Friday, October 14, 2011

Fragile by Lisa Unger (review #138)

Title: Fragile

Author: Lisa Unger
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Crown
Format: Library Loan

I discovered Lisa Unger many years ago during my bookselling days. I received an ARC of Beautiful Lies, one of her first books. I could not put it down! I found her to be a fresh, exciting, sharp, thrilling new voice in the thriller genre. It had the perfect blend of psychological thriller and mystery that I like.

One of her latest novels, Fragile, was shelved in the Fiction section at my last bookstore instead of Mystery, like her others. Perhaps this was a marketing tactic to change up her audience or perhaps the publisher felt it was more of a novel than a thriller. I found it be similar to her others. It had the psychological thriller piece matched with the whodunnit of two missing girl cases.

Here is a brief description from Goodreads:

Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case—and also dangerous.

Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene’s disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community years ago when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.

“I know how a moment can spiral out of control,” Jones says to a shocked Maggie as he searches Rick’s room for incriminating evidence. “How the consequences of one careless action can cost you everything.”

As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret—one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community’s intricate yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, How well do I know the people I love? and How far would I go to protect them?

I really enjoyed the small town everyone- knows -everyone drama. It added to the tension of the book. All the characters seemed relatively believable to me, having come from a small town myself. The only flaw was that there was a bit too many story lines going on for me. Unger did a pretty good job weaving them together in the end. I still felt that some of the threads were too detailed and she could have wrapped it up a little bit better with some of the characters.

I was surprised with how it all turned out, which is a plus for me. I don't like figuring it all out before it ends. The ending gives you the sense that there is more story to be told, which is where the Darkness, my old Friend comes in. I wasn't aware there was a follow up until I investigated the author's website. Jones Cooper, the lead detective in Fragile, continues his story in Darkness...
Perhaps I will get to that next year in my challenge. :)

Rating: 5/6
Though I liked Beautiful Lies better than Fragile, I still think Lisa Unger is an author to read. I think she handles the twists of a psychological thriller quite well. Her characters get in your head and you want to figure them out. You want to uncover all of the secrets and get to the nitty gritty of the crime. If you are fans of Lisa Scottoline or Tana French, you may like Lisa Unger's books. I would say she may be a good middle ground between the two.

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Teresa said...

This is the only book by this author although I have her latest on my shelf just waiting. I understand that Fragile was a bit of a departure from her usual style. Did you find that to be true?

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read anything by Unger, but it sounds like I would enjoy her books. Sounds like I should pick up Beautiful Lies instead of this one though.

Jenny said...

I'd been wondering how this one was. I want to read this and I have Beautiful Lies on my TBR too. One day! Comparisons to Tana French are always good!

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I wouldn't have thought this was a thriller by the cover. Thanks for the fab review. I'll be looking out for it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hi Michelle! Was just out exploring today and wanted to say hello to a fellow redhead.

Marce said...

I have read different opinions on this one. Beautiful Lies was my first taste also and that was only last year, I do want to read more by her.