Deadly Obsession is the second outing for junior detective Lexie Rogers, and is another solid procedural with a heavy dash of romance from former policewoman Karen Davis. Set in and around Sydney’s eastern suburbs and beaches, Deadly Obsession opens with the murder of a young nurse, her body left posed in a sleeping position holding a single rose by Clovelly Beach.
Lexie is given this as her first case to run but very soon it turns out that she has a personal connection to the case. Even while at the scene she realises that she has seen the dead woman in the company of her ex-husband. In fact, very soon it turns out that Lexie has so many connections with this case that the idea of her continuing to run it starts to become a little forced. Not only is her ex-husband a suspect but also the lover of her best friend. And it is quickly revealed that a friend/enemy from her school days, who also had a relationship with her ex-husband, was a friend of the murdered woman. Then it turns out her ex-lover’s sister might have been another victim of the same killer. It all becomes a bit too incestuous despite the constant reminder that the eastern suburbs is a small place and everyone knows everyone else.
And then there is the romance element. Everyone seems to want Lexie but she is saving herself for Mister Right, Josh Harrison. Josh, her ex-boyfriend took off after his sister’s death and when the novel opens is drowning his sorrows in Bali. In the meantime, Lexie is fending off advances from almost every other male character, suspect and colleague, with the exception of her ageing partner who knows what she needs. When Josh finally turns up back on the scene things turn a little Mills and Boon.
Davis often writes like an ex-policewoman. The descriptions are accurate but often feel a bit stolid. But the detail of the investigations, the relationships between the police officers and the descriptions of Sydney’s Eastern suburbs setting feel true. The mystery element itself is a little obvious but the focus on the policework and the threat of a mysterious stalker make the process of identifying the killer more enjoyable. So while it may not be to every reader’s taste, Deadly Obsession is an engaging procedural, particularly for those who like their crime with a heavy side helping of romance.