Thursday, February 05, 2009

Fragile by Shiloh Walker

Last month I had a great reading month but I honestly had a terrible blogging month. I have been remiss on my reviews for the last few months and I will admit that November and December were due to work and the holidays but January gives me no excuses. So, I'm determined to put in at least 5 posts per month from this point forward. So let's start with a new release from one of my favorite authors.

Fragile arrived at a bookstore near you on the 3rd of February. I was fortunate to receive an ARC which let me read it in January. and before I go on... Don't you just love that cover!

Fragile tells the story of Devon Manning, a social worker who is struggling to keep her head above water. She carries a dark past which makes her push away those that wish to develop any type of relationship with her. Devon was orphaned at a young age and put in the care of her Aunt who was not much of a care giver. She was abused by her Aunt's boyfriend and eventually kicked out of the house. By the age of 13 she was an addict headed on the road to nowhere. She was 'saved' so to say by a social worker that cared enough to look past the façade that she had put up. This inspires Devon to follow in that work, to be that one person that stands between a battered child and a system with too many cracks. She spends a lot of her time in the hospital rescuing those children. And it is there that she meets Luke.

Luke is looking for something. He has not been able to put his finger on what is missing in his life but he knows that he needs to find it soon. His life was never one of distress but he surrounds himself by those that need rescuing, especially his twin brother, Quinn, who had the unfortunate luck to have been raised by their alcoholic mother. She stole him from the hospital after birth, leaving a weaker Luke in the care of his father. Luke has stayed close to Quinn since he came back into their lives at the age of 11, but after Luke gets injured in the armed forces they head their separate ways. Luke finds military life empty and seeks meaning to his life, so he studies medicine and becomes a doctor.

Luke falls hard for Devon and she allows him to creep into her life. They develop a fragile relationship where Luke gets to play the role of hero and Devon gets face some of the fears she has been holding onto for most of her adult life.

If you think that this is where the story lies you would be wrong. The meat of the story lies in the suspenseful thriller that takes front and center by the middle of the book. Devon's work leaves her open to many people that might carry a grudge. Not every one appreciates some one meddling in how you raise your child, especially those with the propensity for abuse. This is why no one really pays much attention when she develops the attention of a stalker. No one that is, except Luke, who has the feeling this is more than just a disgruntled parent looking for payback.

The suspense is strong and when you think you know who's done it… you need to guess again.

Walker brings her talent for angst to the pages of this book but I think there was too much misdirection to keep me from being blown away as I was with The Missing. The most flawed / damaged of all the characters was the one that attracted me the most. Luke was very much the man who wanted to solve everyone’s problem, his super hero attitude pulled me away from really caring for him. It could be that I felt he wanted to take over Devon’s life in the guise of protection.

Devon had much baggage but she was holding her own. Her background gives her the characteristics of a strong female and the beginning of the story gives us a glimpse of that person – when she opens up to Luke and lets him in, but as the story moves forward she becomes just an image of the woman she was. There is an explanation for her 180 at the end of the story but we don’t get the chance to justify her behavior and get our feelings in check before then. It made me lose my admiration for her character and the explanation at the end was not enough to pull me back to my original opinion of her.

I also thought that the villain really came out of no where. I know that it would have killed the suspense but I felt we were being pushed into one direction and then forced into another at the last minute. If you are driving a car and try a maneuver like that, you just might fall off of a cliff.

Regardless of these 'weaknesses' the book kept me glued to its pages, it made me really think about these characters and what I expected from each one. It made me question my judgment on each and every one. I was never sure if I really knew the character or if I was being led on a merry chase.

Walker recently announced (see her post here) that she would be writing romantic suspense for Ballantine Publishing. I think this is definitely right up her alley. She can definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, turning the pages to uncover the true villain of the tale.

If you haven’t already picked up Fragile, don’t miss out, it will have your heart pumping until the very end.

Grade: B-

Format: eBook


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review! :)

samantha.1020 said...

This sounds really good. I love a good suspense/thriller so of course I'm going to have to check this one out. Thanks!

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