The Hero’s Journey in J.D. Barker’s “She has a broken thing where her heart should be”

When eight-year-old orphan Jack meets a girl, Stella, while visiting his parents’ grave, he is immediately smitten with her. But their meeting is suddenly ended by a mysterious woman, who forces Stella into a white SUV. For weeks, Jack keeps going to the cemetery, hoping to catch a glimpse of Stella. Always in vain. Until exactly one year later he visits his parents’ grave again and the white SUV shows up again. Detective Faustino Brier is haunted by a series of unsolved murders. For several years now, a corpse has been found on August 8: the body completely burned, but the clothes intact. And no trace of the culprit. Brier’s only lead is Jack Thatch – the poor orphan boy who lost his parents four years ago in a collision with a white SUV. His fingerprints were on the ID card of the most recent victim. But that boy is still a child and can’t possibly have anything to do with this murder case. However?

The Story consists of six parts in which the leading role is played by Jack Thatch. Every year on August 8, he and his aunt visit the graves of his parents who died in a car accident. When Jack is eight years old, during this visit he meets Stella, a mysterious girl his age. In the years that follow, Jack and Stella meet more often, but always on the same bench and on the same date. And always she is brought in the same white car and accompanied by the same woman dressed in white. At the same time, every year on exactly the same date, August 8, a body is found. Totally burned, but then again not. It seems that every year Stella’s arrival brings with it a corpse. This raises countless questions for Jack, and certainly for the reader. The story starts when Jack is eight years old and meets Stella for the first time. Despite being able to see her exactly once a year, he feels an enormous connection to her. As he grows older he tries to unravel her riddle, but this is much more complicated than he could have imagined and also extremely dangerous. Augustus feels like an epic, a novel as grandmaster Stephen King writes it. With a lot of attention for the characters in a span of a lifetime. The main theme seems to be how ordinary people begin to behave when placed in extraordinary circumstances. Only Jack, like many of King’s characters, isn’t quite that ordinary. Soon a supernatural edge comes into play. This in itself is not annoying to read, it fits well with the story. Whether it is equally clear or credible everywhere is for each reader to decide for himself. The fact is that Barker’s smooth and attentive writing style makes up for a lot. His characters are so deeply developed that a strong bond is inevitably formed with some of them. The tension is also good, especially the curiosity that is aroused in the reader runs like a thread through the book.

The story knows how to captivate, all 672 pages long. The final denouement is exciting, bloody, and gripping. Barker also added a little twist on the very last page. Author J.D. Barker proves with this story that he is capable of continuing to renew himself and that he has great writing talent