Summary and book reviews of Half Broken Things by Morag Joss

Half Broken Things

By Morag Joss

Half Broken Things
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2005,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Jul 2006,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

A gripping tale of psychological suspense perfect for the readership of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell, Half Broken Things is a novel that peers into the lives of three dangerously lost people…and the ominous haven they find when they find each other.

Jean is a house sitter at the end of a dreary career. Steph is nine months pregnant and on the run. And Michael is a thief. Through a mixture of deceit, good luck, and misfortune, these three damaged loners have come together at a secluded country home called Walden Manor. Now all three have found what they needed most: a new beginning, a little kindness, a little love. Living off the manor's riches, tending its grounds and gardens, they leave the outside world far behind and build a happiness so long denied them. That is, until the first unexpected visitor arrives...igniting a chain reaction that is at once spellbinding and disastrous.

A stunning, thought-provoking crime novel of chilling moral complexity, Half Broken Things is a gripping, haunting exploration of love and our need for it, of the damage done when we go long without it, and the deeds we might be driven to in its name.

January

Walden Manor August

This is not what it might look like. We're quiet people. As a general rule extraordinary things do not happen to us, and we are not the type to go looking for them. But so much has happened since January, and I started it. Things began to happen, things I must have brought about somehow without quite foreseeing where they would lead. So I feel I must explain, late in the day though it is. I'm going to set out, as clearly as I can, in the order in which they occurred, the things that have happened here. And I shall find it difficult because I was brought up not to draw attention to myself and I've never been considered a forthcoming person, never being one to splurge out on anything, least of all great long explanations. Indeed, Mother always described me as secretive. But that was because, with her, I came to ...

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Reviews

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A number of reviewers compare Morag Joss to Minette Walters, as does the book jacket cover. Other than that they've both British and write psychological suspense I don't really see the comparison - I've tried a few of Minette Walters's books but found them too gory for my tastes - but I did not feel this when reading Half Broken Things.

As Joss herself says, "Although Half Broken Things has a crime in it, I didn't set out to write it as a crime novel. It's been published as a crime novel and one can see why but if it is a crime novel, it's one by accident.....I've started to feel queasy about murder as entertainment. I've begun to think there are so many more interesting things about death than the whodunnit.....I wanted to explore what people will do when they're in such terrible need of love. If there was a big idea then that was it."   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A grim, courageous work that crosses into dark,interior regions American readers rarely dare to tread.

Booklist - Emily Melton

Starred Review. This is an extraordinary book--dark, painful, thought-provoking, and disturbing. Joss' masterful narrative delivers a provocative examination of good and evil, the nature of love, and the infinite variety of human behavior.

Publishers Weekly

British author Joss's brilliantly conceived, finely executed novel, which captured the CWA's Silver Dagger Award, offers psychological suspense of the highest order. This is a must read.

Reader Reviews
Miranda Spiers

Half Broken Things
This book re-arranges your normal opinion on people who are doing wrong - and what, in fact,could ordinarily could be described as doing evil. It tugs you between condemnation and compassion, and widens your conception of how needy but basically `...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Morag Joss grew up on the west coast of Scotland, completed a degree in English at St Andrew's University and then studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music. The trigger for her start as a writer was in the mid 1980s when family friend P.D. James came to stay and Joss took her on a tour of the Roman Baths in the city of Bath. While touring the baths Joss jokingly suggested that 'this would be a good place to find a body', they bounced around the idea for a minute or two and then P.D. James said 'Oh, ...

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