By Nora Roberts
Author Website: http://www.noraroberts.com
Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.
Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.
Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away. (Goodreads)
In the oppressive, dark hours of a hot summer night, two days before her twelfth birthday, Naomi discovers what a sick monster her father really is and becomes an unlikely hero when she helps his latest victim escape. To elude their small town and the media circus following this gruesome discovery, Naomi, her mother, and her brother Mason go to live with her Uncle Sam. They change their surname and try to move on, but Naomi’s mother has become so twisted by her husband’s rule that she cannot seem to bounce back. The weight of her husband’s actions and influence follows her to her death. Mason deals with his circumstances the best way he can by vowing to become a psychiatrist and FBI profiler someday. Naomi tries to recreate herself by suppressing all that her family has been through. Even with the nurturing support of Uncle Sam and his partner Harry, her growing up years are hard.
Fast forward seventeen years, and Naomi is tempted to leave her nomadic ways behind and buys a real fixer-upper of a house on a secluded bluff in Washington. She hopes that she can still keep her distance from people and maintain her fiercely protected privacy but soon learns that in a small town people reach out to her. She settles into a friendship with her contractor and his wife, but she does not count on her instant attraction to local mechanic Xander. They eventually try their hand at a casual relationship, but it quickly becomes much more for both of them. Naomi even finds herself a dog owner quite by accident. Just when things start to feel settled and like home, women’s bodies start showing up, their deaths eerily similar to her father’s modus operandi. It looks like Naomi has a stalker, and her precariously built new life looks to be in danger.
One thing you can count on as a reader of Nora Roberts’s books is that you will definitely be entertained, and The Obsession is no exception. Yes, it does follow the predictable pattern of most of her books – to a point. A good majority of the book is spent on Naomi’s childhood after her discovery and character building. This is great. Naomi and Xander are well crafted, mostly realistic people. The supporting characters are also well developed. I do wish that, as a reader, I had the opportunity to get inside her father’s head, but perhaps it is just too dark of a place to visit. Naomi is a strong, independent character and her flaws make her very human. Xander may be a little too perfect, but he sure has some great qualities and is infinitely likable. The pair feed off of each other well. I do wish that Mason had been featured more. I find him fascinating. Naomi’s mother Susan is a tragic character, and I so wish she could have overcome her circumstances.
The Obsession highlights an aspect of serial killers that is often overlooked by society and the media. It shines a light on what happens to the family of said killers once their crimes come to light, the ramifications of their actions and notoriety.
Where the book lacks a bit is in the suspense portion of the book. The deaths of local woman come a bit late in the story, and there is no build up to the “copycat’s” actions. I guessed almost right away who the perpetrator is. However, his motivations are not what I thought they were. The book suffers a little from an identity crisis. It is much more a character driven story with a touch of romance than straight up romantic suspense. Do not get me wrong though; it is a good read.
I recommend The Obsession to fans of Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense offerings and to readers who enjoy well crafted characters.