Author : Karin Slaughter
Title : Pieces of Her
Pages : 470
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : August 9, 2018
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 don’t think it’s a secret anymore that I am a massive fan of Karin Slaughter’s work so when Pieces of Her arrived, I had no qualms whatsoever in turning my reading schedule entirely upside down so I could squeeze this one in.
Pieces of Her marks quite a departure from Karin Slaughter’s previous work. If you’re expecting something like her amazing Will Trent series, this is not it. All I can tell you is to please keep an open mind when you pick this one up as there is none of that particular gruesomeness throughout that you may be expecting but it is nonetheless an intensely gripping story and I absolutely loved it!
Andy and her mother, Laura, are enjoying a nice lunch when a young man enters the diner and starts shooting at people. To Andy’s surprise, Laura executes some majorly impressive ninja skills and takes the shooter down but where the heck did she learn how to do that? She’s a normal mother, isn’t she? A speech therapist, for crying out loud. Suddenly Andy is left feeling like she doesn’t know her mother at all.
Laura has been in hiding for years. She has a new identity and lives a quiet life but the events in the diner have now left her exposed and in danger. Laura’s story will be revealed through quite explosive chapters set in the 80’s, bringing to the fore a number of injustices and thus turning this into more than “just” a psychological thriller.
The premise of this story intrigued me from the start. It made me think about how well I knew my own mother, for instance. I’m sure like many of you, I got the little glimpses into what her life was like before I was born but mostly they centred around how she met my father, the jobs she had, what school was like in those days. Does that really tell you what a person is truly like though? Do we ever really know someone through and through? Do we even really need to know all there is to know about our parents?
As with every Karin Slaughter book, Pieces of Her starts with a horrible event. There are more to follow but this book isn’t about that really. This is very much a character-driven and tense thriller that explores relationships between mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters and siblings. And along the way, Andy will not only try to fit the pieces of her mother together, but also find out more about the kind of person she is herself. Because like so many of her generation, Andy is lost and needs to figure out what to do with her life.
Karin Slaughter has written some brilliant stand-alones already and this one is no different. It had me utterly gripped with its fantastic plot and interesting and incredibly multi-layered characters. Pieces of Her is clever and complex and for me it once again proves that Karin Slaughter is one of the best writers and storytellers out there. I love that she doesn’t choose the safe option and stick to what she knows, so to speak, and that she isn’t afraid to try her hand at something completely different, surprising me at every turn. Whatever she decides to do next, wherever she goes, I will follow. I’ll be right there, ready to devour the pages, safe in the knowledge that she will blow me away.
Pieces of Her is available to buy!
Book 19 from my 20 Books of Summer list