The Obsession by Dawn Brotherton
When you begin Dawn Brotherton’s first novel, The Obsession, in the Jackie Austin mystery series, there is a refreshing and interesting main character who leads you into the increasingly complicated labyrinth of plot twists and surprises that you expect in a good mystery novel: Jackie is a 23-year-old missilier in the Air Force at Whiteman Air Force Base Missouri in the early 1990s.
She might have a job description that we would all like to read. As a missilier, she goes underground for days at a time and is trained to launch ten Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missiles should that become necessary. In the novel, we learn that Jackie was the first female missilier. Author Dawn Brotherton can write about this authentically. Retired as a colonel in the United States Air Force, the author did Jackie’s job!
Written in third person limited point of view, the novel begins with a grisly murder in the first chapter. The second chapter then introduces us to Jackie, who is young, competent and handy. She buys an ivy-covered fixer-upper house in Warrensburg, Missouri, near the airbase. Because her job requires her to be away from home two or three days at a time, there is perfect opportunity for a stalker to do weird things inside her home while she is away. As the plot develops, the reader learns more and more about serial killings that are occurring in the area. The hope, of course, is that Jackie’s stalker is not the killer.
Brotherton builds suspense in perfect pitch with the development of the characters as the story progresses. As with any excellent mystery, clues are there to point possible culpability to several characters, all of whom are close to Jackie Austin. The pace is fast, the characters interesting, the main character has flaws but is good and likeable, and the reader early on empathizes with Jackie. You don’t want to see her get hurt, even though she seems like a woman who can take care of herself and others. On top of this, there are love attractions. Could one be with the stalker or killer?
This debut mystery novel reads as if written by a very experienced writer. Brotherton also writes in the young adult genre. She knows her craft, and, more importantly, she is a born story teller. Not that star ratings matter that much, but I was trying to decide between four and five stars to go with this review. Suddenly, I realized that the author had achieved with me something that few writers do: I couldn’t stop reading the book. I did it in a day and a half while also tending to my busy life. That made my decision easy – five stars!
Seriously, this novel is great competition for any binge watching on Netflix and has the added benefit of exercising your mind. On top of that, the background story to the main character as a missilier is something informative and unusual. Read this book and treat yourself to a fun and suspenseful story. It’s a good mystery. See if you can figure out who and how!
The Obsession by Dawn Brotherton, Blue Dragon Publishing, Copyright 2010, 2016
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