Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

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“But then there was this: I met Heather Stanhope for the first time, my mind clanged like a bell. It gave me a warning, but I befriended her anyway.”

Aw yes, those internal warnings so many of us ignore- luckily for most of us it won’t lead to being stalked. We join Julie Prentice and her family in their new community, her book The Murder Game is a bestseller and she is living with the after effects of having been relentlessly stalked by a woman from her past. However, this isn’t your normal obsessed fan, oh no! There is a history and one wonders, who is the crazy one? Julie knew she should have kept to herself, but as with any neighborhood, people want in. There are always busybodies, friendships and attractions- certainly if you have children, you can’t fence in your entire life.

On her morning run, she decides to speak to her neighbor John and that changes the course of her hope for a quiet safe life. Married people all have boundaries, spoken and otherwise, it’s a fine line that we can cross so easily. Curiosity can get the best of us, and our sniffing around in someone’s life can cause a ripple effect. The neighbors… Cindy is by far the one we all recognize! I imagine her outfits starched, her make-up overdone as to hide all the cracks in her nature.. or maybe that’s an image that stuck with me to represent all the ‘head mothers’ I have met in my life, with all our moves. The judge, the one with her foot in everyone’s door as if it’s HER neighborhood, HER job to tell everyone else how to parent. The sort of neighbor you dodge, with a group of people behind her rolling their eyes, and somehow she always has her followers, doesn’t she? We can not forget the wrung out husband, and seemingly perfectly behaved children that are just waiting for the day to tell her how they really feel, the day they are free of her. There is one in every town, every school, sport, club… Children will love who they will, slip under the radar of even the most suffocating hovering parents. You can’t keep them in the lines you’ve created anymore than you can fence in your spouse.

You’re not reading a story that is non-stop stalking, aren’t there enough of those out there already? This is more about something simmering just at the surface, of not trusting anyone, not even Julie because maybe with her novel, there is more truth than fiction. Could she be a liar? Paranoid? Who can the reader have trust in? What do we really know to be true in the recesses of our memory? Could we be mistaken in the evidence of our own lives? Can we always know what happened, trust our own eyes and logic?  It’s a unique mix of family, marriage, neighborhood dynamics, young love, escape, and how we can never make the right choice. Everything we do, every step we take pulses through the lives of our loved ones, friends and even strangers. The ending… well, unexpected and believable. I enjoy the quiet chaos.

Fractured will be released by Lake Union Publishing in October 2016

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