Book Title: Fractured
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Series: None (Companion novel The Murder Game by Julie Apple)
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Fiction
Date Read: 12/12/16
Pub Date: 10/04/16
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.
Well done Catherine; I’m convinced this is your best book yet! I had a fantastic time reading this story; the book is written in such an easy, readable manner, yet the story is a complex web of suspense, emotion, and deceit. The amount of effort behind such a flawless execution must have been immensely time consuming and brain melting; however, anyone who follows McKenzie knows how insanely brilliant and talented she is, resulting in pulling off a book that few could accomplish. Fractured is one of those books that doesn’t easily fit in one genre; yes it is a mysterious and suspenseful tale to boot, but it is equal parts domestic fiction brimming with emotion and appeal to all genders.
The mystery aspect had me completely fooled. I thought I knew where it was going and that I had it figured out but I was wrong. There’s no greater pleasure for me in reading a mystery than when I’ve been duped and this gave me those feelings galore. At last count I’ve read 214 books in 2016, and I’d say about 70% of those would fall in the mystery/thriller/suspense category. This is in the maybe 10% that I didn’t have figured out before the big reveal. I think this alone proves that McKenzie is a seasoned writer who knows how to fool her readers, even those who are proficient in the genre and become wary of books claiming to give the reader a good twist but utterly disappoint in the end.
I also really enjoyed the layers and depth the author gave to her characters. The sole focus of the book isn’t on any one aspect, so for me I found reading about the personal, dramatic relationships between characters just as enjoyable as the suspenseful scenes revolving around the mystery. My only complaint (and one only based on personal tastes, not quality of writing) was that I felt a few sections could have been shaved down a bit. If the page count had been lowered by 30-40 pages, I think this would have been a full 5 star read for me. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to mystery and fiction lovers alike. This is a rare instance where you find a compelling mystery and fleshed out characters in one book! I find it rare that a writer doesn’t sacrifice one or the other in their tales, but Catherine has managed to include both, making this one of my favorite winter reads. Get your hands on this one; you don’t want to miss out! As if she wasn’t enough of a winner, the author has also published a companion novel as mentioned in the details above from the perspective of her main character Julie; this book is “the book” discussed in Fractured and I can’t wait to pick it up as well to complete my reading experience!
*I’d like to thank the author and publisher for my copy; it was a pleasure to provide an honest review in return.