A sleepy American town thrown into chaos, a mother with a dark past and a stellar cast are just some of the aspects that are keeping audiences hooked in new Netflix thriller Pieces of Her.
So much so, in fact, that the eight-parter has earned a spot in the top-streamed shows on the platform.
The thriller revolves around Laura Oliver (Collette) and her daughter Andy (Heathcote), who sets out on a mission to uncover her mother’s dark past after Laura carries out an immense act of bravery during a mass shooting at a diner in a town in Georgia.
The tense series is based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Karin Slaughter.
But how closely does the series follow its source material? Read on for everything you need to know about the Pieces of Her book, including how to buy it.
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Is Pieces of Her based on a book?
Yes – Pieces of Her is based on Karin Slaughter's novel of the same name, which was published back in 2018.
The book, which received positive reviews at the time, differs slightly to the plot of the Netflix series, with the novel beginning with Andy celebrating her 31st birthday (and not her 30th as is shown in the series).
As Andy and her mother Laura are celebrating her birth in a diner, a mentally ill man comes into the restaurant with a gun and kills his former girlfriend and her mother before Laura confronts him. He tries to stab her but he blocks it with her hand before appearing to intentionally kill him.
Talking about how she gave up another job for a chance to be part of telling this story because the script – and the source material – was so gripping, Heathcote recently told Collider: "I came about it just through auditioning for pilot season. I remember being asked to test for something and turning it down, even though it was still early in the audition stage for Pieces of Her.
"I remember saying to my agents, 'I’d rather give up a job that I know is certain, just for a shot at this one,' because it was so good. It was just the best pilot script I’d read that year, by a country mile."
She continued: "I read the book before I read the other scripts because I just wanted to know what happened. In terms of actually getting the chance to explore the work and those reveals, they’re relentless, when she’s on that journey. Every moment, there’s some massive reveal, some massive betrayal, or some massive truth that she unfolds. Ultimately, the truth sets everyone free. There’s catharsis in that."
You can buy Karin Slaughter's Pieces of Her on Amazon.
How does the book differ from the Netflix series?
**Spoilers ahead for both Karin Slaughter's Pieces of Her and the Netflix adaptation**
There are a few subtle differences between the book and the series – for example, the woman who kills Martin Queller is named Laura Juneau in the book, while in the series she is called Grace Juno.
Laura/Jane's backstory in the book is also different in that she is raped, beaten and belittled by her father throughout her childhood, whereas this plot point is left out of the TV series.
As for Andrew's death, in the series, he dies after Nick refuses to take him to the hospital to treat a gunshot wound he suffered whilst running from the police. However, in the book, Andrew is diagnosed with AIDS and dies as Nick won't take him to hospital. Nick gives Jane an ultimatum – to take care of Andrew or stay with Nick, but she chooses Andrew and Nick almost kills her as a result. She then takes Andrew to hospital for treatment and confesses to her crimes, stopping the group from detonating a bomb as a result.
The TV show also deviates massively from the book's ending, which sees Jane's nemesis in the cult Paula Kunde shoot and kidnap Andy before her mother comes to her rescue. In the Netflix series, Paula Kunde plays a much smaller role in the storyline, with the former cult member serving time in jail for her crimes. Andy goes to visit her in prison to find out more about her mother early on in the show, but that is the last we see of her. It ends up being Nick, Andy's father and the former head of the cult, who kidnaps Andy in the drama.