4.5 “Her Father’s Terrifying Shadow” Stars for the story and the narration!
The Obsession is one of this year’s finalists for an Audie award in the Romance category. Having listened to nearly all of the other finalists in this category, I decided I definitely needed to listen to this one too. Well, I’m happy to say that this is a title that lovers of romantic suspense/thriller titles will definitely not want to miss as both the story and the narration are first-rate.
Naomi Bowes has been paying for her father’s sins since she was a child. For years, she lived without knowing who he truly was, before she made a shocking discovery when she was still just a child: her father trapped and abused a young girl in a cellar on their family’s wooded property. Knowing, even as a child, how wrong this scene was, she rescues the girl which leads to an investigation were it is discovered that her father is a serial killer who has been kidnapping, abusing, and murdering women for years even as he pretended to lead a normal life with her and her mother and brother. Moreover, though he never physically hurt Naomi, her discovery sets off a chain of events that forever changes her life.
This story is divided into two parts. The early years when Naomi makes the gruesome discovery and shortly thereafter when she grows up in her uncles’ home and then later as an adult when she finally decides to give up her wandering ways as a photographer and finally lays down roots in the small town of Sunrise Cove.
Picking up with the second part of the story which takes place in Sunrise Cove, we find that Naomi–having led a guarded life after her father’s arrest due to the inevitable interest in her story by the public whenever they figured out who she was–is at first a bit standoffish with the small town’s inhabitants preferring to live anonymously. However, little by little several residents, including Xander Keaton, a mechanic who she meets while attending a flat tire on the road, refuse to take no for an answer.
The more Naomi gets to know Xander, the more she knows she has finally found something concrete and tangent to finally make staying in one place worth it. However, Xander soon starts finding clues that Naomi is hiding something about her past, and when a string of murders begin to plague the small town shortly after her arrival, they both know that their potential HEA as well as Naomi’s safety may very well be on the line. But just who is the murderer, and are these murders in any way tied to Naomi?
Shannon McManus delivers a great performance in The Obsession. This was my first experience with Ms. McManus and I was impressed with her ability to create distinguishable and personality appropriate voices for each character. Additionally, she was able to create believable female and male voices which is always a great attribute for a romance narrator as it allows the listener to hear the chemistry between the hero and heroine.
I also enjoyed the pace of Ms. McManus’ delivery. The speed was just right for understanding and moreover, Ms. McManus appropriately varied the speed of her delivery depending on the mood or type of scene being read. This effect really helped bring the story to life for me.
All in all, I enjoyed both the romance and the suspense in this story. While I must admit that I ultimately did correctly guess who the villain was upon the character’s first introduction in the book, Ms. Robert’s did keep me questioning whether I had correctly sleuthed the suspense angle until the very end. This story is not an easy one to hear (especially in the beginning when it details her father’s crimes and some of the subsequent related events), but it is this push the envelope effect that makes it so spine-tingling good!
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.