Monday, December 12, 2022

Review: All the Broken Girls by Linda Hurtado Bond

by Linda Hurtado Bond
Release Date: August 23, 2022
2022 Entangled: Amara
Kindle Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978-1649372147
Audiobook: B0B223575G
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Crime reporter Mari Alvarez was never able to solve her mother’s murder ten years ago. But when a woman is gunned down on the doorstep of her West Tampa neighborhood, Mari can’t shake the eerie sense of connection.

Now there have been two murders in two days. Each crime scene awash with arcane clues—and without a trace of DNA from the killer. And for each victim, a doll. The first is missing an eye. The second is missing a heart. But are these clues leading to the killer…or messages for Mari?

Caught up in a maelstrom of Old-World superstition, secrets, and ties to her own past, Mari has only one option. Put the puzzle together before someone else dies—even if it destroys her career. But there’s no escaping the hungry spider’s web when it’s been made just for you…
My Thoughts
All the Broken Girls is one of those books in which I entered with a bit of trepidation as I am really not that interested in romantic suspense type books.  Luckily, the romance is not front and center of this book, which allowed me to focus on some of the other interesting things I was learning about, like the Cuban-American culture and Santeria. But while I thought the book started off pretty strong, there were some parts that could have used some tighter editing, plus I wasn't always a fan of Mari as she could be abrasive and pretty rude at times.  

First of all, Mari.  While I loved how Mari cared about the girls and wanted to help them, pushing authorities to do more, there was this abrasiveness about her character that bothered me constantly throughout the book. As a reporter, she was pushy, but sometimes she stepped over the line and was a bit rude to people when it was not necessary and unfortunately, it did get on my nerves after a while.  The author tried to compensate by giving her these vulnerable moments, but for me, they didn't really work all that well as it made me feel like Mari was being more manipulative than real. 
I don't really feel like any of the other characters had any development and were rather one-dimensional.  However, I did like the focus on family and difficult family relationships as well as the religious aspects of the Cuban-American culture as I don't know a lot about them so I found them enlightening.

While the plot was interesting and somewhat complex, the pacing is a bit erratic with this subplot that keeps interrupting the main plot.  I almost wondered if the author was going in a different direction at one point and decided to change the plot and not go there at this time which is why we have this main plot with another subplot running through it.  So, while some parts moved rather quickly and were quite interesting, other parts dragged on and were bogged down by meaningless details; this is often where characters were introduced for no reason that I could see or little purpose, adding to the confusion. Or where family drama erupted, again for reasons to just fill space, but added little to the actual plot, or had to do with the subplot that went nowhere.  Does that sound confusing? Because it was.
All the Broken Girls left me feeling a bit in the middle with regards to this book.  There were actually some really interesting aspects to the story and I did like the overall mystery, even if it took a while to muddle through it.  And while I wasn't a fan of the main character, I did like some of the relationships I could see forming and am invested enough to want to learn more about her family.  I did think the plot was all over the place and could have used some tightening up, but the ending makes me wonder if the author changed direction for the book and has now decided on a sequel?  Unfortunately, I was not a fan of the ending as I thought this was a standalone, but that ending was a bit of a disappointment.  It was strong enough overall though, that I would probably read another book if it was released.