I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers. I love being on the edge of my seat with protagonists left isolated, maybe with a single friend or confidant, maybe not. They no longer know who they can trust or are now seen as untrustworthy because the antagonist(s) has done their job well. Our hero no longer has control over his own life or fate, and without a miracle, he will lose everything he holds dear… and maybe even his life.
Ring Fenced is not that story.
For me, it was more a character study, but I was never sure who the main personality was.
Benjamin Short is a control freak, albeit not in a dominant or abusive way.
He is methodical and close to obsessive as he lives his life through several personas.
The corporate wunderkind of high finance, the loving husband and father of two, the Jewish son who’s abandoned his family’s orthodox beliefs… but still visits his parents on Sundays, and the devil-may-care Harley rider who keeps a separate residence for sexual liaisons. And there’s still the multi-millionaire co-owner of an internet-based pornography business that deals more with the technical aspects and less with sex.
It was exhausting to keep up with whom Ben was, but even more frustrating to watch him get away with it for as long as he did. The man had clothes, vehicles… and even watches for each of his personalities. No one questioned him. No one found the flaws or saw the cracks. Why, because he was just that good? Really? His wife, Natasha’s, past explained her trusting nature, but I’d think a college-educated journalist would be much sharper and observant of her husband’s comings and goings. So many rules and explanations. I believe Natasha, at last, may have been headed toward a come-to-Jesus meeting with Ben, but the story went in another direction.
However, all good things must end and Ben’s house of cards topples.
It could have been epic or suspenseful, but for me, it was more just a moment that passed. Like most of his story.
I thought as first I was dealing with a slow build but as more and more of the story unfolded… it just kept unfolding. Describing Ben’s day, his clothing, his surroundings, what he ate, and spending far too much time in his head. It would have been nice to see more scenes and fewer memories or recollections. The suspense I was waiting for never showed up. The many opportunities for conflict were smoothed over and brushed aside with minor effort. Thanks, Ben.
The only time I was in Ben’s corner was during the nasty Clive-business. Ben’s demeanor gave his wife pause—good thing she never knew the whole story—but Clive deserved every bit.
That Ben was brilliant goes without saying. But his intelligence was also his fatal flaw and the obstacle to any suspense in this read. Ben’s backstory is played out to explain how he got to be the man he is today, but I never understood WHY. His life was no worse than anyone else’s and better than most. For me, it was all about Ben’s choices… and those choices were purely selfish.
The end felt rushed, way too easy, and left me with questions that will never be answered. After all the time spent inside Benjamin Short’s head, I still have no idea who he is and I don’t think he does either.
(Read through Kindle Unlimited)
Sex. Money. Power. Control. Benjamin wants it all.
He is Bennie, a loving husband and father; Benjie, a beloved son. He climbs the ladder as Ben, a corporate banker, and rakes in money as a bestselling author. And when he wants to escape it all, Benjamin styles himself as Jamie — the lover of a beautiful musician.
His life, in a word, is perfect. But after years of keeping his separate personae a secret, cracks begin to appear in the façade.
When an unexpected series of events topples Benjamin’s carefully crafted world, his separate lives collide with dire consequences.