FRAGILE is set in The Hollows, a fictional town in upstate New York. The Hollows is a mysterious place where people grow up and never seem to be able to leave, at least not for good. So most everyone knows everyone, went to high school together, and judges each other on the basis of who they were back then.
Maggie is one of those long-time residents who left for a while but then felt compelled to return. So she married another long-time resident, Jones. He had been the handsome football star when they went to high school together. Now he’s a police detective and Maggie is a psychologist in private practice.
Their son’s girlfriend is missing. Because everyone in town knows everyone, everyone is concerned, even if only because they knew her mother in high school (because, of course, everyone attended the same high school).
For many residents of The Hollows, the investigation into this missing-person’s case brings up the memory of another missing-person’s case back when Maggie and Jones were in high school. Questions about this old case are finally answered during the investigation into the present case.
It’s probably a little too convenient that most people in town grew up together. I suppose that makes it unrealistic. Also unrealistic is Maggie’s practice as a psychologist. Both the good guys and the bad guys are her patients, and that, too, seems a little too convenient.
But FRAGILE’s Prologue is one of the best prologues I’ve read. It seems to me that most authors add a prologue to the beginning of their book in an effort to make it interesting right away. That usually doesn’t work well for me. This time, however, it did. I kept thinking of that prologue while I read the rest of the book. It was the hint of something that is not fully clear until nearly the end.
Accept the conveniences and, maybe, disregard the psychic, and you’ll enjoy this story of a small-town psychologist and her cop and their involvement in two missing-person’s cases.