06/28/2010 03:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Broken : Karin Slaughter's Chilling Story About Damaged People

Opening the pages of a Karin Slaughter novel is accepting an invitation to enter a dark world of mystery and suspense. Slaughter takes her readers to a place where murders are common and corruption is the norm. It is however a place where heroism arises at the most unexpected times and crime usually does not pay. It is the world of Grant County, Georgia - a place Slaughter has created to house her stories.

Her latest novel is titled Broken and that word is a fitting description for the three lead characters. Sara Linton is a woman trying to deal with the death of her husband, Jeffrey. He was the police chief in the town of Heartsdale, the central city in Grant County. Sara blames police officer Lena Adams for Jeffrey's death because it was her abusive boyfriend who killed him.

Lena is also "broken" in that she blames herself for Jeffery's death. She is trying to be a good officer to atone for her sins but a new murder in her city drags her back into the past. Even her new boyfriend Jared can't raise her spirits as she sinks deeper and deeper into the corrosive atmosphere surrounding the new crime.

The third person is FBI Agent Will Trent. He comes to Heartsdale at Sara's request to investigate the mysterious death of an accused killer. Will is dyslexic and tries to hide this limitation from everyone he meets. He is very clever in his cover up but Sara soon recognizes his problem for what it is. The fact Sara is aware of it makes Will uncomfortable around her, even while he is drawn to her.

The story in Broken takes place over a few days, all of them filled with rainy miserable weather that permeates the mood of the plot. Readers will find themselves shivering as they read the story as the dreary atmosphere comes right off the pages into the reader's mind. The chill in the weather perfectly matches the chills created by the cruel acts committed in the story.

The characters in Broken are the same ones who inhabited several of Slaughter's previous novels but this is a stand alone book. You needn't have read the previous ones to enjoy and fully comprehend the story in this one. However, if you have read the previous stories, it will enhance your enjoyment of this book.

No one writes books of this type like Slaughter does. She knows how to create unique characters, abrupt storylines, and dreary atmospheres. Plus, in a Slaughter book you never know who is going to survive. She has killed off major characters in her previous novels and the reader is always aware she could do it again. This adds a gruesome tension to the reading you won't find elsewhere.

As dreary as the mood and atmosphere are in Broken, you can not put it down once you start reading. Slaughter weaves a spell of interest that keeps you entranced from beginning to end. Very few authors have this talent, but Slaughter has it in spades.

So, pick a hot sunny day to open the pages of Broken and let Slaughter give you a summer chill with her words. Broken is a fascinating story created by a uniquely talented writer.

Broken is published by Delacourte Press. It contains 402 pages and sells for $26.00.