Book review: Fractured

Fractured - Catherine McKenzieI greatly enjoyed Fractured, a novel by Catherine McKenzie.

I understand the author prefers to give one-word titles to her novels, but perhaps, if she would consider sub-titles, Ode to city living might be appropriate.

Although the book was a psychological thriller, it was the fear of ever finding myself within such a meddling, invasive suburb with its creepy self-appointed leader and Big Brother Welcome Wagon that kept me on the edge of my seat … and happy to dwell amidst the anonymity of the big city.

At the start of this book, novelist Julie Prentice, her husband and young children have moved across the country to settle in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio and to start a new life after a series of disturbing events. The story unfolds between past and present, through the voices of Julie and her new neighbor, John Dunbar, a recently out-of-work IT expert, with whom she shares morning jogs and a sense of attraction that gets neighborhood tongues wagging.

As readers, we know something serious has happened, and the slow reveal through the perspectives of the two narrators and the alternating time lines is handled well, and keeps this book moving along at a quick pace.

Perhaps too quick a pace. Because there is the thriller element, part of me wanted to see what happened. But the story itself is so well-written and the characters complex enough to merit a slower reading. Interestingly, although the characters are often not ‘likeable’, the dynamics of the relationships drive the story and – in my mind, at least – make the need for connections with those characters irrelevant.

The first novel I read by Catherine McKenzie was an extremely enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading more of her novels.

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