Publisher: Bella Books
“Why are crazy people always fascinated with me? Jeez!” (Toni Barston, p.95)
Terri Breneman should listen to her lead character. This is the third installment in the Toni Barston series and once again she has a psychopath after her. The problem with writing a series is that the stories can become stale if there isn’t significant diversity among them and that is what is happening with this series.
Things seem to be going better for Toni. She’s back at work after recovering from the last insane woman who tried to kill her and her relationship with Victoria “Boggs” Boggsworth has finally stabilized to the point where they’re going to move in together. Toni has been assigned to a case that could lead to breaking up one of the biggest drug rings in her town, but that is the heart of the problems she’s about to have. The woman at the head of the drug ring blames Toni for all of the trouble she’s been having lately and has decided that Toni has to be eliminated, but not before she’s “had her way with her.” Toni endures having her car torched, being drugged with date rape drugs, and attempted kidnappings as her friends try to figure out who is after her. The same assortment of police officers, prosecutor’s investigators and FBI agents rally around trying to put the clues together before tragedy can strike. One tip, people who like to use webcams may change their minds after reading this book.
The reader looking for a light mystery will find it here. There are plenty of suspects and red herrings to distract from figuring out who the bad girl is. A lot of the background information comes from a previous book, but there are repeated references so that the reader can get the gist of what happened. The characters are puzzling. Toni and Boggs’ friends are supposed to be talented members of the law enforcement community, but they make ridiculous mistakes. While they know Toni is in danger, they leave her unguarded time after time and allow bad things to happen to her. If these people were in real life, their careers would have short spans. The romance between Toni and Boggs also feels forced or uneven. Boggs responds very immaturely to some situations and seems the less desirable of the choices Toni has available to her. The source of their attraction still isn’t clear.
The only real “problem” with this book is that it’s basically the same story that was told in the first two books in the series. The only difference is the psychosis that the villain suffers from in each book. Otherwise, Compulsion has the same basic plot and situations. If the reader hasn’t read any of the other books, this one is good for a few hours of entertainment. If the reader is a fan of the series, it’s questionable how long that will last. Why keep buying the same book over and over again?
If the object is to read a quick easy book for a few hours of entertainment, this one will do the job. The good news is that the reader probably won’t figure out who “the boss” is until the end of the story.