I requested Fractured to review after it was confirmed that Catherine McKenzie was attending the Books by the Banks book festival that I attended last month. You can read about my experience here → Book Event: Books by the Banks Book Festival. I was thrilled (see what I did there?) when my request was approved. This was my first time any of Catherine McKenzie’s work, and I must say I was not disappointed.
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (October 4, 2016)
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.
Julie, our leading lady, is a successful author who has relocated her family to Cincinnati, Ohio to escape a former classmate who has been stalking her. Looking for a fresh start, Julie and her family move into an affluent neighborhood to enjoy the quiet provincial life. Unfortunately, things don’t exactly go according to plan. What Julie isn’t anticipating is the social hierarchy and drama that comes with moving into this particular neighborhood. With an overzealous neighborhood association chair criticizing her every movie, a social circle of neighbors that is hard to infiltrate, and an overfriendly male neighbor, Julie is in over her head. When history seems to be repeating itself and Julie start receiving anonymous threats, Julie starts to wonder if her stalker has followed her to Cincinnati, or is someone in the neighborhood out to get her…
I thoroughly enjoyed how Catherine McKenzie chose to structure this book. In the very first chapter, we learn that something horrible has happened, but what exactly? Not only is story told in dual perspectives, but it also weaves back and forth from past to present. We get little glimpses about what may have happened on “that day” two months ago, while learning the back story leading up to the event. While it did take a little bit for me to adjust to the time jumping, I really think this method heightened the suspense as it created a feeling of constant tension.
Catherine McKenzie has created a cast of such unreliable characters that you will find yourself suspicious of their every move. It is very rare occurrence for me to not like ANY of the characters in a book… Actually I am not sure it has ever happened to me before. Obviously this is done intentionally by the author to add to the mystery. Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? Who exactly is the crazy one? McKenzie does such a wonderful job casting uncertainty in the reader of the characters that you won’t know who you should trust and who you should be weary of.
While I thought McKenzie did a fantastic job of maintaining the suspense throughout the entire novel, the ending felt a little tame to what I was anticipating. This is not to say that the ending was predictable per se, just not the shocking reveal that I felt the book was building to. There were so many details in the story that I thought would end up being significant in the end, but never ended up being relevant to the story… I am not sure if this was intentional to throw the reader off track or what exactly, but it left me feeling slightly confused as to why some of these events/details were included into the book.
Overall this was a solid thriller that kept me interested from start to finish. The constant suspense makes up for the tame ending. I am very curious to pick up the companion novel, The Murder Game by Julie Apple, which is the book the character Julie is famous for in Fractured.
* Big thanks to Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley for a copy of this review in exchange for an honest review
About the Author:
A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practises law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN, HIDDEN and SMOKE, are all international bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages, including French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Slovakian and Czech. HIDDEN was also a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller for five weeks. SMOKE was named one of the Top 100 Books in 2015 by Amazon and one of the Best Books of October by Goodreads, and was an Amazon bestseller.
ARRANGED has been optioned for film, and SPIN has been optioned for a television series. A short film of ARRANGED was made in 2014 and won a Canadian National Screen Institute Award. Catherine was on set while they filmed it. It was one of the cooler experiences of her life.
Catherine’s sixth novel, FRACTURED, will be published by Lake Union on October 4, 2016.
An avid skier and runner, Catherine climbed the Grand Teton in 2014.