Fallen by Karin Slaughter

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

On an ordinary spring day, Special Agent Faith Mitchell of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation returns home to a nightmare. Expecting to find her mother minding Faith’s new baby daughter Emma, she is horrified to discover Emma locked in the shed, her mother’s safe open, her gun missing and a trail of blood to the front door.

Without waiting for back-up, Faith enters the house to a scene of carnage. It has been torn apart and a man lies dead in a pool of blood. She stumbles across two more intruders, and within minutes they too are shot dead. And when the Atlanta police force turns up, Faith has some difficult questions to answer. But she has some desperate questions of her own. What were the killers searching for? Ex-Atlanta police chief Evelyn Mitchell was once under investigation by Faith’s partner Will Trent. Is her mother directly involved this time, and where is she now?

With Faith suspended from duty, Will, together with the help of Dr Sara Linton, must piece together the fragments of a brutal and complicated case – and catch a deeply troubled and vicious murderer with only one thing on his mind. To keep on killing until the truth is finally revealed…

Georgia, for me, is synonymous with iced tea, the great Southern drawl, the Augusta Masters, Southern Belle’s and of course Peaches – it’s hard to imagine anything untoward happens in the great state – but it does and Karin Slaughter does her very best to tarnish Georgia’s idyllic reputation!

Fallen is the third title in the “Faith Mitchell Georgia Series” and follows Undone (Genesis in the UK) and Broken; it also serves as my introduction to author Karin Slaughter – and what an introduction it is!

Faith is frantic; she can’t quite understand why her mother isn’t answering her phone or emails. Running late and feeling tired and hungry, Faith allows her mind to wander and begins to worry for her daughter’s safety. It’s not like her mother not to pick up her phone and when she eventually arrives at the house it’s fairly obvious that something is amiss!

The opening is incredibly atmospheric and certainly sets the tone and pace for the entire book. Slaughter does a magnificent job of allowing the reader to get into Faith’s head in those precious opening minutes as she hurries back, phone in one hand, driving wheel in the other. The lack of food is starting to take its toll on the diabetic agent who has to resort to a furry stick of gum to continue on her way.

As a lifelong resident of Sherwood Forest, Faith had a deep-seated hatred for the men who had planned the neighbourhood. The subdivision had been developed after World War II, the brick ranch houses filled by returning soldiers who took advantage of low VA loans. The street planners had unabashedly embraced the Sherwood concept. After taking a hard left onto Lionel, Faith crossed Friar Tuck, took a right on Robin Hood Road, coasted through the fork at Lady Marian Lane, and checked the driveway of her own house on the corner of Doncaster and Barnesdale before finally pulling into her mother’s driveway off Little John Trail.

Characterisation is strong and well thought out. The three protagonists (Faith, Sara and Will), four if you count Amanda, receive equal billing and the complex storyline certainly brings out the best in these characters. I did find myself associating with Will more than anyone else and felt his sensitivity and insecurity added a lot of colour and depth I wasn’t expecting. Carrying more than enough excess baggage to concern any airline check in desk Will is a multi dimensional character – uncertain of his past and most certainly his future.

To counter this insecurity Slaughter plays a game of Ying and Yang with her characters by allowing Amanda, Will’s boss, to play a dominant roll in their partnership and although it could occasionally be perceived as a form of bullying there’s no denying Amanda’s paternal instinct and fondness for Will as a fellow agent and friend.

The narrative is well thought out, flows unhindered and affords a complex multi arced storyline that entertains from beginning to end. Although graphic in parts – this is a Slaughter book after all – there was one scene that truly made me wince and I was forced to put the book down, remember to breathe and take stock of what I’d just read. All I will say it cutting bread will never be the same again! Don’t you just love moments like that?! I certainly do!

Although my first Karin Slaughter novel, I can say with a degree of certainty it won’t be my last. Fallen is an incredibly well structured and a taut thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end – highly recommended.

If you’d like to learn more about Karin and what makes her tick then why not check out a chat we shared earlier – A chat with Karin Slaughter.

Fallen, published by Century in the UK is available to buy in Hardback and Kindle

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