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Posted July 16, 2013
Posted January 29, 2012
This novel is extremely graphic. It is horror, with blood and sex within the pages, and while I tend to avoid novels with any types of erotica in them as they don’t seem to lend anything to the story, this particular novel wouldn’t be a complete horror novel if these elements were missing. Reed focuses on the past abuse of Joe MacAree, explaining his crazed and erotic tendencies towards his victims as he yearns to be the controller and not the controlled. While he attempts to lead a normal everyday life with his wife Anne, his cryptic past eventually overshadows him, causing him to act out through murder. And yet, he never meant for this to happen.
Joe is an extremely twisted individual, relishing his power over others, literally thirsting for their blood. He is a young woman’s nightmare and a psychologist’s fantasy, wrapped up in the erotica of watching the life slip from his victim’s eyes. Yet, Joe wasn’t always this crazed. Obsessed begins with the murder of a young mother-to-be, leaving her husband in an abject state as he attempts to come to terms with the gruesome discovery of her body, vowing to stop the murderer himself. But Joe is not yet a refined killer, simply choosing his victims on a whim; he’s skittish, constantly admonishing himself and looking for forgiveness, yet unable to fight his obsession and change his ways.
Reed handles this novel beautifully as he shapes the character of Joe, taking him from one end of the sanity spectrum to the other. Through Joe’s obsession to murder, his abusive past, and his wife’s rejection, Reed paints a vivid portrait of a man who is quickly losing touch with reality; Joe is extremely distorted and utterly complicated. And, though Joe is an evil character, he is written so perfectly, truly encompassing sheer evil. And, through Joe’s psychotic actions, those lives he’s touched through his murders begin to crumble as well. A neighbor bound to a wheel chair begins to lose herself to fantasy through Joe’s quest for blood. An abject husband tortures himself with the quest for revenge. Joe’s wife loses her feelings of security, yet believes she can ultimately bring Joe back from the brink of insanity, though it may cost her her life. Watching those around Joe begin to combust added to the horror of the novel and made for an epic ending. This is true horror at its finest.