the city medical examiner; Snoopy, ME's assistant; Gordan Chew, fingerprint expert; Becky Keiper from crime lab; 

e. Will Trent's Family - his fiancee, Angie Polaski, a detective from Vice, Will's childhood friend; his dog Betty. Will has extreme dyslexic disorder that makes him highly functional but unable to read proficiently. Amazing how he manages his detective skills without letting it on. 

f. Detective Faith Mitchell's family - her teenage son Jeremy; mother Evelyn Mitchell, retired police commander; brother Zeke, an Air Force Surgeon; Amanda Wagner dated Faith's Uncle Kenny for fifteen years. Dean Victor Martinez flirts with Detective Mitchell.

g. Will Trent had closed a case six months prior to when this book was written, where he had got six Atlanta police detectives who were skimming cash off narcotic busts; and a police commander. Evelyn Mitchell, was forced to retire. Will wonders about an out of state account that Faith's father had opened, and Evelyn possible used it to hide the cash she skimmed. 

h. There is mention of Natalie Maines being in relation with Will Trent. I wonder who she was. Perhaps covered in the first book?

i. There is reference to The Hiker Murders several months before this plot. Was it part of first book, perhaps.

3. Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 405, Line 5 from bottom, it should be "…the door gently so…"


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