Catherine McKenzie is one of my favourite writers and I always look forward to her latest novel. Fractured was released last fall and even though I read it right away I just haven’t sat down to share my thoughts on it! Bad blogger.
Here’s the synopsis:
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.I’ve been finding a lot of authors who started out writing and publishing lighter books have begun gravitating to the darker, more twisted stories. I think we can thank Gone Girl for the emergence of “grip lit” and I appreciate how its given authors, women in particular, the ability to put more serious and dramatic novels out in the world. I think people are finally coming to terms that female characters can be unlikeable (and women can write them). My point? Fractured is much more twisted than McKenzie’s earlier books. And it’s awesome.
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.
The story is told by both Julie and John and each chapter takes place either in the past or present day. McKenzie makes it really easy to follow, which I, as a reader, really appreciated. Each chapter, whether it's told by Julie or John, is in first person and I found it really gets you into the mindset of each character. (Quick aside...I found that Julie is the main character but the story would not have been as impactful had it not been for John's parts of the story.) There are also emails from the Pine Street Neighborhood Association president sprinkled throughout as well that help set the tone of how the rest of the neighbourhood is feeling about Julie and her family.
Julie isn't as unreliable as some other narrators in this genre but you can't help but wonder if you can trust her or if she's hiding something that will impact the rest of the neighbourhood and, ultimately, the overall story. You also have to wonder if you can trust John. You're pretty certain you can but every once and awhile something happens that makes you go, "hmmm." All of this helps create the suspense and you can't wait to find out exactly it was that happened "that day" which John alludes to at the start of the novel.
And here’s a fun fact – McKenzie has written and published Julie’s novel. You can actually buy The Murder Game by “Julie Apple.” How cool is that? I only just purchased it myself recently but I’m looking forward to reading it!
You're definitely going to want to pick up a copy of Fractured if you're into thrillers and really good storytelling. Catherine McKenzie is still firmly in my list of favourite authors. I already can't wait for her next book!