"Knowing who the bad guy is still does not prepare us for the chilling conclusion."
Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted September 10, 2018
Romance Suspense | Thriller
SHATTERED MIRROR is a labyrinth of possibilities constructed
on a strange series of connections. Think of trying to put
back together a shattered mirror -- a puzzle that defies
logic and sense and yet Eve Duncan's career is built around
her somewhat innate ability to put these puzzles together.
As a forensic sculptor Eve recreates faces from nothing more
than a skull. These skulls communicate with Eve, as
difficult as that is to comprehend. And now it appears that
her six-year-old son Michael shares Eve's ability to
connect with the people behind the skull.
Sounds kind of scary but these facial reconstructions have
helped close open cases, helped a family find closure and in
some cases prevent more murders. Not all skulls are a result
of foul play but Eve knows they each tell a story, that's
her job and she takes it very seriously.
The newest skull has brought with it a kind of crazy story.
Eve and her husband Quinn need to find the solution to the
puzzle seemingly attached to it. The case seems to be much
more personal. The safety of Eve and her family are at risk,
and it all began with this charred skull with a bullet hole
at the temple.
As always Iris Johansen has crafted a story filled with a
multitude of twists and turns which have even the best arm
chair detective second-guessing themselves. A great subtitle
for SHATTERED MIRROR would be changes since it follows some
pretty life-altering ones for many of the characters.
Starting with Eve and her family, Cara and her grandfather
Kaskov and now Darcie and Sylvie.
The roads twist and turn, intertwining quickly and often in
this fast-paced crime novel. Hard to keep track of the good
guys and bad guys. At time role reversal is the game of the
At each bend in the road some new facts emerge and for the
most part do not appear to have any connection with this
skull. And since neither Eve nor Quinn believe in
coincidence, they are determined to get the facts. They are
not satisfied with accepting these events are mere
coincidence. There is definitely an element of evil and
there is no shortage of evildoers. Some strangers and some
I am once again charged with providing a review for one of
Iris Johansen's books without giving up too many facts
about the storyline. Suffice it to say that at each new
crossroad the reader finds themselves looking at
circumstances that defy logic. The road to closure is indeed
muddied up with new people and events popping up. The cast
of characters is amazing and Iris Johansen outdoes herself
in SHATTERED MIRROR with some pretty devious and creepy
ones. As always this Eve Duncan crime novel completely
stands on its own. And in SHATTERED MIRROR Iris Johansen
incorporates just about everyone we have ever met in
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes
an explosive thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve
Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan is once again thrown into a
deadly game of intrigue when she receives a cryptic package
containing a skull and a two sided mirror. Eve is
to reconstruct the skull and uncover the mystery of the
person’s identity, and when she does, the face of a
beautiful woman begins to emerge. But who is she?
As Eve gets closer and closer to finding the answer, she
becomes swept up in a lethal chase that spans continents
threatens to destroy the family that she has worked so hard
to bring together. Eve and her team must work quickly to
discover who is behind the murder – and maybe even prevent
more loss of life. But how do you fight a killer who is
willing to destroy anyone as a means to an end?
No one is safe in #1 New York Times bestselling
author Iris Johansen’s next explosive, high-stakes thriller
that will keep readers on the edge of their seat through
every heart-pounding chapter.
ExcerptThe lights in the lake cottage sent out a cozy glow that
lit the banks of the lake and made that house of death
appear welcoming. Everything about the place and property
spoke of beauty and a deceptive invitation that made one
think that all was well with this world.
Because she was there, Rory Norwalk thought, as he moved a
few steps closer, his gaze on the cottage. She was the
heart of the house, the one who destroyed the balance, who
had ruined everything when she could have saved. She
claimed that she was a mender, a fixer, but Norwalk knew
that was all lies.
He was the one who would fix what was broken. Eve Duncan
only interfered and made a mockery of what was true and
right. But that was going to stop; he couldn’t permit it
He stepped back in the shadow of the trees as a Jeep drove
up into the driveway.
It was the father and the son. It was the little boy who
had laughed. He laughed a lot; careless, joyous laughter
that was as deceptive as this house. How could he be joyous
when he lived with that woman who was so evil? Because he
was evil, too? Norwalk had suspected it and was almost
certain that the boy, Michael, would have to be fixed.
“Stay here,” Joe Quinn told his son as he got out of the
car and started up the porch steps. “I’ll do it, but you’ll
owe me, Michael. She told you not to do it again.”
“He wouldn’t listen,” Michael protested. “I tried, Dad.
Just explain so that she won’t get upset. Okay?”
“No, it’s not okay. But I’ll call you in after I break it
to her.” He’d reached the porch, and he looked back down at
the little boy in the car. “You sit there and think about
what you’re going to say to your mother. And you start off
with telling her that you’re not going to do it again.”
“But I may have to do it again,” the little boy said
quietly. “I can’t lie to her.”
Joe Quinn sighed. “No, you can’t. We’ll think of
something.” He disappeared into the house.
Leaving the little boy alone in the car.
The boy was not often left alone, Norwalk knew. He was only
six, and his mother was very careful since they lived on
the lake. And Joe Quinn was a police detective, and he was
wary of everything and everyone.
Was this moment of abandonment meant to be a sign to
Norwalk? It was not why he was here, though he’d mentally
already accepted that down the road it must be done. He was
very quick, and children were so gullible. It would only
take a few moments. He instinctively moved faster through
the trees, his gaze on the boy in the Jeep.
But the boy was no longer in the Jeep.
He’d gotten out of the vehicle and was standing on the last
porch step. He was dressed in jeans and a navy-blue
sweatshirt and his legs were slightly parted. The light
from the porch light was burnishing his red-brown hair as
if it were a copper helmet.
Helmet? Why had that word occurred to him, Norwalk
wondered. It was because the boy’s bearing looked almost
military, he realized. He looked like a soldier guarding a
As ridiculous as the idea that the boy was looking directly
to where Norwalk was standing under the trees and could see
him. It was pitch-dark, there was no way he could be seen.
But that little boy knew he was there.
And he was not afraid.
Norwalk instinctively faded farther back in the trees.
Oh, he had been right to judge that Michael Quinn would
also have to be taken out before that cozy house would be
cleansed of all that was broken.
But not right now.
Just a little longer, Sean. I’m just as eager as you, but
we have to keep to the plan, don’t we?
And all good things came to he who was willing to wait.
“Lord, you smell good.” Joe slid his hands around Eve’s
waist from behind. “Fried onions and bacon. Is there any
scent more appetizing?”
“It depends if you’re hungry.” She turned around and went
into his arms. “Not exactly an alluring perfume if the aim
“Is that the aim? If it is, you must have gotten the
reconstruction off today.”
She nodded. “This afternoon.” She chuckled. “But since when
did work stop us?” She leaned back, and her gaze narrowed
on his face. “And since when did you decide to pussyfoot
around instead of coming out with what you’re thinking?”
He sighed. “I was trying for mellow and soothing. I
promised Michael I’d do my best.”
She went still. “Do your best to do what?”
“Break it to you gently.”
“He has a few bruises and a swollen lip.”
“What?” She pushed him away. “Who?”
She swore beneath her breath. “Same reason?”
He nodded. “He did what you told him to do. The kid
wouldn’t listen. Boys aren’t usually receptive to
persuasion or reason at that age.”
“He’s a bully.”
“And a head taller than Michael. I saw this Gary Walden
when I picked Michael up from soccer practice tonight.”
“That’s the third time that he’s come home with bruises.
The soccer coach should have stepped in and stopped it.”
“Probably didn’t know about it. Michael wouldn’t complain.
You know that.”
Yes, she knew very well that Michael would keep his
silence. Her son would quietly take whatever came his way
and try to work his way through to a solution. That had
been the way he handled problems from the time he was a
toddler. Only this time the punishment he was taking was
because of her, dammit. “Maybe I should talk to this Gary’s
“Which might make it worse for Michael.”
And that was why she had been avoiding doing that. “Kids
can be savages.”
“Absolutely,” Joe said. “And TV and pop culture have led
them to think that to latch onto something out of the
ordinary and make fun of it is the way to go. But Michael
will get bigger and stronger.” His lips tightened. “I’ve
signed him up for a karate class. And a few more lessons in
karate from me will even out the odds in the meantime. The
problem will go away.”
Her lips twisted. “And this Gary will no longer tell
Michael his mother is some kind of a ghoul who collects
skulls for a hobby?”
“Not where Michael can hear him.” He smiled. “Come on,
you’re the foremost forensic sculptor in the world. What
difference does it make what that kid says?”
“It matters if it hurts Michael.”
“It doesn’t hurt Michael,” Joe said. “You know that, Eve.
He’s only worried that it will upset you.” His hand reached
out and touched her cheek. “That’s why he wanted me to
break those damn bruises to you. He only wants to make
certain that nothing ever hurts you.” He leaned forward,
kissed her gently, and drew her close. “That’s what we all
want. You know how smart Michael is. So give him a little
time to work this out for himself.”
“He’s only six, Joe.” Her words were muffled against his
“Going on thirty. You’ve always known he’s not like other
Yes, she’d known from the time Michael had been conceived
that he was wonderful and special and he had never
disappointed her. He was superintelligent and had the
sweetest nature on the planet. But that didn’t mean it
wasn’t her job to keep on protecting him. She had lost her
daughter, Bonnie, who was only seven when she had died
after being taken. It had nearly broken her heart. Michael
was almost that age now, and whenever she thought about it,
the fear returned. Block it. It wasn’t fair to Michael to
live anything but a full and joyous life. “Yeah, I know.
But maybe I’m not quite as grown up. I need a little
bolstering on occasion.” She pushed him away. “Okay, I
suppose you left him outside until you paved the way for
Joe nodded. “In the Jeep. I told him I’d give him a call
when you were ready for him.”
“I’m always ready for him.” She headed for the front door.
“Watch the potatoes for me, Joe?”
“Sure.” He turned back to the stove. “Tell him, I did my
“He knows that you would.” She smiled back at him. “And
you’d better be quick about getting him very good at that
karate. I don’t know how many of these sessions I can
“An eternity,” he said softly. “I know you, Eve.”
He was right, she thought. There were no limits for her
where Michael was concerned.
She went out on the porch. “Okay, Michael. Come out and
face the music. Your father has given me the lowdown and he
tried to—” She stopped. Michael was not in the Jeep, and
there was something about the way he was standing on that
bottom step that was … odd. “Michael?”
He turned and gave her a radiant smile that lit his entire
face. “I’m coming, Mama.” He turned and ran up the stairs.
“I was just looking out at the lake. It’s pretty tonight,
isn’t it?” He hugged her. “I’m hungry. Can we eat before
you yell at me about Gary?”
She held him close for an instant. “That might be
possible.” She released him and opened the front door. “I
thought you might want to stay out here on the porch and
have it out first.”
“Nah.” His smile took on a hint of mischief. “I know Dad
made sure that you wouldn’t be too mad at me. He’s a guy,
too. He knows about these things.” He glanced at the lake
and woods, then turned and headed for the door. “I don’t
want to stay out here. I’d rather go in with you and eat
“Okay, talk to me,” Eve said as she cuddled Michael closer
to her on the couch after supper. “I told you that if you
couldn’t handle Gary yourself, you were to go to your
teacher. Why didn’t you do it?”
“He would have got in trouble.”
“And he didn’t hurt me that bad. He was just scared.”
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