Published by William Morrow on May 21, 2019
Source: the publisher
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Length: 16 hours, 5 minutes
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COMING TO NETFLIX!
Mother. Hero. Liar. Killer. How can you tell when all you have is…
PIECES OF HER
What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?
Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She’s knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Gullaway Island; 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 Saturday afternoon 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 will ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Twenty-four hours later Laura is in the hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down and discover what she knows. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumbs 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 received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Karin Slaughter’s books are truly comfort reads for me, blood and guts and all, because I read so many of them throughout my Dad’s long illness over the past couple of years. I adore her ability to punch me in the gut from the very beginning with her grit and gore, her exquisite characterization, and the complicated and realistic relationships between her characters. I also absolutely love the way she writes the South, like a living breathing thing that I can feel leaping off of the pages.
But Ms. Slaughter surprised me a little bit with this one!
Pieces of Her feels a little different right from the beginning. The gory, super-violent scene that I’m used to right from the get-go just isn’t there in this one. YES, there is a scene and it certainly does include an awful crime. A shooter enters a diner and kills some people, and one of the main characters in the book takes matters into her own hands…sort of literally. But this scene didn’t make me flinch like several of the other ones have. Not that that is a bad thing, but I do want to mention it because I do have a few readers that look for a big “hook” in the first chapter. The scene is VERY compelling, though, and I felt like it set up the tone and pace for the rest of the story.
This story is told with alternating POVs. One storyline is told in present day and another goes back to 1986. The present day storyline tells about the days after the shooting and how Andy is trying to figure out how her mother knew how to take control of the situation with the shooter like she did, so calmly and with such authority. The storyline from 1986 tells the story of a fringe terrorist group as they work on a plan to…do something very bad…and there is clearly some connection to the present day storyline, but it isn’t apparent to the reader until a little while into the story.
I know that is vague, but the entire story is a little vague at first, until little details begin to emerge here and there.
I liked both of these storylines just fine, but they are very different. I had my suspicions about how they would intersect and how the big connection would be made, and I was right about a couple of the small details leading up to the big reveal. Look, I think I can understand why some readers feel like this one reads a little slow. But I actually felt like the pages turned steadily for me. I never felt the need to white-knuckle the book, to gasp out loud, to hold my breath and shout “WATCH OUT!” or “DON’T DO IT!” like I have with some of her other books, but I did feel this great sense of suspenseful mystery throughout and I liked that.
So what Ms. Slaughter has done here is explore and expand on the relationship between this mother and daughter, how well we really know the people we love, and how people will often blindly and wholeheartedly follow other people. And true to form, a lot of people die before the story ends. They just do. Her writing is so solid and tight-it always is. And again, just like always, she has taken particular care to write the women in this story with precision. Their characters are razor-sharp, even when they’re not on their A-game (Like Andy never is in this story. I mean she is always slow and several steps behind and just a hot mess.) and they all tell their stories so perfectly whether they are the good guys or the bad guys. This book shows that Ms. Slaughter isn’t always going to hand me a white-knuckle, can’t-catch-my-breath thriller. Sometimes, she’ll pace herself with mystery and suspense and wrap everything up together succinctly because doggone it, that is what she does.
Audiobook narration was Kathleen Early, who I already knew because I’ve listened to her narrate several titles by Karin Slaughter in the past including titles from the Grant County series and The Good Daughter. As far as I am concerned, Kathleen Early is THE narrator of choice for anything and everything written by Karin Slaughter, period, the end. Her work is stellar and I’m not sure how she does it, but she absolutely brings Ms. Slaughter’s characters to life (or death, if the scene calls for it, yikes).
Title: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
Narrated by: Kathleen Early
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Length: 16 hours, 5 minutes, Unabridged
I want to make it clear that I purchased my own copy of my audiobook to listen to at some point in the past year when the audiobook was on sale with Audible, before I received the paperback copy from the publisher for review. So what ended up happening is: I began to read my paperback from the publisher and got part of the way through it when I remembered that I also had book in audio format. At that point, I began to listen while I followed along with my paperback. I wasn’t required to listen and read the paperback at the same time, but it definitely enhanced my reading experience.