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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 becomes 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 wanted to read Fractured by Catherine McKenzie from the first time that I heard about it. The synopsis and the idea of an author’s stalking intrigued me. In case you didn’t know, there are so many such cases. I did a post sometime back about when readers turn to stalkers based on real life cases of authors being terrorized by readers. You can read it here. Anyway, that is what made me pick this book and I am definitely glad that I did.
The story starts off with Julie moving into a new neighborhood with the hopes of starting a new life away from her stalker. Immediately, certain things start happening that indicate that something is off at the new street. There are neighbors who are so creepy that reading about them reminded me of Wisteria Lane from the TV Show, Desperate Housewives. If you have watched the show then you know about the odd neighbors, the nosy ones and the ones most likely to have a body buried in the backyard. This created an atmosphere of dread and the creepiness added to the feeling that danger is lurking somewhere in the seemingly nice neighborhood.
The narrators of this story are Julie and John. Julie gives a wonderful perspective of being new in the neighborhood and we get to see things from an outsider’s perspective. On the other hand, John has been in the neighborhood for long and so we get to read about his interactions with Julie as we also get some background of the neighborhood from an insider. In addition, the narration shifts between the present and the past creating a background story to current events and the characters. The author did such a great job with the timelines that they flowed well and I wasn’t confused by the back and forth. The transition between them was easy and hence easy to follow.
I think the characters were very well developed. I found myself rooting for Julie although I sought of wondered if Catherine McKenzie based the character on herself to some extent especially on the areas about writing, running and the University she attended. I liked Julie’s narration and the fact that she was a bit of unreliable narrator. It wasn’t easy to tell whether she was being truthful or just lying especially given the reaction from everyone else. I sympathized with her though most of the times. Another character who I really liked despite her weirdness is Cindy. The busybody always on everyone’s case. I kept wondering what I would do if I ever end up with a neighbor like her but at the same time I found myself looking forward to her antics just knowing that drama was on the way as long as she was involved.
Fractured by Catherine McKenzie is a wonderful psychological thriller. It is not fast-paced but it is really well paced. There is a lot going on so there are no dull moments. The anticipation of the big twist is well built over a couple of chapters. It was hard to guess what exactly had happened and to whom it had happened to. This kept me guessing, trying to quickly get to the tragedy. In addition, this is a multilayered story with mystery both in the past and present timelines. I kept wondering what exactly happened in the past and if the characters were telling the truth about the events. The happenings at the present all make everyone in the neighborhood seem like a suspect and I liked the fact that I couldn’t really guess who the villain was.
I recommend this book to all fans of psychological thrillers. It is an interesting story with a wonderfully, creepy neighborhood at the background. It has themes of family, obsession and revenge that make it a compelling read and hence unputdownable. It will also leave you thinking about the big twist trying to figure out why things happened like they did. Fractured is definitely a suspenseful book which I believe fans of this genre will enjoy.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest opinion.
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