Sunday, October 7, 2018

Book Review: Crazy Love by Rachael Tamayo

A Tense Psychological Thriller with a Generous Serving of Sex on the Side

For perhaps the first half of Crazy Love, I was unsure – just who did crazy refer to?  There was Emily who was the victim.  But Emily had a friend who said she had forgotten conversations, perhaps even entire relationships and so, was only a victim in her mind.  And Emily was having problems with headaches.  Then, there was Noah, who was clearly obsessed with Emily.  He was a stalker and possibly worse.  And finally, Isaiah, who shows similarly intense feelings toward Emily, the difference being Emily liked Isaiah while Noah was just a nuisance (or so Emily thought).  In my view, Ms. Tamayo had done a masterful job keeping the reader off balance.  But then I read her synopsis, in order to avoid spoilers in my review, only to find that she identified Noah as the threat.  I guess my author’s mind was working too hard to find a plot twist when there wasn’t one to be had.  The second half of the book settles into the delusional obsession that defines Noah’s reality.  It’s creepy, intense, and quite well written.

The book contains numerous sex scenes, always descriptive and somewhat explicit in places.  The ones involving Isaiah and Emily add spice to the story.  But they do little to further the thriller plotline, making the latter ones feel superfluous even before I knew Isaiah wasn’t a suspect.  The scenes involving Noah, however, did much to further develop the character of this disturbed individual.

There were some minor issues in translating the book’s manuscript into the Kindle format.  Within the first few pages, the word “call” was hyphenated between the two L’s.  Weird, but the same problem involving different words recurred often, becoming a bit of an annoyance by the end.  A somewhat more significant issue is the plausibility of the story.  For example, at least part of the time, Noah was watching Emily through holes in her ceiling, and yet, no one noticed them even after several careful searches.  Some of the steps the police took or failed to take seemed equally farfetched.  And finally, Emily’s character was a bit muddled.  The author makes us feel her extreme fear in one scene with some well-crafted prose.  A chapter or two later, however, Emily is calling Noah to explain things to him.  And then, the pattern repeats.  These sudden, emotional reversals made her seem unreal.

Overall, Crazy Love is a tense, well-crafted psychological thriller with a generous serving of sex on the side.  A bit more believability in the action and Emily’s character would have increased its gut-wrenching quotient even more.

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