Fragile's prologue opens with a cop throwing a bundle into the bottom of an abandoned well, shoveling in dirt to cover it completely.... The story then shifts to a month earlier.
Jones is the lead detective on the police force in the small town of The Hollows, just outside of New York City. He has lived there his entire life. His wife Maggie also grew up in The Hollows, but went away to school. She chose to return and works as a psychologist. Their son Ricky is unsettled, unsure if he wants to go to college or pursue a music career. When Ricky's girlfriend Charlene vanishes, history seems to be repeating itself. Her disappearance mirrors that of an unsolved case from the past - one Jones, Maggie and many others remember well.
Fragile is a departure from Unger's earlier works. Instead of just focusing strictly on the mystery, she has combined a suspenseful whodunit that builds slowly with an introspective look at the population of a town that seems bent on keeping secrets. I enjoyed the mystery, but for me it took a back seat to the exploration of the characters.
In flashbacks and memories, we learn how the past has shaped every character and affected their present day relationships. Jones is torn between suspecting his son and protecting him. In such a small town and as a psychologist, Maggie is privy to many secrets, some that could hurt, some that could help. The relationships between the two of them as a couple and as parents were the most compelling to explore. But each new character introduced somehow has a connection. The plot is carefully and skillfully unraveled . The small town feeling is accurately captured, with everyone knowing everyone's business. This is at the heart of Fragile...
"He could sense the mingling of the past and the present, how one couldn't exist without the other. He wanted to find his way there, to a place where could understand it all, make sense of those connections that were too fragile to be easily defined."Fragile captures the delicacy of the ties that bind us - to lovers, family, friends and community and how those connections can be our saving grace or our downfall.
Unger loosely based Fragile on an actual incident in her life - a fifteen year old acquaintance who went missing from the small town they both lived in.
Read an excerpt of Fragile.
An excellent read and one that you have a chance to win! One copy of Fragile to giveaway - open to US and Canada. Simply comment to be entered. Ends Sunday Sept 5th at 6 pm EST. Thanks BookSparksPR for the review copy.