Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Primal Obsession

This is a good stay up all night to finish it book. Up front I must admit that I have met Susan Vaughan....she is a local author who taught at the same school where my husband taught. Then I must also say that I'd never read any of her other books. When she found out I reviewed blogs, she offered a copy of this for our library and I offered a review. I don't read a lot of romance, and I'm just starting to be able to read 'thrillers', so I'm not quite in my element. Primal Obsession is a well-done combination of both those genres. There is a delightfully spunky, intelligent herione, Annie; there is the 'hero' Sam: a has-been Boston Red Sox player, no longer able to play due to injuries and who is now a Maine wilderness guide; there is "The Hunter"- a bad bad dude if there ever was one, and there is a beautiful setting - the Maine wilderness, which can make any book a delight to read. Ms. Vaughan writes as if she has definitely been there and makes the reader feel and hear and smell every tree limb, lake shore, campground and pine tree Sam and Annie see. Vaughan manages to artfully weave several stories at once:
  • There's Annie's tale: she's a newspaper reporter who first made the connections between the killer's various victims, who is now receiving threats from him; at the same time, she is mourning a friend who was a victim of the serial killer and has actually gone on this wilderness expedition to fulfill a promise to her dead friend to spread her ashes in the woods.
  • The pshycho thriller story-- a very nasty serial killer stalking his prey (Annie) and the law enforcement types trying to find him before he kills again; one of the lawmen is Annie's brother who thinks that 'parking' her on a Maine wilderness adventure will keep her safely out of the Hunter's reach.
  • Sam's attempt to stop drinking to drown his sorrows at not playing baseball anymore and prove to himself and his family that he can be a successful wilderness guide; as things start to happen on the adventure, he finds himself tested - can he truly live up to his and everyone else's expectations?
  • Sam and Annie's almost stereotypical romance: Girl meets Boy, boy meets and immediately likes girl, girl rebuffs boy and refuses to acknowledge the attraction; boy and girl suddenly are faced with the physical threat to girl from the killer and boy must save girl.
The writing grips the reader from the beginning, and the book becomes a good old-fashioned page-turner. Ms. Vaughan has done an excellent job of taking what could have been a garden variety romance or a standard ho-hum thriller and combined the two into an exciting, vibrant, well-plotted story with well-drawn (if unsurprising) main characters, and enough plot twists and other characters to hold the reader's interest to the end. Even while changing point of view often (something I normally find distracting in a book) she manages to hold our attention and keep the story moving forward. I only wish the romance had been less cliched. I could already figure out exactly what was going to happen, and when this kiss would lead to that, or what Sam was going to run through his mind while watching her in a wet tee-shirt, etc. Probably the reason I don't read too many straight romances. The suspense action saves the book. It's real, it's thrilling, and it goes right to the end. I'd strongly recommend you try this one if romance and/or thrillers are for you, and especially if you love the Maine woods. You won't be disappointed.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This sounds good! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  3. I like the thriller part...and I love the Maine guide part...the romance, boy saves girl part, I could live without.


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