Broken by John Rector
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this for review from NetGalley.
It’s like the old gum commercial said about twins: “Double your pleasure, double your fun.”
At least until one of them is brutally murdered.
Maggie and Lilly are estranged twins who had a falling out because Lilly refused to leave her abusive husband Mike. It’s been a year since Lilly and Mike left the girls’ hometown, and the sisters haven’t spoken since then. When Lilly turns up beaten to death, Mike is instantly arrested for the crime. Now Maggie has to journey to the fading tourist trap of a town they were living in to try and find some personal effects that belonged to their mother that Lilly had taken. However, while Mike admits that he beat Lilly the night she died he also insists that she was still alive when he left her.
This is one of those plots that sounds like a cheesy Lifetime TV movie when you describe it, but there’s a lot more going on here. This isn’t just a straight up thriller like it sounds, but instead it’s more of a psychological suspense novel driven by character work. Much of the story comes to us from a the manager of the apartment building where LIlly and Mike were living, and there’s just something off about this guy from the jump that give the whole book a creepy vibe.
The sequences from Maggie’s POV cover her anger, grief, and loneliness that she she hides behind a veneer of toughness. This is a woman who just wants to do what she came there to do and then get the hell out, but she finds herself drawn to some of the people she meets like a helpful sheriff, a psychic who isn’t stingy with her pot, and an aging private detective.
At less than 300 pages John Rector delivers with a swift no-nonsense efficiency that still manages to suck you into a moody and atmospheric novel that seems seems equal parts crime thriller and tragedy.
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