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When a murder takes place and a body is found, usually it is identified correctly. Especially when the mother of the deceased is making the identification. In FRACTURED, however, we have unusual circumstances, odd couplings and varied situations from the get-go.

Abigail Campano comes home to the worst thing any mother could imagine: an intruder. Thinking, naturally, that he murdered her daughter, who is lying dead in the hallway, Amanda fights him off and kills him. At this point, the plot takes off in several different directions.

Amanda Wagner is assigned to this case with another detective, Will Trent, from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). The local authorities in Atlanta already are miffed at being overridden by the state detectives. Additionally, Will and the father of the dead or missing victim have history. Both men grew up in the Atlanta orphanage system, and there is lots of bad blood between them that surfaces time and time again.

Many questions must be answered, especially concerning the identity of the young man presumed to be the killer, who Abigail strangled. Additionally, we have the identity of the dead young woman at the Campano home to determine. Both girls were supposed to be at school during the time of the break-in and murder.

Paul and Abigail had less than a storybook marriage, although they had a great deal of money and the outward trappings of success. A car salesman, Paul married Abigail, whose family comes from "old Atlanta money." Unfaithful regularly in their marriage, Paul's infidelities come under speculation by Abigail, who wants to know if he's done something to upset someone.

The GBI has their hands full, few leads and little time to solve this mystery. There is a missing car, a missing murderer, a missing kidnapper and lots of clues that are troublesome. Why was the other girl killed instead of Emma Campano? Why was the young man still in the house? Why was there evidence of sexual activity on the underclothes of the victim? Who was the young man Abigail killed?

Karin Slaughter assembles a plot very differently from other writers in the thriller genre. The reader is expected to think beyond the information given, to expand their knowledge beyond the facts and written word. It actually is a surprising and refreshing tribute to her audience. As we tour Atlanta, we meet accessories, other inconsequential characters and those from whom we can tie up the loose ends of this crime.

What will the hostilities between Paul and Will, and Will and Amanda, reveal? Why was the Campano daughter kidnapped at all? I suggest that you take three or four hours and dig into FRACTURED. When you are done, you may just want to go back and try some of her previous novels.

Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on January 22, 2011

by Karin Slaughter

  • Publication Date: July 29, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • ISBN-10: 0385341954
  • ISBN-13: 9780385341950