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Friday, July 24, 2009

Primal Obsession by Susan Vaughn

Primal Obsession by Susan Vaughn
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (380 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Edelweiss

Guiding a canoe party through the Maine wilderness is more than just a job for former Major-Leaguer Sam Kincaid. After hitting rock-bottom, he needs to prove he can pull himself out of the bottle and succeed at something. He can't let himself be distracted by an ambitious, obsessed female, even if she's sexy, witty and smart. Investigative journalist and confirmed urbanite Annie Wylde embarks on the canoe trip to keep a promise to her murdered friend and intends to use the outing to study her notes on the notorious killer called the Hunter. She banters with Sam but rebuffs his advances, considering him just another egotistical jock. But when Annie realizes the killer has followed her into the woods, she learns there's more to Sam than testosterone and dimples. And Sam faces the challenge of his life to keep Annie safe and defeat the Hunter.

Annie is a reporter whose close friend is murdered. Her follow-up investigative reporting reveals a serial killer to the public. But it also brings threatening calls from the killer. To honor the wishes and memory of her dead friend, she contracts to take a guided canoe trip through the Maine wilderness. Sam, an ex pro baseball jock and strikeout king regarding many of life’s challenges, is the group’s guide. Primal Obsession is a romantic suspense of high quality and of stinging, heart thumping excitement. This book delivers suspense at multiple levels, producing excitement and a keen sense of anticipation from the first page. Don’t pick this book up unless you have time because you’ll have a hard time putting it down.

The characters add to the story’s appeal, not because they are particularly unique or hard to predict, but because the author’s dialogue skills are superb, managing to produce even male characters who are believable and appealing. The prose is compact, greyhound fast, and smooth flowing, but don’t be deceived. The word choices and metaphors are top-notch, bringing the characters’ thoughts and the Maine woodlands to life.

My only disappointment is that the sex banter between Annie and Sam during the book’s first half is overdone, repetitive, and it quickly becomes tiresome. Plus it’s inconsistent with the sense of mission that dominates the main characters at that stage. A more subtle approach to the romance could have made this a great love story as well as a great mystery and page-turning thriller.