By: Catherine McKenzie
ISBN: 1503937828 (ISBN13: 9781503937826)
Author’s Website: http://www.catherinemckenzie.com
Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
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.
I am happy to report that my first venture into the works of Canadian author Catherine McKenzie has been one that leaves me wanting more of her writing. I can only ask myself, why have I waited so long to read one of her books? I am definitely going to read her other titles!
Fractured is told in a fragmented manner, jumping around, from just before the “event”, to after and then back to an earlier time (six months before, then five months, etc. – you get the idea). As well, it is told from the alternating perspectives of Julie and John (Julie’s her neighbor from across the street). I am generally not a fan of storytelling in this manner but for this particular read, it worked well. Once I acclimatized myself to this course of storytelling, it helped build my anticipation.
The tale begins with author Julie Prentice and her family (Daniel and the twins) moving away from the Pacific northwest to get away from Heather (Julie’s stalker) and the craziness there. They were in search of a new beginning in Cincinnati. While settling in to their new home, they slowly meet the neighbors. The story centres around a tragic event (though one does not learn what it is until very near the end) and all that leads up to it.
I must take issue with the apparent obliviousness to the inappropriate (more than) friendship that was beginning to develop between Julie and her neighbor, John on both their parts. Luckily, things were halted before it went too far, but the damage was there.
I certainly got a good chuckle out of the scene at the block party where Daniel brought a bottle of Malbec (a Bordeaux wine) and then Cindy (hostess of the block party) said “You know this is a nondrinking event, right?” Cindy then leaves for the kitchen and Daniel discusses further this turn of events with his wife:
“I thought the whole purpose of a block party was that you could walk home safely after drinking one too many?”
“Was this whole nondrinking aspect in the packet thingy?”
“We are never coming to one of these again.”
“Come on, babe.”
“Okay, then next time, I’m bringing a flask.”
“That’s the spirit.”
Beware, Cindy is an over zealous community member, who runs the neighbourhood. She publishes a newsletter, which frequently reminds the community of their obligations to keep the community safe in addition to reminding the neighbors of their transgressions, etc. A regular Peyton Place, if I do say so myself.
I really found the following passage from Julie very poignant when describing life with children:
“They were an addition to my life, the best addition, and this life wasn’t better or worse than I ‘d imagined, it was just different. It was bigger and smaller and brighter and darker, and I certainly got way less sleep.”
The characters are well depicted with lots of substance to them. At times, I felt as if I lived in the neighbourhood. This is a gripping suspense novel with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep this reader intrigued. I highly recommend this book…and now I am off to go get another one of Catherine McKenzie’s other titles.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*