Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course. After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.
Fractured is a well-written and compelling contemporary story located in a close-knit community where everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Julie, her husband their two sons have moved there and think they’re finally safe, after an ugly harassment episode that left Julie worried about her life. But now, it seems that the threats are back and she can’t do anything about it….
I just love this mix of genres: contemporary, psychological thriller, women’s fiction… I think this all started when I discovered Desperate Housewives ten years ago. Seemingly kind neighbors, people keeping deadly secrets… I just can’t help but love this type of stories and they never fail to grab me from the very first page.
Fractured had all the ingredients I love and it also featured a main character who happens to be a novel writer, which is also another thing I love reading about. It was all very meta, with multiple mentions of the book she had written (which is going to be published in real life!). However, even though I really enjoyed reading about her struggles with The Book, in the end, I didn’t find that storyline that relevant to what happened.
Sometimes, when a book revolves around a particular incident that it’s being mentioned in practically every chapter, the expectations are simply too high. And I know that’s probably my fault, but I can’t help being disappointed when the event ends up not being what I expected at all. Blame all the other books that have set the bar so high!
This book reminded me of Liane Moriarty’s novels, both in terms of setting and plot. It was also similar to The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish and the close-knitted community reminded me of The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick-DeBoard. However, even though Fractured was a completely engrossing read, the ending was a bit of a letdown. I guess I was expecting something much more explosive or satisfying and I ended up feeling a bit: “Ah, ok”. Still, I loved the last two sentences and thought it was a super clever to finish it like that.
I want to say that even though the ending wasn’t satisfying enough for me, I enjoyed the rest of the book and thought Catherine McKenzie’s writing was super engaging. I have The Murder Game ready to be devoured in a few weeks and I’d love to read more books by her.
Lake Union Publishing, 2016