Saturday, July 5, 2008

Obsessed by Susan Andersen

Obsessed is another of Andersen's earlier romantic suspense novels, very different from her later romantic comedies. Different, but just as wonderful.

This one stars Ivy as a young trauma center doctor, who moves into the apartment next door to our hero, Vincent. Ivy has wanted to be a doctor since the night her parents died in an ER after a car accident. She was raised by her aunt and uncle in the context of an even larger family of cousins and aunt and uncles. Although she was touched by tragedy, she has a loving, stable family life - I like that in a heroine.

Vincent is Midwestern-Italian-American - this is to explain his feeling somewhat alone and left out, as the midwestern town he grew up in was largely Swedish-American. He had a 4-year marriage to The Bitch, who was unfaithful - a lot - which left him bitter about women in general. When Ivy's family helps her move in next door to him, they create a lot of noise while he's trying to sleep - and this starts their relationship off on a really bad note.

Unfortunately - or not - for both of them, they become involved professionally right off the bat because Vincent is the Special Assault detective on the case of a serial rapist, and one of the rapist victims ends up in Ivy's care. The rapist is a sick fellow who hears voices that urge him to rape someone every full moon. (I kept wondering where he was before the 3 previous rapes - did no one find the victims? Because it sounded like he'd been doing it for a while...) He followed this victim to the trauma center and fell for Ivy right off the bat - she's someone who can calm his voices down. Now he tries to find her.

Meanwhile, Ivy and Vincent really do try to fight off their instant sexual chemistry for, oh, a day or so. They really do - but once it's unleashed, there's a great Wham/Bam/Thank You Ma'am scene. Ivy falls right to sleep - and Vincent, realizing how powerful the feelings are and desperate to make them stop - leaves her sleeping and tries to forget her. Yeah, right. Like that's gonna work.

The rapist sends Ivy flowers with an anonymous card that takes her a day or so to figure out. At that point, she has to face Vincent again, professionally, because it's another clue in the case. Nothing seems to help the 2 of them stay away from each other!!

The chemistry between the 2 was great, and it was great to have a smart heroine again (I was getting sorta bimboed out). Vincent was a little edgier than I usually like, and he clung to his convictions about women a little too hard too. Andersen presents his point of view realistically but I still wanted to shake him - do men really cling to the idea that all women are evil after one bad relationship? Maybe some do.

Andersen does a great job in her books of creating families and fleshing out the various characters. I really fell for Terry, the twin in love with his first cousin Jasmine forever, and was sad for him at the end - he didn't get his HEA in this book, and I guess we'll never know how he fared in San Francisco. Auntie Babe and Uncle Mack and their bar with singing every night was another great touch. And I loved that the cousins all sang together in harmony at the bar a lot too. Once again, Andersen's writing made me feel a part of the story, which I love best of all.

The suspense was nail-bitingly good - the rapists attempts to get to Ivy were well written. I was icked out by the near-rape scene at the end - well crafted, I guess, since it made my skin crawl. Oh, one really bad typo: "heir" for "hair"??? Hello?

I liked it a lot - but didn't love it as a keeper. 4 stars.

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