She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be - great title, right?
She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J. D. Barker
Published 3/20, 774 pages
This is sort of a multi-genre book: A love story, deep friendship, a bit of a mystery, a thriller, all boils down to book I couldn't put down. I read it on Kindle and usually find that books feel very short because there's no sense of turning pages or a visual of how many pages are left. This book didn't necessarily feel short but I was still surprised to see it is over 700 pages. Though it drug a bit in the middle for me, the start and finish certainly made the journey worthwhile. Told in the first person by Jack - first as a little boy then as a young man, then as the 30-something adult - it covers his friendships, his meeting and falling in fascination, then in love with Stella, the trials and tragedies of his life. He is one great character ..... not perfect, which is perfect. Though a little less developed, Stella is a compelling character also.
The story is set up in three threads - the story of Jack and Stella and their odd relationship; the story of the detective who investigates the murders that occur every August 9 and trying to figure out how/if they connect to Jack; and patient "D", the creepy guy that shows up about half way into the story and ends up having a major impact. The intertwining of these three main storylines is masterful. I was never confused about who the characters were or what they were doing, which is saying a lot!
This book is billed as a horror story but it's not the kind of creatures-in-the-sewers of horror, more the type of something-strange-happened-and-now-we-have-secret-powers type of story. And the secret powers aren't the good kind! It kind of puts me in mind of early Dean Koontz and the creepy side of Stephen King.
She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be explores a lot of themes: friendship and family and the lengths you go to help the ones you love; good and evil; a coming of age tale; love that lasts years in spite of overwhelming obstacles; manipulation, exploitation, control - oh my, this book has it all! And, you're right, it sounds like a lot going on - and yet it's so seamless and connected that I never lost a thread or felt something was out of place or unexplained. Really a masterful handling of so many genres and themes.
There is, however, a fair amount of violence and death throughout the story, so if that bothers you, this book might not be for you.
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