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Fragile: A Novel (Jones Cooper Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Lisa Unger
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $7.58
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

New York Times bestseller, Good Morning America Top Book Pick, Walmart Bookclub Pick, and Unger named an "Emerging Author" by Target! 

Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It's a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another's kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows's insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients' lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie's intuitive gift proves useful to the case--and also dangerous. 

Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene's disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community years ago when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely.  Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn.  In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.  

"I know how a moment can spiral out of control," Jones says to a shocked Maggie as he searches Rick's room for incriminating evidence. "How the consequences of one careless action can cost you everything."

As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene's disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret--one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community's intricate yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, How well do I know the people I love? and How far would I go to protect them?


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the Hollows, a secluded town about 100 miles outside New York City, Unger's contemporary thriller offers solid entertainment, but lacks the tension of her 2008 stand-alone, Black Out. Psychologist Maggie Cooper and her husband, Det. Jones Cooper, disagree on how to handle their rebellious son, 17-year-old Rick, who prefers to spend time with his band or holed up with his girlfriend, Charlene Murray. When Charlene disappears one night after a fight with her mother, Maggie and Jones wonder if she ran off to Manhattan, but are reminded of the disappearance 20 years earlier of Sarah Meyers, whose mutilated body was found after she vanished on her way home from school. Though the alleged killer confessed, there are still unanswered questions, and Maggie and Jones find themselves forced to revisit the past as suspicion falls on Rick. Since the Hollows is so small, characters continually rehash secrets--and rumors--so that Unger relies too heavily on the community's interconnectedness to bolster her plot.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

History repeats itself in the cozy suburban enclave of the Hollows when a teenage girl goes missing. Charlene’s disappearance strikes uncomfortably close to home for psychiatrist Maggie and her policeman husband, Jones, opening wounds that go back 20 years to when they, and Charlene’s mother, Melody, were high-school classmates and Maggie’s best friend, Sarah, was found brutally murdered. Jones and Melody carry a secret from that time, one that involves school bully turned town cop Travis Crosby. Now both Maggie and Jones’ son, Ricky, and Travis’ son, Marshall, are prime suspects in Charlene’s disappearance; and while Jones harbors unsettling opinions about Ricky, Maggie knows other disturbing facts about Marshall. As tensions mount with each passing hour that Charlene is gone, the parents must face the truth about the teenagers they were if they are to help the children they themselves have raised. Unger’s taut and edgy tale stealthily plumbs the depths of desperation that grow more dangerous with the passage of time. --Carol Haggas

Product Details

  • File Size: 3808 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (July 28, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F3PKVS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,793 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Unger goes off the beaten track in this novel, but not so far as for her work to be unrecognizable. While contemporary, this mystery dredges up a town's past and reawakens dark secrets that have altered the lives of those involved. Not far from New York City, The Hollows enjoys a small town identity, neighbors who have known each other since grade school. The only anomaly is the younger generation, infected by the angst of the times and the usual anti-social behaviors of adolescence, once happy and playful children become sulking teenagers, no longer as pliable or as willing to endure their parents' failings or expectations. Unger uses this generation gap to frame her story, as Maggie, a psychologist returned from NYC to marry a high-school football player turned detective, Jones Cooper, the two raising a son, Ricky. Once a sweet, joyful little boy, Ricky has morphed to a sullen teen, resisting his mother's overtures and in constant conflict with his father.

The twist is in the secret history of The Hollows. When Ricky's girlfriend, Charlene, disappears, everyone remembers another disappearance from years ago, the death of a classmate that has reverberated through the lives of the main characters and left many with uneasy consciences. And for all the disaffection of the younger generation, more than one older resident is disturbed when long-buried secrets are unearthed. While the father-son conflict is exacerbated when Jones investigates Charlene's whereabouts, Maggie jumps to her son's defense to avoid concerns about the state of her marriage, counseling patients in an office connected to her home. Much of the drama is stirred up by Maggie's fears and lack of professional boundaries, but there is no shortage of guilty parties as Unger taps into the small town psyche of The Hollows.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bogged down with too many unnecessary details September 14, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Lisa Unger writes of a wonderful little town in New York, whose secrets are deadly. The Hollows, a sleepy town of upright citizens, seems to be plagued with loosing young girls. Two such cases converge one day as a young girl runs away, or is she abducted? This parallels a similar tragedy decades earlier. The whole town is interwoven in each others' lives, so it is no surprise that everyone in this small town has everything to do with every event.

The overall story is bogged down by too many instances of intertwined lives, back stories, and little climaxes. Every page has the coming of disaster, but quickly resolves itself. The overall plot of the two abductions fluctuate in an interesting suspense, but this suspense is lost as the story continues to drag on and on and on.

Yet the worst problem with this novel is that Unger assumes you cannot get her point: we are fragile, interconnected, imperfect, yet beautiful. But she continually hits you over the head with everything.

After a while I found myself saying enough already, resolve this. And she eventually does, and the story wraps up perfectly with a perfect, yet fragile bow.

If Unger had assumed more from her audience, trimmed some of the fat and left some things to the readers' imaginations, it would have been more suspenseful novel. It was an interesting story, it just needed better execution.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not pleasurable December 20, 2010
By LTS220
Format:Hardcover
I was thinking 2-stars for this one but I must be feeling Grinch-y and considering how painful it was to finish this book, it's 1-star for now! Thriller? Mystery? Where? I think everything was laid out and nothing was left to question. There were way, way, WAY too many characters, all living their "perfect" little lives in their "perfect" little town when really they just lived each day, full of angst. None of them were likable and I couldn't feel sorry for any of them. It just dragged and dragged - not a pleasurable read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not all secrets worth telling August 14, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In Lisa Unger's book, "Fragile," everyone has a secret.

Detective Jones Cooper has buried his shame under a layer of crusty bravado. Jones' son, Rick, a moody young man, has been living a double life that includes clandestine trips from his home in The Hollows to nearby New York City with his girlfriend, Charlene. Jones' wife, Maggie, is a secret keeper by profession. As a psychologist, it's her job to carry her patients' burdens. She is especially concerned about Marshall Crosby, a brilliant but disturbed young man who seems very close to coming undone.

Maggie's mother, Elizabeth Monroe, former high school principal, has kept quiet about a girl gone missing decades ago. When Charlene disappears from The Hollows, everyone's past gets scrutinized.

Everything about the girl gone missing - the red herrings and chapter-ending clues - felt contrived, jaded and lifeless.

The relationship between Jones and Maggie, while strong, has never been 100 percent honest. The couple has a hard time relating to their teenage son, who is fiercely protective of his troubled girlfriend, much to his parents' chagrin. The mother-daughter relationships, between Maggie and Elizabeth and Charlene and her mother, Melody, are fraught with land mines just waiting to explode.

Marshall's troubled relationship with an abusive father and his inability to relate to the outside world is a foreshadowing of much deeper issues that manifest themselves in a most disturbing way.

This was my first book by Unger and it will probably be my last, as the plot, characters and action felt old, stale and rehashed. I'm looking for fresh stories with original characters not recycled from every other best seller on the shelf. The reading public deserves more than leftovers like this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Enjoyed the character "jumping"
Excellent book. Enjoyed the character "jumping". Had a few problems keeping up with the flipping but the author clarified it rather subtly as I read on. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book!
I loved this book!! The characters are so well defined and developed, and you get inside their heads... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kissy
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe it or not
Intriguing mystery filled with secrets and lues
Published 1 month ago by Teresa C. Garieri
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked the complicated story line
This was not a totally predictable story. I found some surprising turns. It's a very well written story. Worth reading.
Published 3 months ago by Debra
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much to get you invested
I thought there were too many characters that were easily forgotten in this novel, that were not given enough time to get to know. Read more
Published 5 months ago by G. LaPorte
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth reading
Very entertaining. Kept me interested until the end.
Published 5 months ago by Paula A. Lucier
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it K
Published 6 months ago by Allene M. Eldridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Brilliant! Both the writing and the story captured me. Unger has an ability in this book to reel me into the feelings of each character, to the extent that every so often I would... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Norman D. Marks
5.0 out of 5 stars fragile
A cliff hanger. Wonderful existential content.
Published 6 months ago by VP
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it. Fairly easy read
I liked it. Fairly easy read. Good story.
Published 6 months ago by @TLDougherty
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More About the Author

Lisa Unger is the bestselling author of 13 novels and several short stories. CRAZY LOVE YOU is her latest release. IN THE BLOOD, now in paperback, was a 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Book, Amazon Best Book of the Month, Suspense Magazine Best Books of 2014, Sun Sentinel Best Mystery Novels of 2014 and Indie Next Pick!

Additional accolades include selections as a finalist for International Thriller Writers Best Novel Award, a winner of the Florida Book Awards, a finalist for Prix Polar International Award, Bookspan's International Book of the Month, and a Target "Emerging Author." Her books are published in 26 languages worldwide and have been named top picks by Today show, Good Morning America, Walmart Book Club, Harper's Bazaar, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Washington Life, Publishers Weekly, New York Daily News, Indie Next and Amazon (Top Ten Thriller of the Year.) She currently lives in Florida.

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