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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Thriller

Pieces of Her

by Karin Slaughter

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Quick take

When her mother heroically stops a shooting, a daughter realizes she might not really know the woman who raised her.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, 400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Nonlinear_Timeline

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Now_a_Movie

    Now a movie

  • Illustrated icon, Mama_Drama

    Mama drama

Synopsis

Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner, and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. Or so Andrea thinks.

When Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognizable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person—and that’s because she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle.

Laura is hailed as a hero for her actions at the mall, but 24 hours later she is in the hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down.

What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide? As elements of the past return and put them both in danger, Andrea is left to piece together Laura’s former identity and discover the truth—for better or worse—about her mother. Is the gentle, loving woman who raised her also a violent killer?

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Pieces of Her.

Pieces of Her

PROLOGUE

For years, even while she’d loved him, part of her had hated him in that childish way that you hate something you can’t control. He was headstrong, and stupid, and handsome, which gave him cover for a hell of a lot of the mistakes he continually made—the same mistakes, over and over again, because why try new ones when the old ones worked so well in his favor?

He was charming, too. That was the problem. He would charm her. He would make her furious. Then he would charm her back again so that she did not know if he was the snake or she was the snake and he was the handler.

So he sailed along on his charm, and his fury, and he hurt people, and he found new things that interested him more, and the old things were left broken in his wake.

Then, quite suddenly, his charm had stopped working. A trolley car off the tracks. A train without a conductor. The mistakes could not be forgiven, and eventually, the second same mistake would not be overlooked, and the third same mistake had dire consequences that had ended with a life being taken, a death sentence being passed, then—almost—resulted in the loss of another life, her life.

How could she still love someone who had tried to destroy her?

When she had been with him—and she was decidedly with him during his long fall from grace—they had raged against the system: The group homes. The emergency departments. The loony bin. The mental hospital. The squalor. The staff who neglected their patients. The orderlies who ratcheted tight the straitjackets. The nurses who looked the other way. The doctors who doled out the pills. The urine on the floor. The feces on the walls. The inmates, the fellow prisoners, taunting, wanting, beating, biting.

The spark of rage, not the injustice, was what had excited him the most. The novelty of a new cause. The chance to annihilate. The dangerous game. The threat of violence. The promise of fame. Their names in lights. Their righteous deeds on the tongues of schoolchildren who were taught the lessons of change.

A penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, a dollar bill ...

What she had kept hidden, the one sin that she could never confess to, was that she had ignited that first spark.

She had always believed—vehemently, with great conviction—that the only way to change the world was to destroy it.

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Why I love it

Have you ever stumbled across a cryptic message scribbled in a parent’s high school yearbook, or flipped through an old album of unrecognizable photos, or overheard a previously untold story from their childhood and thought: I have absolutely no idea who this person is that raised me? In Pieces of Her, Andrea Oliver can relate. Only it was much more than a photo that revealed just how little she knows.

Andrea’s always believed her mom, Laura, to be a kind, quiet woman living a very ordinary life. That is, until the day that their mother-daughter lunch is interrupted by a violent attack—and Laura swiftly and expertly intervenes. Soon Laura is the victim of another crime, and Andrea is left to wonder: Who exactly is the mother she thought she knew so well? And what secrets lie in her past?

This book hits the ground running from the high-stakes first chapter. As the story unfolds, carrying us from past to present, the events of Laura’s former self begin to fit together with the pieces of her present. It’s no surprise this twisty book is headed for the small screen—here’s your chance to read the story that inspired the TV adaptation.

Member ratings (5,415)

  • Alyssa S.

    Minneapolis, MN

    I absolutely love Slaughter’s writing! The suspense and the twist along with how deeply you feel the characters makes her writing unforgettable. Will be thinking about this book for weeks! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Ashley F.

    Sweet Springs, MO

    4.5/5 ⭐️… I haven’t watched the show on Netflix because I wanted to read the book 1st. It did not disappoint. Fast paced and exciting, I loved the “Now to Then” storyline with all the cliffhangers

  • Alycia H.

    Slidell, LA

    Although this book is over 400pages, I still cruised through this story as fast as I could! The characters are well developed leaving you rooting for some and hating some all at the same time. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Meagan C.

    Pomfret, CT

    What a roller coaster! Starts off with a bang, falls rights into a “I’m not crying, your crying”, back to what’s going to happen next? This book was thrilling, thought provoking, & beautifully written

  • Lauren M.

    Chicago, IL

    The book is a little hard to get started on but don’t give up!!! The ending is really worth it. Also—please read this over watching the Netflix show—the book is SO much better. Both strong female lead

Thriller
First Lie Wins
No One Can Know
Middle of the Night
Listen for the Lie
A Talent for Murder
One Perfect Couple
Darling Girls
Kill for Me, Kill for You
Murder Road
Daughter of Mine
The Fury
Only if You’re Lucky
The Other Mothers
The Resort
When I’m Dead
The Soulmate
What Lies in the Woods
She Started It
The Only One Left
Dark Corners
Blacktop Wasteland
All the Dangerous Things
The Only Survivors
The Broken Girls
The Family Game
The Push
We Were Never Here
Things We Do in the Dark
The Golden Couple
The Collective
The Stranger Upstairs
Gone Tonight
Too Good to Be True
The Last Word
You Are Not Alone
Rock Paper Scissors
Not a Happy Family
A Flicker in the Dark
The Last Flight
Reckless Girls
The House Across the Lake
The Wife Upstairs
The Last Thing He Told Me
The Maidens
Everything We Didn't Say
Invisible Girl
The Paris Apartment
You're Invited
The Last Party
Dark Places
Pieces of Her
The Wife Between Us
Sharp Objects
None of This Is True
The Silent Patient
The Winter Sister
The Other Woman
Necessary People
The Family Upstairs
The Night Swim
Girl A
The Hunting Wives
Just Another Missing Person
First Born
The Lies I Tell
Breathless
Thriller
View all
First Lie Wins
No One Can Know
Middle of the Night
Listen for the Lie
A Talent for Murder
One Perfect Couple
Darling Girls
Kill for Me, Kill for You
Murder Road
Daughter of Mine
The Fury
Only if You’re Lucky
The Other Mothers
The Resort
When I’m Dead
The Soulmate
What Lies in the Woods
She Started It
The Only One Left
Dark Corners
Blacktop Wasteland
All the Dangerous Things
The Only Survivors
The Broken Girls
The Family Game
The Push
We Were Never Here
Things We Do in the Dark
The Golden Couple
The Collective
The Stranger Upstairs
Gone Tonight
Too Good to Be True
The Last Word
You Are Not Alone
Rock Paper Scissors
Not a Happy Family
A Flicker in the Dark
The Last Flight
Reckless Girls
The House Across the Lake
The Wife Upstairs
The Last Thing He Told Me
The Maidens
Everything We Didn't Say
Invisible Girl
The Paris Apartment
You're Invited
The Last Party
Dark Places
Pieces of Her
The Wife Between Us
Sharp Objects
None of This Is True
The Silent Patient
The Winter Sister
The Other Woman
Necessary People
The Family Upstairs
The Night Swim
Girl A
The Hunting Wives
Just Another Missing Person
First Born
The Lies I Tell
Breathless