Web of Obsessions

Web of Obsessions - Diane Wood This is quite a page turner. It is a prison drama set in Australia. The main characters are mostly prison officials, though there are a couple of inmates involved too, and a truly dark, powerful, enigmatic character who's ironically never stepped foot in one.

Unlike other prison-themed books, this one doesn't dive too much into the daily routine of inmates but rather focuses on the relationships between the people who run it. The main highlight is the romance between two prison officials, though things don't heat up till a good part of the book because one of them is straight and in a steady relationship and has a son from a previous marriage. I appreciate that the author doesn't vilify the other guy in the relationship or make it easy for our leading ladies. All the important characters on both sides of the bars are all well-developed and multidimensional. The book is much more riveting than my rather dry review seems to imply. Having stayed up all of New Year's Eve to finish it, my brain is still not fully functional. :)

By the 80% mark, I thought this would be a good candidate for my favorite book of 2013. However, there were so many things going on, so many threads that needed to be resolved, that in the last 20% of the book, it was like the author could barely come up for air. The pace was frenetic, to say the least. And I think this part of the book suffered somewhat from the rush to finish the book. It became all 'telling' and no 'showing' anymore. Also, some parts of the book involving the enigmatic character seemed too much of a stretch. I might have given the book 5 stars if the leads were more involved in the investigation/resolution of the case. But it felt like things were handed to them by the all-too-powerful character. In fact, she can probably carry her own book. (hint hint :) ) Still, it was a lot of fun (and dread) trying to guess who gets to walk away and who ends up dead.

Very good first effort!

4.5 stars