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Fallen - Karin Slaughter

Faith is a law enforcement agent. Her mother was watching her infant while she attended program for the department. She was late returning home and tried to call her mom, but no one answered the phone. When she got there, she saw bloody handprints on the door and her daughter, in her infant seat, was on the floor in a locked garage. She called for back-up, but she didn’t wait for them to arrive since she saw movement in the house and thought that Evelyn, her mom, might be in grave danger. Evelyn was a former law enforcement officer, as well, in the narcotics division. As the story begins to unfold, the reader learns that there is some kind of a drug scandal associated with her mom’s former job. There is still a suspicion hanging over Evelyn concerning hidden stolen drug money. She resigned under a cloud and several of the officers under her command went to jail for drug related crimes.

The author’s characters all seemed to lack any ethical standards. They lied, were not loyal to their spouses, had children out of wedlock, made irresponsible decisions, and in general, did not seem to be playing with a full deck of cards. Either the author has little or no respect for the police department or she has low expectations for their conduct. The mostly female cast of characters was portrayed as practically brainless, moved mainly by emotion rather than common sense, and the only man who was front and center, was weak and damaged both intellectually and emotionally.

I kept hoping something would happen to make me appreciate the author’s effort in some small way, but it simply never did. The dialogue got more and more hackneyed. The characters spoke in platitudes. I simply could not find a theme with any kind of a message. Yes, the bad guys were really bad, but the good guys were drawn as incapable fools unable to make the judgments necessary to live fruitful lives, let alone enforce the law properly. The lackluster characters made for an uninspiring novel.

I was surprised that this well known author would construct such a weak plot when writing about so many important subjects. She could have explored the topic of drug wars and rehabilitation programs, unwed motherhood and the pitfalls of adoption, the value of fidelity, incidences of corruption in the police force contrasted with bravery on the part of many officers, and so much more, but instead, she chose to write a story about shallow, immature characters who made terrible decisions, who kept secrets, for one reason or another, perhaps to protect those around them and suffered the consequences without learning from the experience. She then immersed those characters into a sea of important subjects that never got explored or fully developed, that never imparted an inspiring message to the reader.

I would not recommend the book unless you just want something totally mindless to listen to while you are otherwise occupied, as in driving a long distance or going for a long mindless walk. I listened to this book and found it hard to maintain my interest. I kept hoping it would get better, that a deeper more meaningful story would develop, but it never did. The one redeeming feature was the ending which was a surprise