Friday, October 21, 2016

"Fractured" by Catherine McKenzie

Julie Prentice became a bestselling author when her debut novel THE MURDER GAME became an overnight bestselling novel. Now Julie has more money in the bank than she cares to admit to having, a deal for book two, and her very own stalker. Determined to get a fresh start Julie moves her family across the country to the picturesque Mount Adams district of Cincinnati. She has high hopes that the community will embrace her and her husband and twins, and that she can have some peace while she works on book two.

She couldn't be more wrong. Unintentionally Julie makes enemies in her neighborhood almost immediately and it isn't long before the name "Julie Prentice" is a bad word. The only friend that she has is John Dunbar, her semi-employed neighbor who enjoys running as much as she does. As they run together almost daily their friendship grows until it becomes time for John to choose sides.

As Julie and her family increasingly become the targets of neighborhood harassment she wonders if her stalker has found her. Reluctant to uproot her family and move yet again Julie endures the harassment until it becomes deadly and then suddenly it is impossible to ignore.

I especially enjoyed the format in which FRACTURED was written. We know from the beginning that some kind of crime has occurred and we have an idea who a few of the key players are, however what we don't know is what exactly has happened and why. Mackenzie throws out tantalizing clue after tantalizing clue, and the reader is left speeding towards the conclusion to find out what has happened. Mackenzie does an excellent job of keeping us in suspense and keeping us frantically reading.

While I liked Julie I didn't find myself particularly attached to her character, which worked for me. I was glad to have some distance from her as I discovered what had happened. It allowed me to form a more unbiased opinion about the series of events leading up to the crime.

FRACTURED is an interesting mix of women's fiction (dealing with the aftermath of a stalker, marriage and family struggles) and psychological suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and I enjoyed Mackenzie's first foray in to this genre. As a longtime reader of her books, I have enjoyed watching her writing develop in different ways from book to book. While different from her previous books, this is one of her best.

I can't wait to read the companion book to this one, THE MURDER GAME by Julie Apple (Mackenzie's pen name). It will be interesting to read the book that started many of the issues in FRACTURED. What a clever concept!

My thanks to the author for providing me a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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