Tag Archives: stalker

Review: Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

2 Stars

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to start over after being terrorized by a stalker after the publication of her best-selling novel, The Murder Game. Julie doesn’t know anyone in town and on her morning run, meets her neighbor from across the street, John Dunbar. They have an instant connection and Julie begins to hope that this is a new beginning for her and her family. She never thought that a simple conversation with a neighbor could set her life spinning so far off course and out of control.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of harassment that seems to be increasing in their intensity. She believes that her former stalker, Heather, has found her and is after her again. Or could this be someone new? Is someone in her neighborhood out to get her too? The tension increases and new friends turn into enemies and Julie seems to have nowhere to turn when things become dangerously out of control.

The plot was very interesting, but the writing style and the constantly switching point of view was very distracting. Not only did the point of view change constantly between Julie and John (and other lesser known characters) the time changed too. One minute you are in the present day with John, the next you are with Julie, six months previous. This really made the story hard to follow, at least for me. I found myself having to go back and re-read passages just to get the story to make sense again.

Unfortunately I hated the characters. I couldn’t identify with a single one of them. The main character was a mess. She was weak, annoying and consistently made just really stupid decisions. Her husband was just as much of a dishrag as she was. John Dunbar wasn’t much better, he was just as wishy-washy as Julie. His wife had more of a spine than he did and wasn’t afraid to use it, even if she did come off as a spiteful and vindictive brat. And the neighborhood scion, Cindy, was about as unbalanced as they come. If I had a neighborhood association like this, I would have been packing my bags and running for the hills. Why did everyone feel the need to cower before this woman?

Without giving anything away or spoiling the ending, it was unsatisfying at best. There were characters in play that really had no business being there and I can’t even come up with a rational explanation as to why they were there in the first place. It was a rushed ending that still left you with more questions than answers, and I can’t stand that, especially in a book that is listed as mystery/suspense. Read at your own risk.

 

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Review: Exhume by Danielle Girard

3 Stars

Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman has started to get comfortable.  She has found a new home and a place where she feel she finally belongs.  She is the Medical Examiner for the San Francisco Police Department and she enjoys her work, her calling, helping the dead find their voice.  Her job is a safe haven from her past, a former life she left seven years ago.  A life that included an abusive husband.  A life that still has her looking over her shoulder to make sure there’s no one there.

Schwartzman’s latest case threatens to shatter her feelings of safety.  A woman is found murdered in her home.  As she begins her initial examination, she’s struck by the striking resemblance this woman has to Schwartzman.  The colors and the layout of the apartment remind her of a life that was left behind, a life she fled.  The necklace the young woman is wearing is an exact match to the one that Schwartzman wears around her own neck.  Is this just a coincidence or is someone sending Annabelle Schwartzman a message?

I did enjoy this novel.  It was fast paced and very well written.  I know that some people took issue with how Annabelle Schwartzman was portrayed.  I thought she was a little flat, but I can definitely understand why she could appear so strong and then so fragile.  She had an abusive husband who nearly killed her, what woman wouldn’t be afraid?  She is a damaged woman who still has some steel in her spine.  Now that she has a new life and people who care about her, she doesn’t want to let them go and she’s willing to face the past and the man she ran away from years ago.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the beginning and the middle of the book, which make for a very satisfying read and it really does keep you turning the pages.  But the story definitely loses steam at the end.  What looked like a very carefully woven plan completely unravels and becomes nearly incoherent and unbelievable.  I don’t mind a nice, tidy ending.  But I think that the climax and end need to at least make sense.  I don’t think we’ve seen the end of Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman and I’m looking forward to see if the next installment will improve.

 

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