I don’t review a lot of books here, but when I find one that goes above and beyond, I have to share it. This time it’s an extra special pleasure because I get to share the novel just released by my good friend and fellow long-time journalist Shelley Coriell. THE BROKEN, book one in Shelley’s new Apostle series, released on April 29, 2014 by Grand Central Forever.
The series is about a group of FBI behavioral analysts gathered under the direction of Parker Lord. Lord’s group of mavericks has earned a reputation as the best in the FBI along with the nickname of The Apostles. Shelley quotes her character Parker Lord: “Apostles? No, there’s nothing holy about us. We’re a little maverick and a lot broken. But in the end, we get justice right.”
About The Broken
I was especially eager to read THE BROKEN because, as one of Shelley’s critique partners for many years now, I had watched the book grow from a concept to a manuscript, had held my breath as she worked to sell the story, celebrated when she sold the first three books to Grand Central Forever, and cheered her on as she edited and reworked the story. However, I had not read the final version of the book and I didn’t know the ending.
Here’s a summary of the story:
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.
I was on a roller coaster ride from the moment I started reading THE BROKEN. I began the book on a flight from Phoenix to Atlanta and finished it the same day. I absolutely could not put it down. Shelley takes her readers into the lives—and minds—of her very real characters. Kate was a professional broadcaster who faced cameras and scrutiny every day until her attack. As the story opens, a broken Kate is on the run from her attacker, her past, and herself. I love the way Shelley weaves the beautiful mountain setting into the story. In fact, the settings in both Colorado and Tahoe become almost as important as the characters to the story.
I fell in love with Kate and her gentleness with blind, cantankerous Vietnam vet Smokey Joe. I admired her tenacity to move forward with her new life. But my heart ached for the lonesome Kate who was afraid to love or make any real personal connections.
FBI Special Agent Hayden Reed is a complex character and Shelley does an amazing job of bringing him to life. In his buttoned up world, everything has a place and a purpose. For Hayden, the things that don’t fit have been compartmentalized. He knows what his life holds and he has a routine—plus some amazing custom suits. He takes his job seriously and motorcycle riding, brash, on-the-run Kate doesn’t fit into his plans for life.
During the story, Shelley weaves in just enough romance to keep things fun as you hit the peaks and sink into the valleys of her suspense-filled quest to find the killer. The pacing is impeccable and has your heart racing. I know Shelley and I know her stories, but even I did not figure out the whodunit until the end. Don’t worry, no spoiler alerts here. You have to read this one to find out the true identity of the Broadcast Butcher. It will make your heart pound, bring you to tears, and have you laughing out loud as you ride along on the journey.
There are some fun, quirky characters in the story who provide everything from great comic relief to heart-warming inspiration. The details of the investigation are fascinating and give you a real sense of the often laborious task of solving a murder. There is little doubt, after reading THE BROKEN, why Publisher Weekly named this one of The Best Romances of Summer 2014 or why Romantic Times Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars and named it a Top Pick.
In THE BROKEN, Shelley introduces us to some of Hayden Reed’s co-workers at the FBI, fellow “Apostles” Hatch Hatcher and Evie Jimenez. We get just enough of these two to make me impatient for future books. Fortunately, I don’t have to wait long. The Buried, which is Hatch’s story set in a Florida bayou, releases on October 28, 2014. You can read more about The Buried here. And aren’t the covers amazing?
The third Apostle story, The Blind, is set to release in January 2015.
One of my favorite secondary characters in The Broken was high heel loving but tough as nails Detective Lottie King from Colorado Springs. Shelley has created a series of short stories about Detective King. Volume I, ROUGH DAY, has three short stories:
- Rough Day — Colorado Springs homicide detective Lottie King investigates the murder of a long-time friend and founder of a domestic violence shelter and finds herself hunting down someone besides the killer.
- Old Flame — The twelve-year-old grandson of an old high school crush “hires” Detective Lottie King to find out what happened to his grandfather who is missing…and probably dead, but no one believes him.
- Smooth Sailing — On the eve of her retirement, Detective Lottie King investigates one last case for Colorado Springs PD–an accidental drowning that turns out to be murder–but all is not smooth sailing…with the investigation or her retirement.
Volume II, NEW SHOES, also has three short stories:
- New Shoes -– To celebrate her retirement, Lottie King vacations in New Orleans and while shopping for new shoes stumbles upon an old murder.
- Short Fuse — Lottie King battles the clock and an unexpected Big Bad as she races to find a bomb planted at the Festival of Light Parade where her Girl Scout troop is marching.
- Long Shot — Going stir-crazy in retirement, Lottie King agrees to serve as a consultant to a bumbling PI as he attempts to track down a gambling spouse who ended up losing more than the balance of his bank account.
About Shelley Coriell
Shelley Coriell is the ultimate professional. She grew up here in Arizona and attended journalism school at ASU. She’s a former newspaper reporter, magazine editor and restaurant reviewer. In addition to her big, edgy romantic suspense stories, Shelley writes smart, funny novels for teens. A six-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, she lives in the Phoenix area with her family. Shelley is also an avid foodie (I love when she goes with me to one of my food events or restaurant openings) and an amazing baker. In fact, when you sign up to receive the free short story, you also get Shelley’s favorite recipe for Buttermilk-Crusted Triple-Berry Cobbler.
Purchasing Your Copy of The Broken
You can find out more about Shelley Coriell and her books online at www.ShelleyCoriell.com. Her books, including THE BROKEN and her two previously-published young adult novels, are available online at Amazon.com or at your local bookstore. To order THE BROKEN, simply click on the cover below. The book is available as a download for the Amazon Kindle and in mass market paperback.