Book Review: OBSESSION (Faces of Evil #1) by Debra Webb

Special Agent Jess Harris has spent more than a decade studying the many faces of evil.  In her determination to stop a serial killer, she broke the rules, and it cost her everything.  With her career in need of resuscitation and her love life dead and buried, Jess jumps at a chance to advise on a case that has the top detectives of Birmingham, Alabama, stumped.  But the case forces her to confront all the reasons she put her hometown--and her first love--in her rearview mirror.
Four young women have gone missing, and Police Chief Dan Burnett will do anything to find them before it's too late--even if it means asking for help from the woman who has spent a decade avoiding him.  Jess agrees to lend a hand and welcomes the diversion of a new case, a new life to save to make up for the victims she's lost.  But then the unthinkable happens:  the crazed serial killer from her past follows Jess to Birmingham.  The situation is becoming increasingly desperate--and time is swiftly running out... 

Eve Dallas--Meet your ancestor, Jess Harris...

I don't know what I was expecting when I picked up OBSESSION by Debra Webb.  I had read about the series in an article in RT Book Reviews and was intrigued by the premise of an FBI agent haunted by her inability to catch an extremely elusive serial killer and what her devotion to catching him cost her.  Not to mention that that obsession with him piqued his interest in her and just how much he (and his followers) enjoy tormenting Jess.  Sounded like a good set up for a 12 (!) book series.

Jess has reluctantly come home to help her ex with a series of kidnappings and to get away from the disaster that her FBI career has become thanks to her obsession with serial killer Eric Spears and capturing him.  Jess is a no-nonsense woman in her early 40s, and one hell of an investigator.  She's not afraid to step on toes and ruffle feathers if she has to in her pursuit of justice.

Jess is the kind of flawed heroine that I love to read about.  She struggles with the strong attraction she feels for her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Dan Burnett.  She is struggling to fit in with her more domestic sister, Lily, and what being tied down in a place that she doesn't like that much means.  This heroine is not a neat, cookie cutter heroine--she is messy and flawed and it's clear that Ms. Webb loves writing Jess and playing in the world that Jess and her crew inhabits.

The true mystery in the book is a doozy and not really related to serial killer Eric Spears.  I don't want to give away the reasons why these young ladies were kidnapped, but it's creepy.  I do appreciate that Ms. Webb didn't make hunting Eric Spears the focus of the first outing.  She peppers him throughout the book, giving the reader a good idea of just how good he is at being bad and just how much he scares Jess (and the reader by association).  Ms. Webb uses the first book to give the series a strong foundation.

I highly recommend this book (and series) to fans of authors like J.D. Robb (Jess and Eve are cut from the same cloth, really.), and Karen Rose.



Book Facts:
OBSESSION (Faces of Evil #1) by Debra Webb
ISBN:  978-1-4555-2765-6
Grand Central Publishing/Forever, March 2013 (originally published in 2011)
Buy it:  Amazon  Barnes and Noble

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