Best-selling author Julie Apple (Prentice), who wrote The Murder Game, moves with her family from Tacoma to Cincinnati after a stalker seemingly upends her life.
Her husband, Daniel, and their twins, Sam and Melissa, soon seem to settle into their new lives, and Julie works each day on a second book.
Fractured opens with a scene entitled “Today, 6 a.m.”, and we watch as John Dunbar, Julie’s neighbor, ponders events that have transpired. He is clearly in the middle of something troubling, something tragic that has happened in the recent past. Something involving legal action.
From then on, the non-linear story is told, alternating between Julie and John, and moving forward from “a year ago.” Bits and pieces of events are brought out over this time period, and we soon realize who, among the characters living on Pine Street, could be suspects in the tragedy that occurred; a tragedy that we only find out about eventually.
Right away, I really hated one of the characters. Cindy Sutton, a control freak who seems to set the rules for the neighbors, and eventually starts a website that encourages them to spy on one another, seems hell-bent on judging everyone. She cloaks her actions in terms of “safety,” but the “check-ins” on the site pinpoint what everyone else is doing and where. This site seems to feed into the harassment that begins against Julie…again.
Hanna, John’s wife, was another character I couldn’t warm up to…she seemed all too willing to believe neighbors like Cindy, who distrust Julie. John’s friendship with Julie is another issue between them.
Then there is Chris, John and Hanna’s teenage son, who is sneaking around with Ashley, Cindy’s daughter. Ashley was another teen I didn’t like, probably because she also seems untrustworthy.
With neighbors like these, how can Julie settle in and become part of the seemingly cozy surroundings? How did the behavior of Cindy, Hanna, Chris, and Ashley…among others, contribute to the tragic events that unfolded?
A suspenseful tale that kept me glued to the pages until the very end, the story also generated all the emotions you might experience if these events were happening to people you know. When the final reveal was brought forth, I knew that none of the characters would be the same again. And neither would the readers of this book. 5 stars.