Summary and book reviews of The Breaker by Minette Walters

The Breaker

By Minette Walters

The Breaker
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jun 1999,
    351 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2000,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

Twelve hours after a woman's body is washed up on a deserted shore on the south coast of England, her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered twenty miles away, alone and apparently abandoned...

But why was Kate killed and her daughter, a witness to her brutal rape and murder, allowed to live? How did the murderer know that the child was unable to speak? And why would Kate, who had a terror of drowning at sea, willingly board a boat?

The obvious suspect is a young actor, a handsome loner obsessed with pornography, who lies about his relationship with Kate. What's more--his sailboat, Crazy Daze, is moored just yards from where the toddler is found.

But as the investigation progresses, police attention shifts to the woman's husband. Was he really on a business trip to Liverpool the night she died? Was Kate indeed the "respectable woman" he claims her to be? Did he love her or hate her......?

More disturbing, perhaps--why does his little daughter scream in horror every time he tries to pick her up?

Minette Walters is "a superior storyteller who plumbs psychological depths with an acuity that......will have readers enthralled," raved Publishers Weekly of The Echo. With The Breaker, she confirms her position as one of the true masters of crime fiction.

Sunday, 10 August 1997 - 1:45 a.m.

She drifted with the waves, falling off their rolling backs and waking to renewed agony every time salt water seared down her throat and into her stomach. During intermittent periods of lucidity when she revisited, always with astonishment, what had happened to her, it was the deliberate breaking of her fingers that remained indelibly printed on her memory, and not the brutality of her rape.


 

Sunday, 10 August 1997 - 5:00 a.m.

The child sat cross-legged on the floor like a miniature statue of Buddha, the gray dawn light leeching her flesh of color. He had no feelings for her, not even common humanity, but he couldn't bring himself to touch her. She watched him as solemnly as he watched her, and he was enthralled by her immobility. He could break her neck as easily as a chicken's, but he fancied he saw an ancient wisdom in her concentrated gaze, and the idea frightened him. Did she know what he'd done?


...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A ferocious intensity.... Walters breathes new life into the classic whodunit.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Psychological suspense at its best, engendered in a novel whose sinuous plot and enigmatic characters will captivate readers as surely as newfound love.

Booklist

Starred Review. This fine novel is sure to be a best-seller, and it deserves to be. Minette Walters just keeps getting better. Not only Walters' fans, but anyone who likes a smart, well-constructed mystery will be spellbound until the final scenes have been played out.

USA Today

The author is adept at psychological suspense stories in which horrible crime lurks within idyllic British settings. In this case, it's the rugged coast of Dorset, where sailboats bob in the English Channel, hikers climb cliffs and gentlefolk go bird-watching. Then a dead woman washes up -- raped, strangled, drowned and with all of her fingers broken. It is up to rock-solid county constable Nick Ingram to solve the case. There are three major suspects and one silent witness -- the murdered woman's 3-year-old daughter, who apparently has been exposed to drug use, sex and pornography. Ingram brings a calm and steady hand to unmasking evil. He knows his turf, understands both locals and day-trippers and can crack an alibi quickly with his knowledge of time, tides, currents and just plain human nature. It's reassuring, knowing he'll get his man the old-fashioned way, without a dot of DNA. A bonus a low-key romantic subplot between Ingram and a proud but impoverished horsewoman. Let's hope she gets her man.

People magazine

Starred Review. A worthy rival to P.D. James and Ruth Rendell. With her insightful psychology and intriguing contemporary characters--no tea-sipping Vicars here, thank you very much-- Walters gives the English village mystery a fine new spin.

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