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The Breaker [Hardcover]

Minette Walters
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1 1999 Windsor Selections
The acclaimed international bestselling author hailed by The San Diego Union-Tribune as a "virtuoso of psychological suspense" spins a hypnotic tale of mystery and intrigue.

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.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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From Amazon

The nude body of a 31-year-old woman washes up in a secluded cove on the Dorset coast; at the same time, her 3-year-old daughter is found wandering alone in the streets of a nearby town. The woman, Kate Sumner, was raped and choked before being thrown into the water, and traces of Rohypnol, the so-called date-rape drug, are found in her bloodstream. There are just three suspects in the crime: Kate's husband, William Sumner, a tortured and sexually frustrated man; a handsome, charming but also very disturbed young actor named Steven Harding; and Tony Bridges, a teacher whose friendship with Harding is complicated by jealousy and anger.

Out of these basic ingredients, Minette Walters--the reigning alchemist of the British psychological thriller--has spun another complicated story of passion and repression. In the introduction to the reviewer's edition, Walters says: "Each character is portrayed in depth, and the solution lies in understanding what goes on inside their heads." This is true, up to a point. But what Walters doesn't mention is the sly, slow, and occasionally devious way she doles out the information needed to reach that understanding. You have to weigh the evidence of tidal charts and forensic tests. You must also decide whether the little lies of the characters add up to a big guilt. It's a plausible ending, but you may feel a bit manipulated. Other examples of Walters's alchemy: The Dark Room, The Echo, The Ice House, The Scold's Bridle. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Walters's novels (The Echo, 1997, etc.) depict complex, fallible people caught in intricate plots whose course and solution defy guesswork. Here, a woman's body washes up on the Dorset coast; then a toddler is found wandering alone in the nearby town of Poole. Initially, the investigation identifies two suspects, later a third, with both the police and the reader unable to establish definite means and opportunity, although all three suspects have motives. The dead woman, Kate SumnerAwho had been raped and strangled, her fingers broken before she drownedAwas chameleonlike: a greedy, malicious social climber, but an attentive wife and loving mother. Her husband may be a browbeaten yet adoring spouse, but his child fears him and his alibi is questionable. One suspect, Steven Harding, is a self-absorbed, sex-obsessed actor and a compulsive liar, but there's little evidence of his rumored affair with Kate. His friend Tony Bridges is a respected high school chemistry teacher with a heavy dope habit and a yen for his female students. The local constable, Nick Ingram, whose lack of ambition hides a probing mind and sharp insights into the human psyche, is immersed in the perplexing case. His investigation reacquaints him with stableyard owner Maggie Jenner, whose marriage to a confidence man shattered her family and its fortune, for which she unreasonably holds Nick responsible; Maggie and Nick's slow, witty courtship is one of the great pleasures of the novel. Each time the police develop a strong case against one suspect, the evidence shifts, pointing to another. Finally, a clever analysis of events and of human motivation leads them to the guilty party. This is psychological suspense at its best, engendered in a novel whose sinuous plot and enigmatic characters will captivate readers as surely as newfound love.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and predictable... May 18 2001
By Jenn
Format:Mass Market Paperback
...and not at all what I expected from Minnette Walters. Where the Dark Room and The Echo and all of her other books are intricate puzzles, bending and twisting in on themselves, this books was sadly plodding and straight forward.
At first, I found the mystery of the dead woman, and the lost little girl to be tense, but the tension rapidly disappeared into boredom. It took me two weeks to read this book, and it never takes me any more than four hours. The back and forth red herrings that led first to the husband, then to the boyfriend, and back again got tired very quickly, especially as none of teh twists were either original, or unexpected.
The only good characters were the rural policeman (his mild romance with the owner of a local stable barely keeping her head above water was the only really interesting part of the book.) and the dead woman, and then only real mystery was teh sea itself.
If you want a good mystery, read The Dark Room, or The Sculptress. Definitely skip this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A British who-dun-it. Dec 17 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Walters is an Edgar Award winning author with books translated into 32 languages. She writes with an edge that keeps the suspense flowing till the very end.
From the cliffs above, two young boys who have slipped out of the house with their parents prized binoculars find a woman viciously murdered on a deserted beach. A glib yet brazen cast of characters comes into play as we slowly watch the constable and his partners unravel the mystery that surrounds Kate Sumner's last days on this earth.
I was torn between the possibilities of the murderer being several of the characters, right up until the end; this to me is the mark of a good mystery. If you are in the mood for a good detective mystery this one will hold your attention. Simon Prebble whose deep and distinguished voice is pleasant to the ear and adds to the telling of the story, narrates the book on tape. I would give this book 3.5 stars. Kelsana 12/17/01
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well executed ..... Aug. 11 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Minette Walters offers us the tale of a young woman whose nude and battered body is found washed ashore from the sea while her young toddler daughter is found wandering alone in a nearby village. As events unfold we learn about the suspects: her obsessive research scientist husband and the self-obsessed actor who summoned police to her body. Throw in pornography, drugs, scuzzy friends, and a blossoming romance for the local policeman and you've got the recipe for a well-rounded whodunit.
This was a relatively quick read, but, as with all murder mysteries, details were important. I confess I wasn't certain about the killer's identity until the end. The plot was evenly paced and the personalities of the various characters were well presented.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Breaker: A unique, murder mystery Dec 18 2000
By Phil
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Breaker by Minette Walters is an exciting murder mystery that keeps you guessing to the very end. At the beginning, Walters gives a brief suspect list, and you begin to think that you already know who the killer is, but throughout the book new developments come up that make you question your decision. The Breaker contains a very unique writing style that I had never seen before. Minette Walters includes police interviews, suspect affidavits, and investigation reports. These greatly contribute to the plot because the reader gets a new perspective, one through the eyes of the investigators and townspeople. Normally, the reader sees the story through the eyes of one of the main characters, but in The Breaker I was exposed to multiple views. These helped me to determine who the guilty party was by seeing the entire aspect of their life. If you're looking for a unique murder mystery, coupled with extensive character development and multiple plots, go out today and read The Breaker.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book Dec 20 2000
By Valerie
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Walters added in a murder/mystery with a love story to attract all kinds of readers. Even if you are accustomed to reading only love stories, The Breaker can still be a book you would enjoy. It may even attract you to different genres of books. From the very first page, Walter's is able to capture the reader's attention and still keep them guessing until the end. This thriller begins with a woman who is raped and murdered by an anonymous killer and later discovered on an almost deserted beach. "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 printer on her memory, and not the brutality of her rape." (prologue) The Breaker was an interesting book that I would definitely recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A well paced interesting read. Nov. 15 2000
By Harold
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Minette Walters has given us a novel that is not so much a thriller as it is simply an enjoyable book. The ending certainly lacks the traditional twist and suspense but the trip to the end makes this one of the more enjoyable books I have read this fall. I took this book on a week trip to Mexico and it was never out of reach. The story begins with a body washed up on the breakers and from this point Walters moves through the lives of the people of the Dorset region of southern England. There are several suspects for sure. Each with their own reasons for thinking murder. The sexual relationships of the characters are well documented in a mostly tasteful manner. The book keeps you moving right up to the end thats where I have my only problem. The ending has very little rush, just reason. Do not let the lack of thrill in the end detract from the enjoyment of the journey. A well written book. I grade hard and 3 stars is not bad.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Mysterious
The Breaker was a very good book. It kept you guessing who the killer was until the very end. I mean you think you would have it figured out and then the cops would find another... Read more
Published on Dec 20 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars The Breaker
The Breaker written by Minette Walters is an okay book. The beginning of the book is really good. It goes through talking about suspects. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2000 by Ryan
3.0 out of 5 stars Borrow from a friend or library!
My first thought on this novel is ... don't spend any money on it! Borrow it from a friend or a library. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2000 by "24heineck"
2.0 out of 5 stars Where is the mystery?
This is suppose to be a mystery novel isn't it? This book lacked the suspense that previous efforts by Mrs. Walters has had. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2000 by k
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfactory ending.
Minette Walters has a wonderful descriptive writing style. I highly recommend her other books and most of The Breaker is written to the same high standard. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2000 by Frances Mccaughan
1.0 out of 5 stars Where was the surprise at the end?
I bought this book to read on a plane trip and it started out real good and I figured this would be a real winner. What happened to the suspense as to who was the murderer? Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully developed mystery..........
This story, while dealing with a dead woman who washes up on an English cove keeps you in complete suspense until the very end. Who would have wanted her dead and why? Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2000 by jeanne-scott
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