Fallen by Karin Slaughter

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Fallen by Karin Slaughter

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Lesley Mason
Reviewed by Lesley Mason
Summary: With an ex-cop missing and the clock ticking, the bodies start to pile up – good solid crime drama.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Century
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1846057946

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Faith Mitchell is not having a good day. A three-hour training seminar had stretched into four-and-a-half-hours, which meant that not only was she late picking up her baby daughter from her mothers' she was also starving hungry. This mattered more than it would for most of us, because Faith is diabetic. She needs to eat.

Her day, however, is going to get a whole lot worse. Her mom isn't picking up the phone. Any of the phones. Although Faith runs through the thousand and one reasons why this might be so and not be a problem, she doesn't really believe any of them. Her mom was a cop. Faith is a cop. They're used to being on call. They're always available or they pre-advise that they won't be.

When she gets home, her worst fears start to become reality, heavy-metal music blasting out the windows, bloody handprints by the kitchen door, the shed door locked, but the gun-safe open and empty…

…but there in the corner, hidden, a pink blanket moves, is kicked off, and baby Emma…

Faith is a cop. Her mom was a cop. Until she took early retirement, round about the time the rest of her narcotics squad was criminally charged and sent down for corruption. Faith is 100% sure her mother was clean.

Agent Will Trent was the original investigating officer. He was never convinced that Evelyn Mitchell wasn't on the take along with the rest of her boys. It just didn't make sense. And if she was clean, why allow herself to be retired out of the job? His boss is one of Evelyn's oldest friends and shares her daughter's unswerving belief that the ex-captain never took a wrong dime. Perhaps she knows more than she's telling though. She's certainly avoiding just about every question Will asks her. And he's asking a lot, because these are the two who are called to Evelyn's house after Faith makes her Code 30 call (officer down, urgent assistance required).

Fallen gets off to a bloody start, with at least three dead and two or more seriously wounded within the first 15 pages. This is a pattern that scarcely lets up. On the wrong side of the streets in Atlanta, the drugs trade is controlled by some very vicious people, with unbelievable connections and news feeds, and somewhere in the midst of the gang-fighting and drug-dealing there is someone who wants something very specific from the ex-cop who got away while all her team went down.

Meanwhile, her old buddy Amanda has a few connections of her own.

Taking place over six days, the story plays out around the private lives of those involved.

Will Trent has a fairly nasty history of his own to contend with, and a present that isn't much of an improvement much of the time. Physically and mentally scarred by his upbringing, he struggles to hide his dyslexia and his somewhat dysfunctional marriage.

Dr Sarah Linton gets involved mainly because she has a thing about Will, and just happens to be on the scene.

The rest of Faith's family are really just the backdrop, there to provide context and explain away some of her irrationalities.

Many of these characters will be familiar to Slaughter fans from previous novels, but you don't need to know that. This books stands perfectly well on its own merits, with everyone drawn well enough to be believable and have you rooting for them.

The history stays where it belongs: in the background, just visible enough to make folks human. The main event is the missing ex-cop and the attempts to find her and get her back alive. This involves Will and Amanda going back over old ground, trailing round numerous prisons tracking down the rest of the shamed narcotics team and meeting up with the kind of people Will is sure Amanda really shouldn't be on first-name terms with.

If things started out nasty they get worse.

Slaughter has a deft touch with violence. She doesn't overplay it. There are no long-drawn out descriptions and needless lingering over details. She simply lets it happen, sudden, hard, rapid and exhausting.

And then the survivors struggle up and get on with things.

She's also got an ear for the spoken word. Her thugs haven't all come up the hard way, but they try to sound like they have. She has a neat way of using the street-speak, and then allowing it to slip as the hard-men betray their education and intelligence.

She even manages a final emotional wrench right at the end.

Fast, witty and thoroughly entertaining.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For more hard hitting drama you can do no better than Harlan Coben's Tell No One or if it's sassy women you're looking for cross the pond and check out Broken Bodies and Damaged Goods by June Hampson.

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Buy Fallen by Karin Slaughter at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen by Karin Slaughter at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Fallen by Karin Slaughter at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen by Karin Slaughter at Amazon.com.


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