Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Undone by Karin Slaughter


This was a book I selected to review through Jaime of Pump Up Your Book Promotions. Before I started blogging, nearly 80% of my TBR list and reading history was mystery/thriller. Because of the wide variety of recommendations from my blogging friends, though, I am now a little more diversified than in my earlier days, but I still love to occasionally burrow down with a good serial murderer. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands! I mean, check out the cover! Isn't that the most incredible cover??

My first duty on this blog tour was to highlight a few interesting things about the author, Karin Slaughter. If you missed it, click back to yesterday's post and check it out! I'd like to have a beer with this lady. I like her style!

What I didn't realize when I first accepted this book was that it is a continuation of two series that have been dovetailed together; a merging of Karin's two fictitious worlds. Argh! I am a disciplinarian for reading books in order, so I was initially distressed. I reminded myself that if the author is worth her salt, I should be able to jump on board mid-trip and fall into step with her easily. Which was the case.

An elderly couple is driving down a dark road and accidentally hits a woman, who is naked, bleeding, bruised and hysterical. We get sickening little glimpses of what happened to this woman...captivity in a cave-like hole in the ground, torture beyond what the average person could even conceive, starvation, dehydration, and abuses on the mind. She did not suffer alone either. Another woman was held captive with her, but she chose to take her own life than to live with the effects. Soon two more women are abducted, presumably to suffer the same fate. The clock is ticking.

During the investigation of this case, we are introduced to Sara Linton, a young woman who has buried herself in her job as an ER doctor. We also meet the Criminal Investigation team of Special Agent Will Trent and Faith Mitchell. Will battles demons from his youth spent in orphanages and a severe case of dyslexia. Faith is pregnant by a man no longer in her life, and has just discovered she is diabetic. These three protagonists' lives are soon intertwined, all fighting to save the lives of a group of women who are not necessarily likable creatures, and at the same time, fighting to keep their own personal secrets hidden far below the surface. There is all kinds of "undone" going on here.

Often with mystery/thrillers, I get the sense that they are all to outdo each other. Who can come up with the most loathsome serial murderer and the most shocking acts of violence? To a certain extent, I got that sense here. I don't really have an aversion to this tact - I like to be shocked - as long as it makes sense to the overall story. In this novel, the methods of torture are beyond description, not something you want to read after eating a full meal. But beyond the blood and guts of the thing, they are intensely anti-female in nature. Hard core, even for someone who has seen it all.

The plot is very well constructed, complex but not difficult to follow, and a fast read. Perhaps because of the thousands of mystery/thrillers I have read, I picked up on literary clue early in the book that gave me just a sniff of an idea of who would be revealed as the evildoer. Even if you do happen to figure it out, the ride between point A and point B is a wild one, in all its heart-racing madness.

I believe what sets this book apart from the average mystery/thriller is the development of the characters. Even without knowing the history of Sara, Will and Faith (which would no doubt even heighten the experience of this read), we know we are dealing with very damaged people here. Real people. I was very quickly endeared to them, and want them to succeed and heal and smash a few heads. I wanted to give them a hug! *Sigh* Now I'm going to have to go back and read all the books that have come before this one, and of course will need to know what happens next. I'm invested, despite about a thousand books I want to read before next week.

My thanks again to Jaime, for sending me this book, and making my literary life just a bit more thrilling!
4 out of 5 stars

16 comments:

Melody said...

Excellent review, Sandy!
I didn't know how many times I've read a book and then realized that it's part of a series! Boy, I hate that feeling. Perhaps this is one reason why I read more standalone books than series, but that doesn't mean I'll stop reading them either because I know series usually have the best characterization and moreover, I love seeing the characters in another installment. It's like seeing your old friends in new places (I know that's a weird comparison!).

Anyway, this book sounds great! I haven't been reading a mystery for a while so I'm hoping to squeeze in one for my upcoming read. ;)

Book Chick City said...

Great review! I like Karin Slaughter and have read a few of her books but not this one. It's sounds really good, so may have to put this one on my tbr list. I have to read books in order too :)

caite said...

I'm not sure that I have read anything by Slaughter, which is odd because I love a book with a good serial killer!

..and I don't care if that sounds creepy..lol

Sandy Nawrot said...

Melody - I feel the same way about series. When I pick one up, I do feel like I am getting back in touch with friends. And in this book, I really liked the characters. I want to know more about their pasts!

Carolyn - Obviously, I've been on another planet. I can't believe I've never picked up one of her books. But that is going to change.

Caite - haha! If you're creepy, then so am I. The more sick and twisted, the better!

Beth F said...

I haven't read Slaughter yet, but I always start at the beginning of a series! I've had Slaughter on my radar for years but just haven't read her yet. No particular reason.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I haven't read Slaughter, either. I love the idea of a gripping plot and great characters, although it sounds like it might be grittier than my usual reads. Thanks for the info...

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Andreea said...

Great review! The book sounds interesting and I think I would like it! I have an award for you Here

carolsnotebook said...

Great review. I hate jumping in in the middle of the series, too, but sometimes it just can't be helped.

ds said...

I hadn't heard of this author before.Thanks for the introduction--and this review! I'm squeamish about the torture scenes, but will keep an eye open for Ms. Slaughter.

farmlanebooks said...

I've not read any books by this author, but do love a good thriller. I don't like being able to guess who commited the crime though. I'm still undecided about this one.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Beth - well she is worthy of your attention. Good intense reading!

Elizabeth - it is gritty, but not too gritty. There are real human emotions, and very female emotions going on. I think you'd like it!

Andreea - thanks for the award! Oh no! The Zombie Chickens! I will get this posted soon!

Carol - I know, I didn't see this one coming. It was an ARC with a due date, and there was no way I could read all its predecessors! It worked, but I do know a few spoilers...

ds - yeah, there are some of those scenes. Just don't eat while you are reading! And don't read it alone at night!

Jackie - there is a pretty good chance you wouldn't figure it out. Not that I'm trying to give myself all kinds of credit, but it was a very subtle hint.

bookbabie said...

Great review, love your header too, my daughter has a cat (Mr. Boo) who looks just like that!

Amy said...

Great review, Sandy! I read this book and reviewed it, too. Like you I thought the characters were great and so well developed.

I haven't read anything else about her but I'd like to!

Anna said...

Great review! This sounds like an exciting book. I bet my husband would read this one, too.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

Undone was good, but not up to her earlier Grant County books, IMO. Some of the earlier ones seemed quite a bit darker than this one too. I'm curious to see where she takes the series though...

Sandy Nawrot said...

Bookbabie - that darned kitty drives me crazy. He is psycho, but he's mine and I love him!

Amy - I know, I really want to go back and learn more about these characters. They are pretty real.

Anna - Wow! I got about 10 comments from you...you must be catching up! If you like intense, then you would like this book. Keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Melissa - well, now you have me curious! If this wasn't the most intense, I am really intrigued! At some point (don't know when!) I would like to travel back and get through all of the previous novels. I love this author!