by Susan Andersen

October 1993
ISBN: 0-8217-4330-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Susan Andersen's Obsessed is not a sugar-coated love story. This is a story where love and trust, in its light and purity, eradicates the darkness and terror of evil. And it is a re-issue that was long overdue!

The first chilling pages of Obsessed introduce the hero and the heroine through the eyes of a serial rapist, one who is infatuated with Ivy Pennington, the doctor in charge of rescuing his latest victim. The last, in a long line of victims, to remember him by a heart carved into her chest.

Ivy is out for a relationship and some long overdue sex. With a new flat and a steady job, she hopes to ease into the relationship mode only to find herself irresistibly drawn to her new neighbour, Vincent D'Ambruzzi. Vincent is another of those tough alpha hero policemen the reader now gets to expect and hunger for in Susan Andersen's books. He is a man denying his own sensuality and mistrusting any woman openly displaying hers. Having to work with Ivy in order to find the rapist and at the same time, protect her, Vincent doesn't have a chance of escaping his attraction for her. He finds himself getting to know Ivy a little bit too well; and with Ivy's uncle threatening to kill him if he doesn't make an honest woman of his niece, he's stuck! Not that he minds it that much....

I love Susan Andersen for her subplots, which always adds another dimension to her hero and heroine's identity. Giving just a little bit more, that little extra going a long way in portraying her characters more vividly and alive. In Obsessed, it's a group of cousins with all their love and jealousy, that make the story that much more interesting. And then there is, another Susan Andersen trademark, her steamy love scenes - full of passion and hunger, always laid out to the characters' - and the readers'! - satisfaction.

Ms. Andersen knows how to create an arresting atmosphere no matter if a scene is chilling and dangerous, or sweaty and sensual. She shows in her Zebra romantic suspense novels that romance doesn't have to equal light and playful but can be gritty and serious and equally satisfying. It is obvious that Ms. Andersen has an agenda, a passion for portraying the difficult and very often painful issues in her books.

With a tough subject chosen, Ms. Andersen doesn't just use it to play her readers emotions but to provide them with expert information and reasons behind the hateful crime of rape. It is a very well researched book, and with such a subject it's a necessity. And it is reassuring to know it got taken seriously. With a very careful account of rape and its implications, physical as well as psychological, on its victims, Ms. Andersen never excuses the crime but, at the same time, she shows how more often the aggressors had been violated themselves as children or young adults.

It is a very brave move of a romance writer to tackle such a subject and for a publisher to print it. I hope that with the change of publishers Susan Andersen won't dim her voice too much. It would be a shame to lose that voice of compassion and conscience.

Reviewed in September 2001 by Kris Alice.

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