Sunday, May 10, 2020

Review: She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker

She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be
by J.D. Barker
Release Date: March 31st 2020
2020 Hampton Creek Press
Kindle ARC: 774 Pages
ISBN: 978-1734210415
ASIN: B082787BMX
Genre: Fiction / Thriller / Fantasy / Horror
Source:: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

 After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child--this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She'd creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after.

The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn't the first, and he knew it wouldn't be the last. It was no different from the others. He'd find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.

Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject "D" waits, grows, learns. He's permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls.

All of them linked in ways unimaginable.

My Thoughts
She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is one of those books that I had to think about for a while when I was finished because while it was not necessarily that complex, it did have a lot of layers and nuances to it that were quite captivating and a lot of genres all mixed in together.  It's a long book, but definitely worth the ride as everything comes together at the end.  If you are familiar with Great Expectations and Stephen King, the nuances will make a lot more sense as well; if you aren't, you will still have fun with this novel, just not at the same level, I think.   

First of all, I didn't really know what to think of the main character, Jack, at the beginning.  He was loyal, courageous, and good to his Aunt Jo who was looking after him when his parents were killed in a car accident, I just couldn't understand his obsession with Stella over the years.  Anyone who has followed my reviews knows I am not a fan of insta-love or anything of that sort, and I was sort of put off by that at the beginning (and probably through the middle sections) as well.  As he followed her through the years, believing himself to be in love with someone he has spoken to on a handful of occasions, I just couldn't buy into it, but decided to go along for the ride.  I'm glad I did as the other events surrounding the mysterious Stella and the search for the truth about Jack's parents was really fascinating and intriguing.  

Which brings me to the plot.  Despite the amorous nature of Jack towards Stella, I decided to focus more on the search for answers rather than the romance, and this is where the story really got interesting and I wish there had been more of it, rather than 'romance'.  We now have detectives running around the country looking for clues as to what is going on with Stella and Jack, over a time period of 30 years, and while the time period would seem like a daunting task for any author to take on, it works in this novel. We got to see Jack grow up and discover new things about himself, his aunt, his parents, his friends, and I loved how everything came together in the end.  It all wrapped up so nicely in the end.  And I have to say, I actually missed an important element that caught me off guard so I was happy about that.  Happy you say? I love it when an author can surprise me and shake up my thinking.  Kudos to him for doing that.  

She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be delves into some interesting and intriguing topics in this book: should scientists be tampering with the natural progression of things, and what happens to the children when their 'experiments' go badly?  This is a book where some people live in the shadows, through secret experiments and laboratories, where children are locked up because they are too dangerous to be out in the real world, and what happens when they escape.  Over thirty years, Barker develops some pretty interesting characters, but also asks some pretty brutal questions.  There is a lot of suspense, interesting characters, great development in both character and plot, fascinating twists and turns, and some creepy elements that lend themselves to a more Gothic / horror style of writing as well.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interesting in something a bit different.


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