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'Cupid...has chosen us. Our hearts were his target, and his aim doesn't lie. Siobhan and I are meant to be together.',
This review is from: Killing Cupid (Paperback)
Siobhan McGowan is starting out tutoring a writing course for the first time, and amongst the small group of attendees that come along is a man named Alex Parkinson. Alex quickly becomes obsessed with Siobhan, believing he is in love with her. He proceeds to behave very strangely; his infatuation leads him to carry out actions that he thinks will draw her to him and make her love him in return as much as he loves her. Somehow, at the time, he convinces himself, or indeed genuinely believes, that this behaviour is the way to go, and that this approach will be a success. Alex believes he 'was just a boy in love, following a long tradition of people gripped by love, by the madness and passion invoked by that emotion, obsessed - I admit it - but dangerous?'
Siobhan is shocked by his actions at first, and admits to herself that 'there's just something...I don't know what exactly...which unsettles me about him.' She warns him off, and eventually his interest in her does seem to wain as his head is turned by someone else. What a relief for Siobhan, I thought. She wanted him to leave her alone, didn't she? But no, because now that she is no longer the object of this stalker's affections and attentions, she is indignant. Why has he stopped persuing her? Is he really no longer interested in her?
This novel skips along at a quick pace, and is a real page-turner. I was engrossed by the way Alex pursued Siobhan in his own strange, twisted way in part one of the book, wondering what on earth he would do next in his pattern of creepy, unsettling behaviour. Then I was even more surprised and intrigued by the turn of events in part two, as Siobhan sets about her own course of action with regard to Alex.
This turned my expectations and assumptions about the story on their head, and I was turning the pages quickly, wondering how would this all end? The narrative alternates between the two viewpoints of Alex and Siobhan regularly throughout the novel, and with both accounts written in the first person, we get right inside the minds of this rather disturbed, mixed-up pair. We learn more about Alex, and the person from his past who lies at the heart of his insecurities, and as the story progresses, we discover another side to Siobhan. Two people, both tired of being alone, and the authors exploring the lengths people will go to out of desire and obsession.
I enjoyed the part that writing has to play in this story too, including the stories that Alex produces, and that Siobhan was once a published writer previously, and wonders if she ever will be again. This gives the writers the opportunity to add some observations in the novel about writing and publishing, through these characters.
The story made me laugh at times too; I loved this moment when Alex has entered Siobhan's house, unknown to her, whilst she is out, and he thinks he has heard her return home and may find him there: 'I was terrified that she was going to open the door - not because I didn't want to see her, but I thought it might harm our relationship if she found me crouched in her wardrobe.' Brilliant!
A dark, twisted psychological thriller that is a compulsive read.