Title: Pieces of Her
Author: Karin Slaughter
Genre: Mystery/thriller, crime
My Rating: ★★★★★
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 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 realize my 5-star rating is probably an unpopular opinion, but there’s just something that feels so familiar and home to me when I pick up a Karin Slaughter book (uh, is that weird of me?). I adore her writing style and how she’s so damn good at weaving true crime-inspired events into her books. I completely understand her writing may not be for everyone; it can be dark, graphic, and filled with triggers. Any trigger warning you can possibly think of will most likely be in one of her books.
I’ve noticed that Slaughter’s books revolve a lot around sexual crimes, especially her Grant County series and the standalone, Pretty Girls. Also most of her books are usually from the law enforcement’s POV, so I always appreciate when the tables turn and the POV is coming from the victims and/or culprits.
But Pieces of Her felt so different, and maybe that’s why I liked it so much? I truly loved how Slaughter took a different direction with this story, and I found the pacing to be just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat.
This story begins with a mother and daughter having breakfast at a diner inside a mall. Andrea and her mother, Laura, end up in the midst of a shooting. To everyone’s surprise, Laura subdues the shooter, which catapults her to national news. Except all this new attention on Laura is bad. Laura has a dark past, and she wants to keep her identity under wraps in order to keep her family safe. From there the story is set in motion. Andrea sets out to find the reasons why her mother is now a target, and what kind of conspiracy is she trying to hide?
We are then transported between the years 2018 and 1986 throughout the book. We get Laura’s back story and how much deep shit she really got into. I really don’t want to spoil anything so I’m not going to say what happens to her past. I honestly was loving these scenes, though. I truly loved how Slaughter pulled so much inspiration from past cases that left such a huge imprint on history.
This book also addresses a huge problem we still have and that’s how white men are constantly getting off the hook for horrible things they’ve done. Again, I won’t go into detail, but the white privilege is real in this one, folks.
There were definitely a few moments where I did roll my eyes at some of the characters, and Andrea did get under my skin from time to time. And some of their actions were pretty outlandish. But maybe that’s why I liked it so much? I also loved how classical music played such a beautiful role in this story, and the mother/daughter and brother/sister relationship had me weak. Also? The ending is really damn satisfying!
Trigger/content warnings: Racial and homophobic slurs, physical abuse, mass shootings, talks of loss of pregnancy, gory deaths, loss of sibling/parent/child, and medical conditions: cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s.