The Breaker Hardcover – Dec 1 1999
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|Hardcover, Dec 1 1999||
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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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on Dec 20 2000
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 morePublished on Dec 18 2000 by Ryan
My first thought on this novel is ... don't spend any money on it! Borrow it from a friend or a library. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2000
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 morePublished on Oct. 12 2000 by k
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 morePublished on Oct. 10 2000 by Frances Mccaughan
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 morePublished on Oct. 4 2000