When Faith Mitchell arrives at her mother’s house to pick up her infant daughter, she is shocked to discover blood stains on the doorknob and her daughter hidden in the shed. Against police advice, Faith enters the house to discover two men in her mother’s bedroom, one holding a gun against the other’s head, and when the situation turns deadly Faith is forced to open fire.
Traumatised by the incident and fearing her mother has been kidnapped, Faith desperately tries to hold it together for the sake of her children while trying to maintain her mother’s innocence in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. Unsure who to trust, Faith must rely on Will Trent, the man who once tried to have her mother prosecuted for corruption, and his boss, Amanda Wagner, who seems to know more than she is telling. While waiting on the kidnapper’s getting in touch, old secrets come to light and Faith must face up to more on than one incident from her past.
Fallen is the fifth story in the Will Trent series which focuses on Faith Mitchell and her mother, Evelyn, a former police captain who lost her job during an investigation into corruption within the Atlanta PD. In the second book, Fractured, we learned how Amanda Wagner had placed Will into the line of fire by having look into the allegations of police corruption that led to several arrests and Evelyn being forced into early retirement. As a result of the investigation, Will is viewed with disdain by the Atlanta PD and the officers he meets during his cases aren’t shy about hiding their dislike when they come into contact with him. Since Evelyn is still regarded as one of their own, Will is immediately viewed with suspicion when he arrives on the scene but he has grown a thick enough skin to disregard their treatment of him so he can concentrate on his partner who is falling apart.
Faith disobeyed orders to enter her mother’s house alone and with three dead bodies at the scene, two shot by Fatih herself, the situation looks bad especially since her low blood sugar is making her seem like a crazy woman. Realising Faith needs to get her story straight, Will shocks Faith by coaching her what to say when questioned by her superiors even though it isn’t the exact truth. Will often comes across as being straighter than the proverbial ruler but I liked the fact he is willing to bend the truth a little here to protect his partner. Slaughter has to be careful though because Will has already been established as a white knight and if he does stray from the truth then it has to be justified. By bending the truth to save his partner’s career, Will demonstrates how loyal he has become to Faith and I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t gone that extra mile for her.
The story behind Evelyn Mitchell’s enforced retirement and her friendship with Amanda Wagner has been brewing over several books but we have yet to meet the woman in question. Even though many of Evelyn’s secrets come to the forefront by the time the story is brought to a close, we only get to meet her briefly and she remains quite the enigma. Amanda and Evelyn’s background story is going to be explored further in the sixth book in the series so we are only given a taster in Fallen. We do learn that Evelyn holds no grudges against Will though as Faith’s son, Jeremy, reveals Evelyn had told him how much she respected Will for doing his job and there is a nice little scene between Evelyn and Will where she answers many of his questions.
Evelyn’s kidnapping also rattles Amanda Wagner in a way we’ve never seen before and she suddenly seems far more vulnerable than her tough exterior indicates. It is obvious Amanda has secrets of her own and there are increasing hints she is tied to Will’s past in a way he does not understand yet and she is trying to protect him. Since Evelyn and Amanda are close, Amanda has a more prominent role in the investigation into her kidnapping so we see her interacting more with the characters as something more than their boss.
Since Faith’s diabetes is such an issue, Sara finds herself drawn into the investigation to get Faith back on her feet quickly enough for her to seem rational when she is questioned about the shootings. Amanda also makes use of Sara’s expertise as a forensic scientist as the Atlanta PD are unwilling to share information and there is definite sense that Sara is going to be more involved in Will’s cases in the future. The attraction between them is still simmering away but the reappearance of Angie Polaski puts a spanner in the works just as Sara is edging towards taking their relationship further. The animosity between the two women is evident from the start and will be significant here on out.
While reading Fallen, I got the sense it was more about Slaughter laying the foundations for future books, particularly the next one which is going to delve into Evelyn and Amanda’s back story and also reveal more about how Amanda is connected to Will. Will and Sara’s relationship moves forward into the romance department but their love is going to be severely tested by the presence of Angie and her unwillingness to let Will go.