02 January, 2011
Review: Shattered by Karen Robards
Generally, I wouldn't go back and revisit a book I read long before I started this site. I'm making an exception for Shattered. The thing is, I love Karen Robards. She has an eye for detail that many contemporary authors miss. If the heroine is a single mother and she loses a shoe, she's going to worry about how to afford replacing it. Her characters are grounded in reality.
In Shattered, Lisa is the exception that proves the rule. For the first part of the book, she's exactly what I expect. Lisa has real problems and she deals with them as best she can. Her mother is ill, her finances are precarious, she's got a history with her boss and then she finds a picture of a missing girl who looks exactly like her. I am ready to go. Don't buy me dinner, just take me home. Shattered and I are taking the phone off the hook and calling it a weekend.
When I reviewed the hardcover elsewhere I was bitter. I said things like "I wouldn't consider it a failure as a novel" and "Shattered closes like a series pushing six scripts into a half hour finale and then having the power fail during filming ... The emotional payout of so many things is muted leaving the reader mourning what could have been instead of reveling in what was." It was still fresh, what can I say. I was in love, having his baby, and he left me for a waitress he met behind the truck stop. (I want to read that book too, now that I think of it.)
With time, I forgave Shattered much of it's flaws. Scott and Lisa were memorable enough to stay with me for the rest of the year. There were no plot points left unresolved, the summation was simply a bit rushed and I felt cheated by the push of events at the end. What I would still fault Shattered for today is the unrealistic healing properties of the heroine. I think you could hit her over the head, stuff her in a trunk, trap her in a fire, send her car off a bridge and it wouldn't slow Lisa down. She's the 6 Million Dollar Woman in a little red dress. She takes her lickings and keeps on ticking, because she has to. I'd have liked it better if she at least started slurring her words or listing drunkenly to one side when she walked. (I know people cut their own hands off and walk down from mountain ranges to be rescued. I know that. It's possible. But they also collapse into tiny weeping balls in the corner that flinch at sudden movements.)
Shattered is definitely worth the time in paperback. I think we forgive more when the cost is less.