Endless Obsession by Dai Henley
|Endless Obsession by Dai Henley|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's the third book in Dai Henley's Andy Flood series but it would read well as a standalone. There's a balanced look at domestic abuse and an ending which will take your breath away. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 290||Date: October 2021|
|Publisher: New Generation Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
It's some years since we last caught up with Andy Flood, formerly a DCI in the Met but now a well-respected private investigator. He's married to Laura, formerly his DS in the Murder Squad but now working in a forensics laboratory. Flood's daughters, Gemma and Pippa, have flown the nest, Pippa to Australia, from where she has very little contact with the family, and Gemma to married life. She's had mental problems since she was abducted many years ago but Andy and Laura hope that married life will provide the support she needs. Flood's business is going well and that was why he felt able to turn down the case of Lisa Black.
Lisa came to him with a story of having been pushed off a boat by her husband whilst they were at sea off the coast of Florida and left to drown. Fortuitously, she was picked up by a couple on another boat who took her in for several weeks and even - she said - provided her with a passport in a false name. She now wanted Flood to prove that her husband had killed before. It all sounded just a bit too far fetched to Flood and when Lisa refused to give him her real name, he decided not to take the case. A few days later he was devastated when he heard of Lisa's death, supposedly by suicide, when she fell from her hotel balcony in Southampton.
Flood's consumed by guilt but his life is about to get a lot more complicated: Gemma has been arrested and is about to be charged with the murder of her husband of just a few months. She stabbed Simon with a carving knife when he groped her outside the toilets in a pub in Southampton. They'd separated, acrimoniously, a little while before. Gemma knew he was likely to be a the pub but said that she was determined that he wouldn't control where she went. There are no specifics but her explanation to her father and stepmother is that he had been abusive to her throughout their marriage. Flood knows that he was an absentee parent when the girls were young and he feels guilty that the traumas visited on them came about because of his job. Now he's frustrated that there's nothing he can do to put matters right for Gemma.
Domestic abuse is a theme running through Endless Obsession. The family who rescued Lisa Black did so - and so generously - because their daughter died as a result of domestic abuse and they were happy to help another victim escape from the danger. Gemma's defence to the murder charge is that she had been abused and carried the knife to deter any further attack. A claim of abuse is difficult to substantiate: there needs to be evidence of the abuse and it has to be established that the response was proportionate. Dai Henley brings this out exceptionally well: his research has obviously been extensive but the story wears it very lightly.
This is partly because the characterisation is excellent - and brave. It's pretty obvious that Lisa Black is a victim - but as her story emerges you're going to find it difficult to be entirely sympathetic towards her. Some of her decisions and actions will come close to alienating the reader but Henley is clever enough to retain just enough goodwill. The plot, too, is very well done with an ending that left me gasping: I hope that it's not too long before we find out how Andy Flood deals with what happens.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
The books in the series read well as standalones but if you'd like to read them in order, start with Blazing Obsession.
You can read more book reviews or buy Endless Obsession by Dai Henley at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Endless Obsession by Dai Henley at Amazon.com.
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