When we first meet Grace she is in a panic. She is driving away from something or someone horrible. She is driving too fast and hits a deer – then travels off the road and hits a tree. A week later she is being released from hospital. Released to Lisa, a woman whom the hospital staff say is her older sister. To twenty year-old Grace she is a stranger. All her memories are gone…
They tell her she attends university – that she waits tables part-time – that she is engaged to be married…
Lisa drives her to a somewhat remote Michigan farmhouse.
Lisa says that her parents are dead, and that the two girls now own the house. It is all too much for Grace who doesn’t remember the house, and has the pain of broken ribs and a debilitating headache. Lisa seems conciliatory and makes her comfortable.
Later, two policemen come to the house. They tell her that her fiance has been murdered. This seems like a bizarre nightmare to Grace who cannot even remember Michael, her boyfriend. Bishop, the older policeman seems quite businesslike and abrupt, whilst the younger one, Hackett, seems friendly and caring. They want to know if Grace has an alibi for the time Michael was murdered. She does not – at least not one she can remember.
Meanwhile, Justin Hackett doesn’t reveal to Bishop that he ‘knows’ Grace. He cares for her – but she doesn’t remember him. Keeping his feelings for Grace a secret will come to jeopardize both the case, and his career.
With no memory of her former life, Grace is as broken as the title would suggest. Her sister, Lisa, tells her a little of her history but seems strangely reticent to divulge too much. Gradually Grace learns that she once had a twin sister, and that her parents had been murdered in this very house. Lisa hints that their parents were abusive.
When Lisa goes to work, she tells Grace not to go out. She leaves her food and all of her myriad medications. However, Grace is not taking all her meds so that she can be clear-headed enough to try to figure out what is happening to her – trying to regain some memories. She sees an old red pick-up truck in the yard and takes it into town…
She visits Dr. Newell, a psychologist, who tells her that she has psychogenic amnesia. She tells Dr. Newell that she is starting to wonder if her memory loss is a way of avoiding dealing with what she has done. She doesn’t know if she is innocent or guilty of Michael’s murder.
This novel grabs the reader from the beginning. You can’t help but feel empathy for Grace’s plight. On first impression, her relationship with Micheal seemed unhealthy. He was older than her and into gambling and drugs. The winter weather and the old farm house added to the novel’s atmosphere. As events in Grace’s past come to light, the reader roots for her. A plot twist near the end might surprise some readers.
I was previously unacquainted with E.C. Diskin, but intend to read her latest novel entitled “Depth of lies” which was published September 2017.
I recommend “Broken Grace” to anyone who enjoys suspense/thriller novels.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. This in no way influenced my rating or review of this book.
“Broken Grace” has been on my NetGalley list for far longer than either I, the author, or the publisher would have hoped. For that I apologize. It was a great read that should have been read sooner.
E.C. Diskin studied Radio/TV/Film and English in Texas (TCU), moved to New York to dance with a tap dance company in Soho, and finally became “an adult” when she moved to Chicago for law school. But after several years behind a desk, a drawer full of story ideas, and two little ones at home, she took a break from the law and began writing fiction. Fortunately, the fantasy of living a creative life became reality with the success of her debut legal thriller, The Green Line. Her second, Broken Grace, ventured into psych thrillers, and her latest, Depth of Lies, dives into the veneers and secrets behind the closed doors of suburbia. When she’s not reading, writing, binge-watching Netflix, chauffeuring kids, or at the movies, she likes to play with power tools and build stuff.