Saturday, October 10

Obsession - Jonathan Kellerman

When Tanya Bigelow's aunt Patty first noticed her obsessive patterns, she brought her adopted daughter to Alex Delaware. Self-possessed and disciplined, it took little for Tanya to break the habit herself, despite Patty's own somewhat OCD traits.
A decade or so later, the aftermath of Patty's death from cancer, in the hospital she worked in as a nurse, has caused Tanya to seek out Dr Delaware again. This time, though, it's to get to the bottom of Patty's deathbed confession - she was involved in the terrible death of a man.
In the coincidental world of Kellerman, Patty's hospital just happens to be the same one where long time friend Milo Sturgis's partner, ER physician Rick Silverman happens to work. Not only that but, what are the odds, he knew Patty and is happy to help in the investigation.
As you may be able to detect, I was less than impressed by this addition to Kellerman's stable - I found the vast quantities of ink spent on Alex's new dog plot more fascinating than either the plot or the characters, and really didn't care about Tanya, her aunt or the intricate mystery.
I've read all of Kellerman's novels and this is not the first time I've been let down - 1996's The Web left me equally disenchanted, but that proved to be just a low-light in an otherwise enjoyable series. I hope that proves the same this time around, and am actually looking forward to reading the next novel. This is in no small part due to the only interesting aspect of Obsession - at the beginning of chapter nine we learn a little about Alex's childhood and how it shaped both his choice of career and the type of man he is. I don't remember reading anything previously about his family, including his estranged sister, though I did start reading the series soon after it was first released in the late '80s and may therefore easily have missed passing references. However, it's my hope that this allusion to his childhood and family opens a door in the next Delaware novel because that was genuinely engaging and gave fresh insight into Delaware's character. - Alex

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