Title: Pieces of Her
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publication Date: 9 August 2018 (ebook and hardback); 18 April 2019 (paperback)
I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. I have long been a fan of Slaughter’s writing and I was thrilled to be asked to take part in the blog tour. So a huge thanks to HarperCollins and their fantastic publicity team at Bland PR for including me in the tour and for the advanced review copy of the book.
You’ve know her your whole life…
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.
but she’s hiding something…
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.
and it could destroy you both…
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just behind. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them.
Pieces of Her is the latest standalone novel from Karin Slaughter.
It is Andrea (Andy) Oliver’s 31st birthday and her life is going nowhere. The daughter of an eminent attorney, Gordon, and speech therapist, Laura, Andy has never felt that she has lived up to expectations. Any career aspirations quickly faded during a short stint in New York and she returned home to Belle Isle, Georgia, where she has since remained, working in an uninspiring job and living in an apartment above her mother’s garage. As characters go, Andy really is a sorry specimen. She has had many advantages in life, supportive parents and a decent education, yet she still struggles to find her way or, indeed, the motivation to do so.
The story opens in a shopping mall café, where Andy and Laura are having lunch to mark Andy’s birthday. A gunman bursts into the café killing two people and changing Andy’s safe, suburban life forever. Andy realises that there is a side to her mother that she does not know at all. Laura Oliver is a woman with a past and the terrors from that past are finally about to close in on her, catching Andy in the cross-hairs.
At Laura’s insistence, Andy finds herself on the run. Fleeing through state after state from an unknown threat, Andy doesn’t know where she’s heading or why she’s running, she just knows that stopping isn’t an option.
As the reader follows Andy on her journey, her story is interspersed with snatches of a 30 year old backstory involving a socialist activist/terrorist cell, the Army of the Changing World, who are determined to strike a blow against capitalist greed, yet just how much are they prepared to sacrifice for the cause? As Andy attempts to understand that mystery of her mother’s past, her curiosity puts her and others in danger.
Pieces of Her is a thrilling, Adrenalin-packed ride filled to the brim with intrigue, scheming, secret identities, double-crosses, questionable motives and murder. I couldn’t put the book down!
I found Laura’s backstory to be fascinating, particularly reading about the masterful manipulation by the activist leader, Nick. It seems clear to the reader (although apparently not to the activists themselves) that the underlying reason for the activists terrorism and violence is not actually their belief in the cause, but rather a narcissistic power-trip by their leader who wants the fame and attention that accompanies their shocking actions, and the need of the psychologically-damaged followers to compete for the approval of their leader by carrying out his wishes, however extreme.
In my opinion, the central characters of Laura and Andrea weren’t hugely likable but they were certainly controversial and therefore made for great protagonists. I certainly have to give Laura credit for her strength and perseverance, however by the end of the book I realised there was more of her old-self in her than maybe she appreciated. Her thought-pattern and language towards the end of the story slightly surprised me and I liked the way Slaughter still found ways to catch me off guard even as the book was drawing to a close. In contrast to Laura, I found Andy’s timidity to be somewhat exasperating and certainly there were times within the book when I just wanted to give her a hard slap and tell her to ‘get a grip’ or ‘man up’. However this facet of her character was a great contrast to her cool and confident mother. It was interesting to read and consider the dichotomy between Andy’s extremely timid/nervous nature, whereby she struggles to even speak to people at times, and the fact that she was flouting her mother’s instructions and travelling alone around the US hunting down potentially dangerous people merely to gain some insight into her mother’s past. This hints toward some hidden depths (whether due to strength or stubbornness) in Andy, which makes her seek answers to her questions despite the extent of her fears.
The book is a great balance between edge-of-the-seat thrilling and psychological analysis, and the story is well plotted and well written, making it a compelling read. Pieces of Her is a tale of destruction, lies, abuse and manipulation. It provides a fascinating exploration of family relationships, morality and human nature.
Another great book from Slaughter and proof, yet again, of why she is one of today’s most popular crime writers.
About the Author
Karin Slaughter has sold over 35 million books, making her one of the most popular crime writers today. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestsellers Cop Town and Pretty Girls. Her previous novel, The Good Daughter, was a no.1 Sunday Times bestseller in paperback. She is passionate, no-nonsense, provocative, and is one of suspense fiction’s most articulate ambassadors. Her Will Trent Series, Grant County Series, and her stand-alone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.