As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
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Avon, 1 June 2017. ISBN: 978-0-00-821221-6 (PB)
It's not so long since domestic noir was a new kid on the thriller
block; more recently it has become pretty much a staple.
Obsession is not only a well-crafted addition to the genre, but
also an object lesson in why not to have an affair. Carly and Rob appear to be
ideally matched; he is a popular GP, she is a nurse at his surgery, and her
flamboyance and outgoing personality add spark and excitement to his otherwise
humdrum world. Then Carly, in a fit of discontent and possibly mischief, asks a
fateful question: who would Rob like to be with if not her?
Rob misguidedly admits to a
fancy for their friend Jenni, and it proves to be the start of a downward
spiral. Carly is already slightly unbalanced, and has a manic-depressive
breakdown which triggers a cycle of infidelity with ultimately tragic
At first, I wondered if this
deceptively simple storyline was being stretched too far. I was wrong. As it
progressed, the web of relationships grew more and more tangled and the tension
level ramped up and up. Just when I thought things were as bad as they could
possibly be for Rob, Carly, Jenni and Jenni's husband Craig, they started to
get a whole lot worse, culminating in an ending which was as shocking as it was
Amanda Robson has chosen a
complex structure for her debut novel; the four main characters take turns to
relate events from their own point of view, and the result is wincingly
effective. Each of the four emerges clearly: desperate Carly, who hides her
vulnerability under a cloak of colourful clothes and behaviour; meek-and-mild
Jenni, whose steely determination is equally well hidden; bemused Rob, caught
in the middle; macho Craig, who tries to have it all. There are well-drawn
minor characters too, notably Pippa, eight going on eighteen and Carly and
Rob's capable eldest; Anastasia, who crosses Craig's path with unfortunate
consequences; and Sharon, the motherly practice manager.
Obsession is very much a novel about people: how they allow
tortuous and ultimately destructive emotions to get in the way of everyday
life. For a debut, it is assured and well thought out. I look forward to seeing
what Amanda Robson writes next.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
After graduating, Amanda Robson worked in medical research at The London School of
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Poisons Unit at Guy’s Hospital where
she became a co-author of a book on cyanide poisoning – and this book makes
terrifying use of poison throughout. Amanda attended the Faber novel writing
course and writes full-time. Obsession is
her debut novel. She lives in London and Wales, with her lawyer husband.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.