Tony and Anna Patton seem to be the perfect couple: good-looking, hard-working, happily married and new parents to gorgeous baby Jack. Six weeks after Jack is born, however, something goes terribly wrong. Anna and Jack disappear from the family home, where everything still looks normal—food in the fridge, baby bottles of milk still warm. As Tony frantically tries to work out where they’ve gone, the reader is swept into the horror of what has actually happened. In a cleverly devised structure that divides between before and after the disappearance, it is slowly revealed that Anna is sinking into a depression that will lead her to unspeakable actions. As Tony tries to piece together the tragedy, he starts to question everything about his wife’s behaviour leading up to that day. Moving at a cracking pace, Fractured is part psychological thriller, part family drama. The two main characters are somewhat emotionally opaque, however, it is the terrific supporting cast of Tony and Anna’s mothers that hold the moral centre of this book. As the two mothers try to understand what has happened to their grown-up children, they begin to say what no one else is willing to. This novel will be a great book club read as it ends with more questions than answers.
Sarina Gale is a freelance writer and bookseller at the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville. This review first appeared in the Summer 2012/13 issue of Books+Publishing magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.