Psychologist and professor Sheila Tao has been through some hard times of late, but when she gets engaged to the loveable Morris, it seems as if life for her is finally on the up. The only problem is, her engagement means she will finally have to break off her three-month affair with her teaching assistant Ethan. Though Ethan seems affable enough about the relationship ending at first, it soon becomes clear that he has a dark side- if Ethan can't have Sheila, NO ONE CAN.
This was a story about dark relationships, obsessions and addictions, and I did find it to be quite the page-turner in places. The writing is pretty good, though I did find some of the dialogue to be a bit clunky, and the storyline itself believable enough to keep me reading. If I could make any criticisms about this book though, it would be that it had quite a slow start and I didn't engage with any of the characters at all- at any point during the narrative. Usually I have some kind of feelings towards the protagonists in some respect- either love them or hate them, but with this book I felt them so one dimensional that I really didn't care how the story ended. They just felt a bit stereotypical and flat- even the creepy ones- and Sheila was just a mug, to be honest. I cannot recall a book in recent times where I have felt less empathy towards a character than I did towards her.
ALL the characters in this book had their flaws- though in my opinion this was slightly overdone in parts and seemed perhaps a bit too cliché, though it did start off in quite a subtle fashion. It appears the author was quite determined that all the characters should have some underlying deviant qualities and decided to take them to the extreme.
Whilst I found this book to be a decent enough read, I have to say that I saw the end coming a mile off and I have read much better thrillers in the past. Also, without giving too much away, I would have liked motives to be elaborated upon a bit more with regards to the actual dénouement, as there wasn't very much explanation in there. For a so-called `psychological thriller' there didn't seem to be too much psychology behind everything!
Needless to say, if you're looking for a pacey read and not looking to expand too much brain power, then you could do a lot worse in picking this up. 3 stars from me- not a bad debut overall and I would like to see what this author comes up with in future--as long as it isn't another book about the duller than dull Sheila Tao.