Karin Slaughter | Broken (Will Trent #4)

The Book: 

Broken by Karin Slaughter
Published June 21st 2011 by Delacorte Press
Date re-read: December 15, 2022

The Characters: 

Will Trent, GBI agent

Faith Mitchell, Atlanta PD detective
Sara Linton
Amanda Wagner, Will’s boss

Get it on Bookshop.org | Amazon


The Plot (from Goodreads):

When Special Agent Will Trent arrives in Grant County, he finds a police department determined to protect its own and far too many unanswered questions about a prisoner’s death. He doesn’t understand why Officer Lena Adams is hiding secrets from him. He doesn’t understand her role in the death of Grant County’s popular police chief. He doesn’t understand why that man’s widow, Dr. Sara Linton, needs him now more than ever to help her crack this case.

While the police force investigates the murder of a young woman pulled from a frigid lake, Trent investigates the police force, putting pressure on Adams just when she’s already about to crack. Caught between two complicated and determined women, trying to understand Linton’s passionate distrust of Adams, the facts surrounding Chief Tolliver’s death, and the complexities of this insular town, Trent will unleash a case filled with explosive secrets–and encounter a thin blue line that could be murderous if crossed. 

Click here for book spoilers for <em>Broken</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Broken, I suggest you turn back now.

Frank is the interim police chief following Jeffrey’s death. Lena is a senior detective. Brad’s a detective now. Lena is dating Jared (Jeffrey’s son).

When Allison’s body is pulled from the lake, Lena, Brad, and Frank go to the victim’s house to investigate. They think they see Tommy, the landlord’s son, cleaning up bodily fluids in Allison’s house, so they give chase. Frank, drunk, shoots Lena in the hand, and Tommy stabs Brad with a letter opener in self-defense.

Tommy kills himself in custody with Lena’s pen. Sara acts on her vendetta against Lena and asks Amanda to send Will to investigate.

Frank threatens Lena into protecting him and hiding that he was drunk on the job, but Lena eventually goes to Will to take the blame for the botched investigation. He decides to use her help in the meantime.

Allison’s boyfriend Jason is found dead on the Grant Tech campus, exonerating Tommy. Lena is kidnapped by someone at the clinic, someone she knew.

Sara and Will put together that Tommy and Allison may have been part of a drug trial. They assume Hare was forcing a drug trial on kids for money. Tommy’s mood swings were likely an adverse reaction to the drug.

Darla Jackson, Tommy’s neighbor’s nurse, had kidnapped Lena. She was Frank’s daughter, which Lena had forgotten.

When Sara and Will went to the clinic to see if they could find information about the drug trial, they ran into Jared, who was looking for Lena at the police station. Sara found out that Jared and Lena were dating. Jared knew now that Jeffrey was his father. Jared and Will went into the clinic to look for Lena while Sara waited outside. She went down to the water and ran into Darla, and immediately knew what Darla was up to. It was almost 3am.

Darla admitted to Sara that Allison and Jason were blackmailing her over the drug trial. People kept dropping out, so Darla had convinced Jason to enter twice. When he got Allison and Tommy into it, they decided they wanted all the money. Darla was trying to frame Jason for Allison’s death.

Sara and Darla struggled and fell into the river. Darla hit her head on some rocks and died. Sara made it out of the river. Will and Jared found Lena.

Frank had had a heart attack. He knew that Darla was rigging the drug trial. She had asked him for money to pay off Allison and Jason. She was also scamming old people under her guise as a nurse.

The Ending:

Sara invited Will to spend Thanksgiving with her family, but just as he was about to say yes, Angie texted that her mother had finally died and that she needed Will.

Jared and Lena had met on the day of Jeffrey’s funeral. They were engaged in the epilogue. Lena accepted the job on the Macon police force. We didn’t learn much about Jeffrey’s death, but it’s implied that Ethan had ordered him to be killed. Lena feels responsible because she got Jeffrey mixed up with Ethan. She had also planted the evidence on Ethan that allowed Jeffrey to send him back to jail for a parole violation.

The Review: 

It was fun to go back to Grant County and to see Will collide with Sara’s world. I will say I’m frustrated by how long it takes to find out what really happened to Jeffrey–and this is on a re-read, so imagine how frustrated I was the first time around! I really thought we’d get answers in this book, but I’m just left with more questions.

We all know Lena sucks, but I feel like she redeems herself a little bit in this book. She’s definitely flawed, but she’s trying to do the right thing. Angie, on the other hand, is well and truly the worst. It would kind of be fun to see them face off…I wonder if Karin will ever work that into a plot.


I’ve also posted spoilers for all of the Grant County books, so check this link or the search bar to find what you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for a matching set of the Will Trent books, most of them are included in this set, which I purchased recently and love!

Will Trent books in order

*Once again, I do recommend starting with the Grant County books. See this post.

Triptych
Fractured
Undone (also titled Genesis)
Broken
Fallen
Snatched (novella)
Criminal
Busted (novella)
Unseen
The Kept Woman
Cleaning the Gold (novella)
The Last Widow
The Silent Wife
After That Night

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