Pieces of Her: A Novel

Image of Pieces of Her: A Novel
Release Date: 
August 21, 2018
William Morrow
Reviewed by: 

“a nerve-shredding psychological thriller that will keep readers guessing to the very last page.”

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be the person you never knew at all?

This is the intriguing question bestselling crime writer Karin Slaughter asks of readers in her latest crime thriller, Pieces of Her.

Andrea “Andy” Cooper lives an uneventful life working nights as a police dispatcher, and still living with her mother. Oliver’s mother, Laura, however is the complete opposite. She is the perfect small-town mother, living a quiet and happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community in so many ways: a gifted speech therapist, business owner, and everybody’s friend. She has a sort of relentless kindness that is kept from being too sugary by her quick, sometimes acerbic wit. Perhaps, thought, more importantly to her daughter, Laura never keeps a secret from anyone, especially Andrea.

Unfortunately for Andrea, that Laura-created myth is about to explode into a thousand bloody fragments, while both women sit sipping coffee at the Rise-n-Dine restaurant at the local mall, chatting and celebrating Andrea’s 31st birthday:

            “The air had changed. That was the only way to describe it. The fine hairs on the back of Andy’s neck stood up. A chill went down her back. Her nostrils flared. Her mouth went dry. Her eyes watered.

            There was a sound like a jar popping open.

            Andy turned.

            The handle of the coffee cup slipped from her fingers. Her eyes followed its path to the floor. While ceramic shards bounced of the tiles.


In a millisecond, two women are dead, but the nightmare is not over for Andrea or Laura. In fact, it’s only just started:

            “A man was pointing a gun at her mother’s chest. Not a cop’s gun, but the kind with a cylinder like in the Old West. He was dressed the part—black jeans, black shirt with pearl buttons, black leather vest and black cowboy hat. Gunbelt hanging low on his hips. One holster for the gun, a long leather sheath for a hunting knife.”

In an act of incredible bravery, Laura calmly tries pleading with the gunman while simultaneously telling her daughter to run, get out of danger. Before Andrea has even time to answer, Laura goes into defensive mode, killing the attacker with his own knife.

Shaking with fear and relief, Andrea can’t believe what she has just witnessed. She is simply grateful the nightmare is over, not realizing the real nightmare has just begun.

Laura is quickly hailed as a hero as the media goes into a frenzy about her, hoping to build a story. However, consequences of the publicity come less than a day later, when Laura is in hospital, shot by an intruder. Why? Is this some sort of revenge killing for the man she knifed to death?

The answer is not that simple or convenient.

What is Laura trying to hide, if anything? As Andrea tries to find out, she must dig up her mother’s past, a past filled with blood, death, and a few skeletons in the cupboard. She soon discovers that her perfect, gentle mother was anything but perfector gentle.

Karin Slaughter is in top form with her latest tome, Pieces of Her. She has created a nerve-shredding psychological thriller that will keep readers guessing to the very last page.