BOOK CLUB: Shattered Lives

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Shattered Lives by Australian authors Peter Seymour with Jason K. Foster is a work of non-fiction in the true crime, and social issues subgenres. It is best suited to the mature adult reading audience.

True crime stories have always fascinated us. Because some events are so inconceivable, they beggar belief. Seymour and Foster take readers on a journey through the events leading up to, surrounding, and after the murder of Nick Hanes in 2000.  He was an innocent man on his way home after a night out with his mates. Two hundred and fifty metres from home, his life was brutally taken from him by two men.   

Filled with meaningful commentary and analysis of the crime it made it difficult to put down. It is packed with details about Nick and his life and family, not to mention Seymour and other detectives involved as they hunt down the perpetrators.  No leads, no clues, and no witnesses — it goes into detail on how they finally caught the two men.  

The story is told in a straightforward, respectful manner and the words will make you feel everything. It’s written with every emotion (of which there are many) and will reach deep to your core.  It is a sad tale, incredibly harrowing to read, but sheds so much light on a horrific crime and personal impact.

Whilst reading the story the case will make the reader realise just how hard everyone in various police departments works to get justice for the families who have lost a loved one. Apart from the case itself, the ramifications of the event and the effect it has on one’s mental health such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, aggression, guilt, and a heightened sense of vulnerability is devastating. 

This is more than just the story of a life cut short. It also brings home the fact that a murder investigation is complicated and frustrating and weighs heavily on those trying to solve the case.

Without doubt, Seymour was committed to his work. He has seen it all and suffers from it. This will not be what every person goes through. However, it’s a worthwhile piece of work and gives you valuable insight into what can go on behind the scenes.

I commend Peter Seymour for his service as a police officer, detective, and police prosecutor. The aftermath of crime is sordid, tragic, and ugly. I thank you for such an insightful book.

If you are a true crime fan Shattered Lives will hold your attention from the first page to the last. 

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Shattered Lives. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

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9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Shattered Lives

  1. This book gave me such insight to not only what Detective Peter Seymour himself faced in his years of being in the police force but what other police officers face also. It is becoming more and more reported in the news on TV and in newspapers how our police men and women are left reeling in the aftermath of tragedies such as suicides, hangings, car accidents, murders, drownings etc.
    Detective Peter Seymour came across every type of death imaginable during his years working in the NSW’s Coroners Court, numerous years served in law enforcement all the tragedies would eventually take its toll on him. He becomes overwhelmed with almost paralyzing feelings of fear and doubt so leaves his post in the Coroners Court and returns to the police force only to be thrown into a murder investigation – that of victim Nick Haynes one Friday night in 2000 who was just meters away from home on that fateful night.
    After examining the body of Nick Haynes, Seymour is determined to find the identity of the perpetrators involved but also has to face his own personal demons that have begun to spiral out of control. Seymour finds himself searching for justice for the dead man’s family whilst struggling with his own battle with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which leads to his medical discharge from the police force in 2004.
    The intensity and the difficulty Peter faced with his PTSD often left me in tears, but his resilience and admirable strength and determination encouraged me to continue reading. I would strongly recommend and encourage fans of true crime and those readers who are looking for something different to their usual preferred genre/s to read “Shattered Lives”.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book club and Big Sky Publishing for my copy of “Shattered Lives”

  2. Thank you, so much Big Sky Publishing and Beauty and Lace for introducing me to Peter Seymour and Jason K Foster, wow what a collaboration, a very powerful duo with many outstanding books between them, both collectively and as individual authors. As a rule, I usually lean towards fiction rather than non-fiction but, having said that, I enjoyed this book immensely and could not put it down.

    This was a very open and honest read, with plenty of insight Police procedural methods, delving into the investigative techniques that Police Officers and Detectives use against the ‘alleged’ perpetrators of horrendous crimes. The story follows Pete’s daily routine, when seeking a change, Pete goes back to the operational side of Policing when after several years as the Police Prosecutor in the Coroner’s Court begins to take its toll. I loved how Pete himself admitted to being a dinosaur when it came to entering data into the Police Computer System (C.o.p.s,) and delegated the role to Karen a young Police officer, who happily agreed, with the new younger generation and the older walk-the-beat style copper working well together, combining their strengths to achieve the same goal and catch the killer / killers responsible.

    Peter is a highly respected Officer of the Law, it clearly shows how revered Pete is when he is welcomed back so warmly into the fold by everyone, he comes across including, being let of the hook, when he inadvertently calls a very high-profile State Official and interrupts their breakfast. I liked Pete’s style of constantly touching base with the family of the victim, keeping them updated at all times, not leaving them wondering how and if things were progressing with the investigation, accompanying them to court, and always being there for them if and when they needed to talk.

    The book has a ‘fly-on-wall’ style about it which I love, which would definitely easily translate to a tv mini-series, the frank behind the scenes glimpses into Pete’s family life, his very supportive wife Sue and their two adorable daughters brings a real life feel to the story, none more heart wrenching, than, when Pete himself had to make a mad dash to the Hospital at break-neck speed, hoping like hell he wouldn’t pass any of the constabulary along the way.

    I cannot recommend this book highly enough, if you love the true crime genre this book needs to go directly to the top of your T.B.R. pile.

  3. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read Shattered Lives by Peter Seymour and Jason K. Foster.
    I enjoyed this book more than I expected. It was interesting to see what these detectives and police go through when they’re investigating sad and violent crimes. It must affect them all their lives.
    I hope to read more books from these writers.

  4. Thank you, Beauty & Lace, for allowing me to read and review ‘Shattered Lives by Peter Seymour with Jason K. Foster’.
    Detective Peter Seymour is what you would call a good cop as well as a good man. Through his work he is exposed to some of the worst aspects of dealing with humanity as a result of his job as a detective, some which will leave lasting scars both physical and mentally. Although Peter acknowledges the importance of his work and his strong drive to do the best for the families that are affected by other people’s actions, it seems that time has caught up with him and the long-term exposure to horrific sites, smells and situations has taken its toll.
    I am very happy to recommend the reading of this book, sharing the story of a dedicated cop’s life, both at home and at the office. I am so glad he was able to walk away from the force with his head held high, someone to be proud of. Thank you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ for the opportunity to read ‘Shattered Lives by Peter Seymour with Jason K. Foster’.

  5. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Big Sky Publishing for my copy to read and review.

    I deeply appreciate what law enforcement, first responders, paramedics and all the people involved in any sort of highly stressful situation deal with on a daily basis and the toll it takes on their lives as well as their families and people close to them.

    This book gives a greater insight into this life as Peter Seymour takes us through his time in the force in his different roles. What he has done in this book is very brave as he puts himself out there for the world to see and understand just what he went through. I admire him for this. I think he did an outstanding job both on the job and in sharing his story. Peter admitted he knew he needed help and sought it. As described in the book many people don’t cope with this pressure and exposure to the dark side of people and life and commit suicide.

    The book was well written. I particularly liked the part in his wife’s words describing just what is like to be a policeman’s wife. I also liked the details of just how the judicial system works. It was very educational.

    Jason K Foster is also an author to look out for.

  6. Shattered Lives by Peter Seymour with Jason K Foster is a powerful read of how lives can be shattered in so many different ways. I thought it would be a very hard profession to be a police officer/detective but this book really opened my eyes to what can and does happen to ordinary people doing their jobs.

    Peter Seymour has dealt with so many deaths in his time with the NSW Coroner’s Court and years involved with law enforcement that it all starts to take its toll on his own life, especially with his own battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and this not only affects him but his wife Sue who is very supportive of Peter and their children.

    Nick Hanes is heading home after a night out with mates and is attacked not far from his home, is bashed and then murdered. Peter Seymour is called to the crime scene, examines the body and then works out there are no witnesses, no leads, and few clues. Peter is constantly in contact with the victims family giving them updates along the way. When Peter embarks on trying to solve this terrible murder we also go along on the journey of the investigation and all the different angles that are required to try and solve the mystery of who is responsible for this attack. How do they find the truth?

    Not a genre I would usually choose to read but am so happy that I have and would recommend to anyone who enjoys true crime books.

  7. “Shattered lives” is a compelling real life insight into the life & career of Detective Peter Seymour.

    With a family member in the police service, I understand how difficult it can be to separate home from work.

    The thing that stood out the most for me in this book is Peter’s compassion & empathy for the families of the victims and his utter dedication & determination to see a case through .

    Policing is an incredibly difficult and demanding profession that only a certain type of person can handle .

    I thoroughly enjoyed “Shattered Lives” and recommend it to fellow lovers of true crime.

  8. Many thanks to Peter Seymour, Jason K. Foster, Big Sky Publishing, and Beauty and Lace for an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and how it does shatter the lives of those involved with or a victim of crime,
    I cannot begin to imagine how people stay strong enough through devastation and witnessing so much the average human should not be exposed to in their lifetime but someone has to do the unfortunate horrific side of justice and policing.
    Very well written and reminds us that we are all human and PTSD is a serious mental health condition that those that are most vulnerable to it, don`t ask to get as it can creep up on us when we least expect it.

  9. Shattered Lives is based on actual events with some names changed to protect the innocent and shield the guilty. It is written by former Detective Peter Seymour with Jason K. Foster and is told from Peter’s perspective.

    Peter has been working at the Coroners Office but accepts an offer to return to detective work once more as he needed a change. Peter finds himself heading up a murder investigation. Shattered Lives leads the reader through the investigation into this murder from the initial call out to the scene to the final court hearing. This is griping reading in itself, however it is the personal element to the story that shows how Peter himself was struggling with all the horrors he had seen throughout his career that packed a real punch. This is a very real reminder that our Police are human beings that see the very worst of society, including things they can never unsee, and the struggles they face to continue.

    I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading true crime. However, I will put a trigger warning on it for anyone who has worked as a police officer or in related fields where you see the absolute worst of society but still need to continue function for your families, as reading this has brought back memories of cases I have dealt with during my career and the names and faces I will never forget – even 25 years later. Don’t let this put you off though as this really is a very good read.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Big Sky Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this great book. Thanks also to Peter Seymour for your years of service and for sharing your story with us.

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