Desert Isle Keeper
I am very lucky that my local library system offers the option of checking out, via download, audio books and e-books. Since I got an MP3 player for my birthday, I’ve been exploring my various audio options. Because romance options on audio are slim and mostly limited to bestselling authors I don’t particularly enjoy, I’ve branched out to other genres. Which is how I wound up experiencing Fractured, the second book in Slaughter’s Will Trent series.
The book begins with a bang when Abigail Campano comes home to her upscale Atlanta house to find her daughter Emma on the floor in the upstairs hall beaten and covered with blood. A man is standing over her holding a knife. Abigail trips down the stairs, the man comes after her, and in the scuffle following, she comes out the winner. She strangles the man with her bare hands.
Unfortunately for Abigail and the cops first on the scene, almost everything she assumed in her first glimpse of this horror was wrong. The dead girl on the floor is not Emma, the man with the knife is not the killer, and the Atlanta cops, reading it the same, have given Abigail’s daughter’s kidnapper precious time to get away. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation takes over the case with Will Trent in charge of finding Emma Campano as soon as possible, hopefully still alive.
Obviously the book opens with high suspense, and it maintains that suspense masterfully throughout, and not only in regards to the fate of Emma Campano. Will Trent, the GBI investigator, has secrets of his own and an ugly conflict with Atlanta cop, Faith Mitchell whose mother he investigated (and implicated) in a sting operation exposing dirty dealings of Atlanta cops. When Will finds himself paired with Faith, he feels vulnerable. She is an able cop, and working closely together she may discover his secret: he’s functionally illiterate. She already hates him. Will she expose his weakness and lose him his position?
Both Faith and Will were very sympathetic characters with large vulnerable spots. Will matriculated out of the Atlanta foster care system and, besides his learning difficulties, has always been lonely and socially awkward. Faith is thirty-three and has an eighteen-year-old son. Her teen years were horrific. When the two of them begin working together, Faith’s grudge impairs her from seeing Will for who he is – a good cop and a good man. But over the course of the investigation, she begins drawing some new conclusions. It was easy to root for both of them, although their personal agendas sometimes differed radically.
The secondary characters are also well drawn. Abigail Campano’s husband, Paul, is a bully and a boor. He’s also Will’s childhood nemesis from the children’s home. Will’s boss, Amanda, is a proper Southern ball buster. Various members of the Atlanta police department and the GBI backup departments are quite colorful. This is a dark book revolving around themes of rape and child abuse, but there were moments involving these secondary characters that made me laugh out loud. The audiobook reader, Phil Gigante, seems to have especially relished doing their voice work, and he performed them brilliantly.
Fractured touched a personal nerve, given that it involved so many orphans and vulnerable children. There were times when it was very heavy going, and it left me with much to think about. But it was uplifting in a way to spend time with Faith and Will, both survivors of early childhood difficulties striving to make the world a better place. I’ve ordered the first book in the series, Triptych, from the library and can’t wait to read anything Slaughter writes in the future involving Will Trent and Faith Mitchell.