Monday, August 22, 2011

Where's My Bookmark: Fragile by Lisa Unger

Prior to this week, my experiences with Lisa Unger were the page-turning plotting and fast-paced action of Beautiful Lies and Sliver of Truth. Short, cliffhanger chapters most thriller authors are famous for filled those two books. I recall that they were intense and they kept me up all night.

Fragile is a bit different. Still intense, still page-turning, and still keeping me up all night, Unger introduces readers to The Hollows, a small town in upstate New York. The cast of characters includes Maggie - a therapist, her husband Jones - the local lead detective, their son Ricky and his girlfriend Charlene, her mother Melody, Melody's husband Graham, Marshall - a troubled teen and one of Maggie's patients, his own father Travis - an ex-cop and high school bully, and a slew of other folks all connected through location and history.

To an outsider, The Hollows might seem to be an idyllic little town. When Charlene disappears the town bands together to find her. Though she seems to have left of her own volition, no one can forget the disappearance of another local girl decades ago. As everyone searches for the truth about Charlene, all they can hope is that this time it's different.

Unger weaves together a large number of stories here. On their own, they would be just fragments, but as one, they create a whole -- a look at a town in crisis and a peek inside the minds and lives of each character involved.

I return again and again to authors I enjoy, reading each new book year after year and there's something so comforting in returning to the known. But in some cases, the author never changes or evolves and eventually I become reluctant to the return, longing for something different. Unger has lost none of the tension or pacing she is known for here, but has adapted her style to a different kind of storytelling. I find it so impressive when an author is able to show a range of talent. Equally impressive are the depth of the characters and the building of The Hollows. I'm pretty well blown away by Unger's talent at this point! I highly, highly recommend checking her out.

Fragile is now out in paperback and Unger revisits The Hollows in her latest, Darkness, My Old Friend, which was released earlier this month. I've also just learned that Unger's older backlist titles, which were published under her maiden name, Lisa Miscione, are all being reprinted and rereleased.

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