Sunday, 28 October 2018



In Broken Down, the death of a swing bridge operator is clearly no accident and a troubled 15-year-old boy and the aging bridge are both under suspicion for murder.

Detective Arvo Thorson is having a breakdown of his own: a drinking binge makes him all too vulnerable to his ex-wife's treacherous charms, and may put the cork in his romance with social worker Christine Ivory. Meanwhile Christine is burnt out from too many years working with Mendota County's youngest crime victims and she's ready for a change, even if that means leaving Mendota County, and Arvo, for good.

The book includes a discussion guide for book groups.

Broken Down is the second in Susan Koefod's three book series featuring Detective Arvo Thorson. I enjoyed the first, Washed Up a few years ago and bought this one on the strength of that.

A similar reaction second time around - enjoyable without setting my reading world on fire.

A small town mystery with the non-accidental death of a swing bridge operator and the only witness a troubled adolescent with a difficult home life and a surly teenage attitude. Arvo Thorson, our investigator is competent during the day, but has issues in his personal life - when do we ever encounter a detective who doesn't? Arvo drinks too much, hates himself for still being under the spell of faithless ex-wife Helen and has an on/off, on/off disruptive relationship with a social worker, Christine who inevitably comes into contact with him during the course of his investigations.

Decent plot, reasonable pace, a lot of the personal blending with the professional here, which I didn't actually mind. Enjoyable setting and well written. The resolution worked for me and it wasn't too long, at a shade under 230 pages. Not my normal reading, but I was keen to find how it all played out and I wasn't constantly flicking to the back, trying to count down the number of pages I had left. Pretty engrossing and attention holding throughout - which is a neat trick to pull off when combining matters of the heart with a murder mystery.

4 from 5

I'd be interested in reading the last in the series, Burnt Out in a year or two's time if I ever cross paths with it.

Read in October, 2018
Published - 2012
Page count - 224
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback


  1. I do like small-town settings, Col. And the premise is interesting, too, with the one teenaged witness. Interesting, too, that you mention the blend of personal and professional. Sometimes that works brilliantly in a book. Sometimes not. I'm glad you thought it worked here.

    1. Margot, I do think this author and series might be one where our tastes collide. If ever you try one of her books, I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on it.

  2. Col, I'm tempted to try the first in this series, not least because of Arvo Thorson's character.

  3. Another woman author! October's stats looking up. This one does sound good.

    1. Moira, I'm tempting fate but November is looking good for women author's on the blog!

  4. I echo Moira's comment. We'll have you reading more female authors yet!

    1. 100% women this month and an increased percentage hopefully going forwards after that.