Creep is a great description for Ethan Wolfe, psychology graduate student. He's been having an affair with his advisor, Dr. Sheila Tao--the heroine of this novel. But Sheila is engaged to a businessman named Morris, and decides to break it off with Ethan before her wedding.
Ethan is NOT happy.
Ethan is PSYCHO.
And uh-oh, Ethan is a serial killer who plans to kidnap Sheila and make her his next victim. I love the devious ways his mind works, like after his first meeting with Sheila's fiance Morris, in disguise, when Ethan steals Morris's prized monogram cufflink:If they autopsied Morris's cuff link out of Sheila's stomach, would they arrest Morris for the murder?
I don't typically read horror/thriller novels, but Sheila being a psychology professor intrigued me. I also enjoyed the characters' back-stories contributing to their current struggles. Ethan was abused by his mother, often locked in a closet, and now he panics if someone closes the door to a room. Sheila married a version of her critical, aloof father, and caught him in bed with another woman. Post-divorce, she struggles with sex addiction. She's in therapy and attends Sex Addicts Anonymous. Morris is a former college and NFL football star who turned to alcohol after a career-ending injury, and now struggles with his weight.
Not only are Ethan, Sheila, and Morris compelling characters, but I also liked the PI that Morris hires to try to find Sheila--Jerry. Here Jerry muses on a stakeout:Jerry's real car, a Nissan Infinity G37 coupe in titanium gray, was sitting in the garage at home, pristine. His wife Annie said the coupe was an extension of his penis and a pathetic attempt to hold on to his youth, and she was right.
There were some inaccuracies regarding the profession of psychology. Sheila has a doctorate in social psychology, which is a research field, but the author makes it sound like she could do therapy if she wanted (not true--Sheila would need a different degree in clinical or counseling psychology and a license). Her friend Marianne would never take Sheila on as a therapy client, which is an ethics breach. Unfortunately psychologists don't make that much money anymore, so Marianne's opulent office probably isn't realistic either. :-(
But overall this is a page-turner, and fans of thrillers will likely love it.