Cover Image: Fractured Lives

Fractured Lives

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Member Reviews

This book is a wild ride from start to finish!!!

There’s a few different storylines happening that are all centered around Mara’s past and present. I couldn’t put the book down because I kept wanting know what was going to happen next. The twist and turns didn’t stop the whole book.

Definitely worth a read!

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A bit of a slow starter, but then I couldn't put it down. Interesting plot with crossing storylines. The female main character is likeable and relatable. Overall a fun read.

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I loved A Sorrow Called Sarah, so of course I had high expectations for this book. It unfortunately did not live up to my expectations.

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In this riveting thriller one unexpected phone call thrusts the protagonist into a web of deceit, murder, and a haunting past. When former investigative journalist Liam Hadley reaches out for help to prove his innocence in his wife's disappearance, the narrator, with a history intertwined with Liam, reluctantly agrees.

The suspense heightens as the protagonist delves into a tangled mystery, with Liam at the center of a police investigation that suggests he may be involved in his wife's presumed murder. Despite personal reservations and past grievances, the narrator feels compelled to assist, driven by a debt from a haunting night in high school.

As the investigation unfolds, the narrative takes unexpected turns, revealing a connection between the missing wife and a series of gruesome murders of young women in Miami Beach. The stakes rise as the protagonist realizes the danger of getting too close to the truth, with a relentless killer determined to silence anyone who threatens exposure.

This book keeps us on the edge of our seats with its gripping plot, well-developed characters, and a relentless pursuit of justice. Charlotte Roddy weaves a tale of suspense and intrigue, exploring themes of redemption, trust, and the enduring impact of past actions. For fans of psychological thrillers with a blend of mystery and suspense, this is a must-read that will keep you guessing until the final page.

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such a gripping and fast paced thriller! I really liked the writing and the plot twists that happened in the story. the way the characters were described helped to understand the story and to be super invested!
The only little thing that I didn't love is that because of the many many plot twists I saw one or two coming, which isn't really a problem for me and didn't make me like it less!
I would recommend it to everyone who loves thrillers!
Charlotte Roddy is one of my new favourite thriller authors and I will buy her future books!!

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This book had me hooked. I was thrown every which way trying to figure out the ultimate question, "who did it?" I was first drawn in by the cover and the tagline "Everyone has secrets." It has twists and turns that draw you in. It was a very quick read and I would love to read more by the author.

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This was such a great concept overall in the genre, I was invested in what was going on and how well the secrets kept me guessing. I enjoyed the way the characters were written and figuring out what happened. Charlotte Roddy has a great overall style for the genre and it left me wanting more.

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Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book ahead of time in exchange for a review. It didn't disappoint! Must read!!

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I’m still not sure why someone you haven’t seen since yo7 were both teenagers and that twenty odd years ago would be your go to person when your wife is missing and you are suspected of killing her. . Especially when that said person is a journalist not a detective. However I went with it and the plot thickened with various murdered girls linked or not linked to the missing wife and I had to continue ignoring some obviously unlikely scenarios.
The book is relatively short and there is a fairly satisfactory ending but it didn’t thrill me very much.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the author for a read of this fabulous book. I haven’t heard of the author before but the cover and the blurb had me intrigued.

Former investigative journalist Mara receives a call asking her to help a friend from her past prove that he didn’t kill his wife. As she probes into the deep and murky depths of secrets hidden within a multimillion dollar company and with a serial killer loose , can Mara solve things before there are anymore deaths?

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4.5 stars, rounded up

Fractured Lives is Charlotte Roddy’s new novel and solidifies her position as a talented writer of psychological suspense!
The setting is South Florida, near Miami, and Mara Brenner is living in her childhood home while trying to resurrect her once successful career as a journalist. Time, tragedy and alcohol—characterized as “a pungent aroma of bad decisions”—have damaged her career, her marriage and her self-esteem. Now, nearly 20 years after high school graduation, a call from old friend Liam plunges her into troubled remembrances of her school days and the death of her best friend, Annabella, on graduation night.
While not strictly written in dual timelines, there are many flashbacks to the events of the earlier high school time period. It is fascinating to compare Mara’s present, fractured self with her 17 year-old persona already damaged in other ways.
There is a lot going on in this book—Mara’s issues, past and present; Liam’s wife’s disappearance; a serial killer who has savagely murdered at least 8 women in the area; and a ruthless tech company that develops and markets GMO seeds to developing nations. These elements all come together in a surprisingly cohesive manner.
Roddy really knows how to get into the heads and hearts of characters damaged by life experiences, whether by choice or not. The characters are well-developed with depth and sometimes a quirky charisma, like Miss Matty. Their range across age groups and cultures further enriches the story. The author’s skillful descriptive prose elevates this mystery and makes it, for me, more engaging and enjoyable to read.
I highly recommend this psychological thriller, with creative plotting and complex characters that make it a compelling read!

Thank you to Charles Fort Press and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest review.

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This book was so good!! So many twists and turns and I had no idea where the plot was heading! I loved that this book was so action packed and fast paced! Easy to binge read! There was a one analogy I didn’t understand, but other than that it was so good

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In March this year I read A Sorrow Called Sarah, the debut novel of this author, and gave it five stars. Although there is nothing really wrong with Fractured Lives, it didn't leave a lasting impression. All the ingredients are there: the thirtysomething woman who returns to her birth village after something terrible happened with her (Mara); the childhood friend who brings back all the memories she's been trying to suppress all those years (Liam); the ex-boyfriend that's still very attractive (Ray) and lastly the kindly neighbour who's been more than a mother for her than her own mother (Miss Matty). And then there is her job as editor of a very, very small town paper, where we find the trusty assistant (Theresa), the parttime journalist (Raquel) and last but not least the young intern who desperately wants to become a journalist too (Drew).
Of course Mara drinks too much and of course she makes wrong decisions while drunk.
Before long, it turns out that the favour Liam is asking of Mara and the murders that have recently been taking place in their little town seem to be connected. There is also a strong connection with what happened the last night Mara, Liam and Ray saw each other, which has to do with the terrible loss they suffered all three that evening.
So, Mara goes to investigate, but Raquel and Drew do too, albeit for different reasons. Even Miss Matty finds some interesting clues.
There are, of course, some surprises at the end of the story.

Fractured Lives is a decent thriller and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't 'wow' me as A Sorrow Called Sarah did. I will keep following Charlotte Roddy's work and looking forward to her next book. She's a solid author so I hope and expect that her next book will again earn her five stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and BooksGoSocial for this review copy.

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I believe you are meant to start a review with the things you liked about the book, but unfortunately, I cannot say I actively enjoyed any aspect of this. I was intrigued by the plot, and it was indeed tolerable for the first 5%, and then other things began to derail. This is an incredibly short book, and yet it dragged on and on. It had the same three suspects, which was fine—I don't expect an entire roster and that would be far less enjoyable—but it was the same exact reasoning for each of them, throughout the entire book. If x suspect performed the same action three times, it would be reentered as new evidence three different times, and each time, Mara would act like it was brand new information. Very circular and tiring even halfway through. Most of the interesting action occurs in the last 25%, which I sped through, and I do enjoy thrillers with that specific theme/topic, so I do think I would have enjoyed this more if the rest of the book was written in that style.

Something I did actually like was who the secondary killer was. Though I don't know if it counts, as it has more to do with the fact that he was my least favorite character—subsequently validating me in my hatred—than anything to do with the plotline or writing itself. In fact, I think quite a few thriller fans would be disappointed, because his being the killer was obvious since the first page to everyone except Mara, and from what I have seen, most thriller readers prefer more twisty endings. The main killer, however, was much more unpredictable—I genuinely do not know how that came to happen, even with the insane amount of bad movie villain infodumping that went on. I think perhaps many other readers would like that it's more climactic(?) but reading back I can't think of one instance where it was even hinted that they would be the perpetrator, so it just felt jarring to me.

More on things I did not like: Mara's male identified nature. Two different males came out as abusers to her, and she defended the first and painted his victim as a conniving bitch, and immediately believed the second when he pretended his victim actually just stabbed herself. Of course, I don't know why I expected more from a book where the premise is a woman defending a man accused of murdering his wife—the female characters always end up patriarchy princesses. The pro-life propaganda placed throughout immediately turned me off. This is one issue I absolutely cannot take nuance on. Yes, just because a character says something doesn't mean either the book or the character endorse it, but I simply do not care to read about pro-lifery. Combined with Mara's other characteristics, this was very much a jumpscare each of the six times it appeared.

1.5 stars.

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This made a very long airport delay, feel like mere minutes! I don't think I lofted my head from my kindle until I'd gotten to the last page it's engaging and well written. I loved the split storyline and how it all came together so perfectly towards the end. The characters are well written and although they're not stand out/ original I actually liked that these were written as quite normal women which made it all the easier to relate to and to really get lost in. It felt a bit predictable but turns out I was completely wrong and the twists and turns actually went in a completely different direction. Really enjoyable and highly recommended

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3.5- Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was well written and kept me consistently engaged and invested in the story. While I appreciated the twists and turns in the plot, in my opinion, there was some predictability. Additionally, I felt like there were some loose ends that kept me wondering. For example, what happened in her last job that caused Mara to feel the need to run. I would have also liked to have seen more development and follow up for a few of the characters.

I read this author’s first novel and I loved it. I thought this novel was very enjoyable. I absolutely look forward to reading more by this author! Thank you to NetGalley, Charles Fort Press, and Charolette Roddy for this ARC digital copy!

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This is the first time I have read anything by Charlotte Roddy, but after thoroughly enjoying this book, I will definitely be picking up her recent debut! This was an intense mystery thriller packed full of twists and with enough suspense to have your heart pounding as you speed through this book.

There are two different story lines to this book (the mystery surrounding Mara's childhood best friend's death and the disappearance of Oriana), that seem to be completely separate but that slowly begin to become intertwined as the events unravel, which just shows how much thought went into writing this plot. Having these two story lines meant that every second of the novel was gripping and there was never a dull moment in the plot. There were hints dropped by the author the whole way through, meaning that your mind is constantly working to try connect all of the puzzle pieces to work out what has happened. I was constantly thinking I had the plot worked out, only for the author to throw another twist in that had me contemplating everything I thought I knew. I was kept on my toes the entire time whilst reading this, and really enjoyed how engrossing this book was.

The characters in this were good too, yet they were nothing special. I think having unique, interesting characters really makes or breaks a mystery/thriller novel, and I can't say that these characters were anything other than normal people with normal problems, not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Mara was a strong, independant and resilient young woman and we see the story through her eyes. She had some good humour at points and the way she was able to use her charming personality, mixed with unrelented badgering, to find out information, sometimes even before the police, made me giggle. The neighbour and the intricacies in her relationship with Mara was a clever addition to the story, and I felt personally attached to Mara's neighbour. The author did a very good job at throwing suspicion on to each of the characters throughout by highlighting their possible flaws and shaping the plot to throw doubt on each person at different points. However, I was still surprised by the ending and found it a satisfying resolution to the drama.

Overall I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable, easy but enthralling mystery/thriller novel. I will definitely be picking up more from this author and would urge you to do the same. Thank you to Netgalley and Charlotte Roddy for the ARC.

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With a cover like that how could I possibly resist?💁🏻‍♀️

Mara was a successful investigative reporter. She’s left that world behind to return to her childhood home and run a much smaller neighborhood paper.

After receiving a phone call from a friend from the past asking for help, Mara is quickly drawn into more than she bargained for. Her friend Liam is the prime suspect for the murder of his wife. But that's not all... there are young teen girls being found murdered all across town.

She grew up with Liam! He couldn't possibly be a murderer?! A serial killer?

Charlotte Roddy did a brilliant job of drawing me into the storyline, keeping me guessing throughout! I seriously thought I had this one figured out! Silly me!

This is the second release by this very talented author. And now I need to go back to read her debut. It’s always exciting to discover new authors.

Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial

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Charlotte Roddy is no ‘one-hit-wonder’ and she proves it in her second thriller FRACTURED LIVES. If you missed her first, order it now!

Mara Brenner returns to her hometown in south Florida after helping solve a murder and then suffering a breakdown and separating from her husband. She returns to her deceased mother’s home and a job at the local paper. There she has a great assistant and two wonderfully crazy reporters in her charge; one with an axe to grind and the other who doesn’t really NEED to work but ‘hears’ things around town and is investigating Juan the Ripper who has thus far killed eight young women.

Then Mara is contacted by an old high school friend asking for her help in clearing his name when his wife, Oriana, goes missing, and she feels like she owes him from a long ago kindness that he showed her on one of the worst nights of her young life. But as she investigates, and then his wife’s body is found, she seriously begins to question his innocence and motives. What is Liam hiding? An affair, money troubles? What?

As she is drawn into each investigation she wonders about her feelings regarding Detective Sinclair and his partner and her grudging dependency upon her mother’s neighbor who really acted like her mother while she was growing up when her own mother couldn’t/wouldn’t.

As in her last thriller, Ms. Roddy sprinkles clues throughout and only later does the ‘AHA’ moment come with a twist. Then, just when you think that you know where she is going, here comes the turn and she’s going another way. To me? That’s the best kind of book! I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. AND I learned so much about GMO products that is seriously making me rethink my original position on the subject. What better way to learn something new than by not even realizing it? I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Her writing style is so smooth and easy, you’re too far into the book before you realize it, then you might just want to clear your calendar and hunker down for the rest. “Beyond the mountains, more mountains.” I’m not sure if that’s an old saying or if she came up with it, but that’s exactly what this book is.

Thank you to Netgalley and BooksGoSocial for this ARC opportunity. All opinions are my own and I am leaving them voluntarily.

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With many thanks to Netgalley for this free arc and I am leaving this unbiased review voluntarily

I loved A Sorrow Called Sarah so was super excited at the chance to read Charlottes second novel. A slow burner that builds with every glorious chapter, giving you all the pieces that slot perfectly into place at the end. The narrative and characterisation are sublime delivering a great story. But it’s the authors ability to deliver an absolute killer ending - as she did in her first book - that truly sets her apart. Loved this book and loving this author. An excellent 4.5 ⭐️ read

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