Obsession – Patricia Bradley

Obsession Patricia Bradley
Obsession by Patricia Bradley
Also by this author: Obsession, Crosshairs, Deception, Counter Attack, Fatal Witness
Series: Natchez Trace Park Rangers #2
Published by Revell on February 2, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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Natchez Trace Ranger and historian Emma Winters hoped never to see Sam Ryker again after she broke off her engagement to him. But when shots are fired at her at a historical landmark just off the Natchez Trace, she's forced to work alongside Sam as the Natchez Trace law enforcement district ranger in the ensuing investigation. To complicate matters, Emma has acquired a delusional secret admirer who is determined to have her as his own. Sam is merely an obstruction, one which must be removed.
Sam knows that he has failed Emma in the past and he doesn't intend to let her down again. Especially since her life is on the line. As the threads of the investigation cross and tangle with their own personal history, Sam and Emma have a chance to discover the truth, not only about the victim but about what went wrong in their relationship.

Patricia Bradley’s Obsession was her third book I’ve read, and goodness, what a thrill ride it was! I absolutely loved this novel. All Emma Winters wants to do is use an imaging tool to document the slave graveyards near Natchez Trace, but things quickly grow complicated. Someone fires at her, and circumstances force her to work with Sam Ryker…to whom she was once engaged. Sam will keep her safe, no matter what it takes from him. A secret admirer adds another piece in the thousand-piece puzzle, and he wants nothing more than to take Emma away.  But who could he be?  Only time would tell.

There is no doubt about it: Patricia Bradley is a phenomenal mystery writer.  In a way, this story reminds me of an uncut diamond. You know there’s value in it, and it’s obvious the work will be worth your time. So you cut, buff, and turn the pages until you reveal the expensive multi-faceted stone underneath. Obsession by Patricia Bradley has so many different layers to it, clues that she drops like sprinkles before a thunderstorm. It’s only a matter of time before the flash flood arrives and sends you gasping for breath. Bradley kept me fully engaged in her newest work from the first page to the last; I could not put it down. I have not come across a novel that’s kept me awake for what feels like months; Obsession changed that.

What I loved about this novel was that the romance seemed sincere. It was not overpowering by any means and blossomed naturally. Emma reminded me a bit of myself, as she’s obstinate (not my finest trait, I admit), hopeful, and perhaps a bit clumsy, as well. More than anything, though, once she sets her mind to something, she won’t stand down, even when others doubt her. I greatly admire that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this book contains misogyny, but it did have overly controlling men who wanted to tell Emma what she could and could not do. Emma would not yield. Many romance novels feature a woman fantasizing and swooning over her man from the start. Obsession does not have that, and in that sense, the novel was a breath of fresh air.

When I was younger, I used to yell at characters for making stupid decisions. I thought I had outgrown that, but Obsession proved me wrong. Bradley drops little hints as to the secret admirer’s identity throughout the novel. The little cartoon lightbulb turned on over my head when I figured it out, and then I found myself commanding a character to, and I quote: “Don’t open the door. Don’t you dare open that door! NO.  DON’T DO IT. DON’T—I told you. I SAID NOT TO OPEN THE DOOR, YOU FOOL!” I’m relieved I didn’t read the book in a public place, because I probably would have gotten a few weird looks for exclaiming alternative swear words at my Kindle!

The only reason this book is not a five-star novel for me is that I identified the secret admirer fairly early. Bradley sets up two or three characters as possible suspects, and I eliminated some quickly because I felt they were far too obvious. Overall, though, Obsession is easily one of my favorite books I’ve read in the past year; and I’m talking 365 days before today, not only 2021. Obsession threw a lasso around me and pulled me in from the first page, and I have no doubt it will do the same for you!