The Broken by Shelley Coriell, a review

Title: The Broken 
Series: The Apostles 
Author: Shelley Coriell 
Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Publisher: Forever 
Release Date: April 29th, 2014 
Source: NetGalley 

He took her life, but left her alive.

Three years ago, reporter Kate Johnson was the first victim—and only survivor—of the Broadcast Butcher. Scarred both physically and psychologically by the brutal serial killer, Kate lives life on the run, knowing that one day, he will find her and finish what he started.

In the pursuit of justice, you sometimes have to step outside the law.

Agent Hayden Reed spends his life chasing monsters. The only way to stay sane is to detach, but the second the Broadcast Butcher case crosses his desk, Hayden knows this is the case that might just cost him his soul. To catch this vicious murderer before he strikes again, Hayden must find Kate and earn her trust. For it’s her darkest secrets that hold the key to stopping this madman once and for all . . .

It’s always nice to encounter a first read that you know you’ll enjoy a couple of pages in. This isn’t my typical fare for romantic suspense but I damn well enjoyed it. Let’s also not forget the fact that it’s almost 3 AM and I probably will have to play soothing music to calm myself down because books give me more visuals than most crime scene shows. Anyway.

The Broken is a book about a survivor of a grisly almost-murder, an unfailingly optimistic FBI profiler and a man who likes to stab people to death. It definitely is an enjoyable book that will take you on a wild ride of suspects and a compelling group of characters. I thought Kate’s character was excellently written because there was the perfect amount of toughness and vulnerability to her. You get to see that she won’t let anyone stop her from surviving because it’s what she does best. I also like how Ms Coriell handled Kate’s distrust with the system and justice in general because I think it highlights how many feel regarding their local police forces and the procedures they do. This is for a completely different discussion but you know, things could always be done better right?

Enter Agent Reed who is definitely an optimist through and through. Not in the overbearing kind of way, but this guy believes and always has hope. It’s kind of nice to read a male protagonist written like this because well sometimes, someone’s always sees the good in things despite the many crappy things that have happened to him. I like my occasional emotionally tortured hero, but I like Agent Reed more. He’s just genuinely nice and that’s always great to read. I also like that despite the fact that he is a profiler and that he can’t seem to use it around people, he doesn’t let that guide his relationships. You know, no organizing people into boxes and whatever. I brought this up because I enjoyed the way he and Kate interacted. Right from the get go you know there’s chemistry and that in the midst of all this shitshow (because it is), they’re like a fuzzy, warm and safe centre to all of it.

Also can I say that I appreciate how Kate was not handled with kid gloves or how she wasn’t called crazy or delusional by anyone in this book? I was really more worried that some character was going to start something and call in to mind Kate’s experiences. I watch a lot of crime shows and this pops up a lot and I get really mad. So yay none of this.

And if you’re wondering whether this book has that “too many characters” and “too much info” problem most first books in a series do, well, it really doesn’t. I think Ms. Coriell handled the future characters and their introductions well enough. It was a natural introduction and wasn’t simply listing Reed’s coworkers and team members. I don’t know how she pulled this off because there truly was quite a bit of side characters in this one. My favourite is Smokey though. It was heartbreaking, that first opening scene, but I enjoyed his relationship with Kate and Maeve. And man, no one messes with Smokey ever.

I guess my problem with the amount of side characters is that by the time the actual antagonist is revealed, I couldn’t remember him. And I guess the point was that he wasn’t that memorable because he blends in so well but shouldn’t he at least have stuck out? I can’t believe this is bothering me but yeah I guess there were just too much red herrings that it kind of felt bleh? I mean, I certainly didn’t expect that but I didn’t expect it too much that I guess I was a little confused? It really was only at this part where it felt a bit like an info dump and I guess I just wanted to get on with the happy ending.

Another issue was the awkward-ish placement of the confession? I mean, at that point I knew Kate really liked him and that she felt safe with him and that there were real feelings involved but I guess I wasn’t expecting feelings confessions until the end after the shitstorm has ended. But then again, if I was Kate and a serial killer was hunting me *knock on wood never happen please* I would just express my emotions early on to avoid regret. I don’t know, it’s not like I wasn’t expecting that revelation since this is romantic suspense, but I guess I wasn’t expecting it at that moment and was caught off-guard.

Overall though, The Broken is a really great read if you’re looking to immerse yourself elsewhere. I enjoyed Ms Coriell’s vivid storytelling and character building. I was hooked from the second page on (this is on my Calibre so I can’t give exact page numbers 😛 ) and I clung to the story until it ended. If you’re looking for romance heavy romantic suspense, this probably isn’t for you but if you’re like me and enjoy the little subtle romantic details then hey go for it. Kate and Reed seemed to me like the type of people who are all actions speak better than words. If you’re easily spooked, I wouldn’t suggest reading this at 11:45 PM though. Maybe try it when there’s sunlight. Or people around you.

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