Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Haunting Obsession by R. J. Sullivan (3.5/5)

Ah, the tried and true ghost story.  Some malevolent spirit decides to vent its rage and despair on some hapless nobodies who must then battle this other-worldly force to save their own lives and those of the ones they love.  It’s been done time and time again—in film, in television, in books.  And if R. J. Sullivan’s Haunting Obsession was just more of the same old tropes, I don’t think it would have really caught my interest.  But Sullivan has taken old trope and put a new spin on it, which makes Haunting Obsession a delectable read. 

And that’s good news for you folks because the publisher, Seventh Star Press, is putting up a paperback copy and two electronic copies of the book for a giveaway.  For rules and entry instructions, see the Rafflecopter widget below.

Now as for the book itself… well, instead of trying to describe the plot myself, why don’t I just let the back cover do the talking for me?
“She wants to be loved by you…alone!”
Daryl Beasley collects all things Maxine Marie, whose famous curves and fast lifestyle made her a Hollywood icon for decades after her tragic death. Daryl’s girlfriend, Loretta Stevens, knew about his geeky lifestyle when they started dating, but she loves him, quirks and all. 
Then one day Daryl chooses to buy a particularly tacky piece of memorabilia instead of Loretta’s birthday present. Daryl ends up in the doghouse, not only with Loretta, but with Maxine Marie herself. The legendary blonde returns from the dead to give Daryl a piece of her mind—and a haunting obsession he’ll never forget!

Of course, it isn’t only a piece of her mind she gives him.  He also gets a piece of ass, a brush with death, and a very irate girlfriend.  Oh, but let’s not dwell on those details.  You want to have something left to read about, don’t you?

So, Maxine Marie is obviously a stand-in for Marilyn Monroe.  I mean, the alliterated “M’s” make it obvious enough, but the character’s history and personality mirror the real MM’s life as well (for why Sullivan didn’t use the real Marilyn for his story, see the answer to the question in my recent interview with him).  Thus it should come as no surprise that one of the things that makes this novel so entertaining is the way Sullivan taps into the idol worship and sex appeal of a bygone movie icon and weaves it into a sinister ghost story.  Even more than that, though, he insightfully captures the loneliness of such a figure and how that loneliness can be transmuted into something hateful and possessive—in life as in death.  Kudos there, for sure.

The characters are well-drawn, the type of people you could imagine in every day life, and therefore, the reader winds up identifying with them.  Plus, they’re geeks, which warmed my nerdy heart to its icy core.  That’s one of the signs of a good writer—someone who can craft believable characters (lies, essentially) and endear them to you.  And did I mention the illustrations?  That’s one good thing (of many) about Seventh Star Press.  They always include some jam-up illustrations in their publications, and these did not disappoint.  The writing itself was good—not blow-me-away-good, but good, solid writing.  And while the plot itself was a tad predictable, it still entertained, so I’m not one to complain.  Overall, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It was a good, short read, well-written, entertaining, and innovative. 

If you think this book sounds like something you’d read, then enter for the giveaway using the Rafflectoper widget below.  Up for grabs are one paperback copy of Haunting Obsession plus two ebook copies.  Ebook copies are available for international entrants.  The Paperback copy is available for U.S. only.  Good luck, and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the kind words!


  2. This book looks like so much fun! But is it funny? From the blurb it sounds a little bit tongue-in-cheek humorous. Maybe I am reaching...but if you have promise illustrations and geeky leads - sign me up!
    Lovely review.

    1. Thanks, Elisa. Yeah, there's a little bit of humor in it. Not that much, but some. :)

  3. The book sounds interesting. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks for the giveaway.