Obsession by Jonathan Kellerman

ObsessionI’ve often seen a row of Kellerman’s books on the library shelves. That is usually a sign of an author who is both prolific and popular, but I hadn’t read any of his books until now. According to the blurb and the quoted extracts from reviews he is a highly-rated writer of psychological thrillers with complex plots.

Maybe I made an unlucky choice with ‘Obsession’, but I was very disappointed. I wasn’t surprised to find the usual problems of coping with American English, of course. It’s simply a fact of life that American English, particularly spoken, is moving rapidly away from the language of England. As much of the content is speech, I often found that I had no understanding of what a character had said.

My real difficulty with this book is that the plot isn’t complex, but it is slow, over long, with far too many locations and characters. Far from being ‘a tense psychological thriller’, I found it a tedious novel written by someone curiously obsessed with French Bulldogs.

You can read what other reviewers thought on Amazon Obsession (Alex Delaware Book 21)

Complete Works of H P Lovecraft

Cover image for H P LovecraftI have bought a lot of the Delphi Classics range and been very pleased with the quality of the production. Like a couple of the other reviewers on Amazon I was initially taken aback by all of the punctuation and spelling errors in the first few, very short, stories – until I realised what I was reading.

These ‘errors’ are very easy to see using Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature. But this is a collection of Lovecraft’s writing and it is in chronological order. The first story, ‘The Little Glass Bottle’, was written in 1897 when he was only seven years old. It wasn’t published until the 1950s when it was reproduced exactly as the seven-year-old had written it. All subsequent published versions have reproduced the same text. This also applies to the other early stories. Move on a few stories and the errors have disappeared.

Publishing the stories in chronological order makes fascinating reading. We can follow the writer as he developed his craft until we find the truly extraordinary work for which he is famous as the master writer of the psychological horror genre. Some of the writing is sublime. He frequently starts a story with the mundane and steadily builds to an atmosphere of terror using hauntingly beautiful imagery.

One such story is What the Moon Brings, about a man who becomes terrified of the moon. Objects that are familiar and loved by day become alien and threatening by the light of the moon, and he is frightened of its ability to move our seas through some unseen power. In one scene the man is in a moonlit garden, sitting by a stream. In daylight it would have been beautiful, but occasionally a white flower falls from a bush into the water and is carried away. The man sees the flowers being ‘swept under a bridge and staring back with the sinister resignation of calm, dead faces’. Can’t you just picture it?

A very well produced collection at a very modest price.

I bought it for Kindle from Amazon. Delphi Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft (Illustrated)