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After narrowly surviving a violent break-in, being brutally
tortured and witnessing the murder of her best friend, Katharine
Lawrence finds herself in a hospital trying to piece together the
seemingly senseless act. What did the masked robbers want? What was
in the safe to which they kept referring? Why did they think she
knew something that she didn't? And, most imperatively, why doesn't
she recognize her own face in the mirror?

With OBSESSION, her 34th book, Robards proves the adage that
practice makes perfect. Far from being formulaic or stale, she has
perfected the art of blending heart-pounding suspense with a dash
of romance to create a taut and tightly-wound tale. Readers will be
hard-pressed to put down the book and may find themselves skipping
meals, missing subway stops and forgoing their favorite television
shows until they have turned the final page and learned the answers
to all of Katharine's questions.

The secret to Robards's success is due, in part, to her ability to
create consistently distinctive and unexpectedly satisfying
characters. Her heroine, Katharine Lawrence, may be as pretty as a
picture, but she is no shrinking violet. With offbeat observations
--- as she lies prone on the floor and at the mercy of a madman,
she wryly notes how dirty her tiles are, and in her knowing tone
she undercuts the melodrama of this moment by ironically musing,
"Cue the spooky music" --- Katharine is far from your typical
damsel in distress. She's ironic, smart, flawed and distinctive. It
is because she is so engaging that the series of plot twists that
befall her and the various excruciating situations from which she
must somehow extricate herself seem all the more dire.

From her first lucid moment in the hospital room, Katharine finds
herself under the watchful eye and indefatigable protection of the
enigmatic Dr. Dan Howard, a figure as murky and muddled as
Katharine's memories. She can't shake the feeling that she knows
him, but she also has no idea how; as his allure increases, so does
her sense of foreboding. Katharine and Dan's mutual attraction
intensifies along with the stakes of their cat-and-mouse game, as
they find themselves perpetually on the move, running from
predators as shadowy as they are menacing.

While OBSESSION is a breathless read, it is never over the top. The
violence is wince-worthy but never unnecessarily gory, and the
romance is sexy but never sordid. Robards plays skillfully with
themes of identity, memory and self. The result is a smart and
expertly paced thriller that will satisfy her predominantly female
fan base but also will appeal to a wider demographic of
suspense/thriller fans. Robards is a distinctively talented
mistress of suspense, and she proves with OBSESSION that she's just
getting better with time.

Reviewed by Jen Krieger on January 13, 2011

by Karen Robards

  • Publication Date: April 10, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399154167
  • ISBN-13: 9780399154164