What must it be like for the family of a monster killer? Discussion Post #TuesdayBookBlog

A Discussion post

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Recently I finished reading The Obsession by Nora Roberts. This book pulled me into the pages and I didn’t want it to end. Why?

About the genre

This is a romantic suspense and a stand-alone, as opposed to some of Roberts’ other work, many of which are written as trilogies.

The Plot

A young girl discovers a savagely abused young women and bravely rescues her.  The fall-out is the discovery of a high profile serial killer. It takes years for the young girl to get over what happened. Finally she decides to put down roots, but danger follows as her past comes back to haunt her.

A Question

What must it be like for the family of a monster killer? In a discussion thread on www.fallintothestory.com Roberts states that this was the starting point for the plot of this book. There are three immediate family members: two young children and a wife.

The Wife: What must it be like to realise you are married to someone that you find you know little about? Do you think it is possible to not suspect a thing? As the book progresses we see how the killer’s wife was influenced by a gradual enforcement of control.

If you are a wife/partner/ How do you think you’d feel if you were faced by this shocking reveal?

The first emotion is mostly likely severe shock, or denial, but perhaps it could have been anger too? How hard is it to judge someone else while setting aside your own influences from your upbringing? Have you read the book? If so, what made you like or dislike the wife of the killer?

Whose story is it anyway?

The Obsession is the story of the young girl who discovered a crime and how it affected the rest of her life, but it also brushed on the lives of so many others. Part of the reason Roberts’ writing is so popular is because she creates characters that a reader can invest in and really empathise with.

Strong characters

It doesn’t matter if you are reading a book from Roberts’ romance themed trilogies like Three Sisters Island, or a book from the  Born In… series where she writes as J.D Robb, or even her latest book Year One which goes in an exciting new direction for Roberts, it’s her characters that grab readers.

A sequel?

Some fans have clamoured for a sequel from the point of view of a couple of the other characters. Sadly for them, Roberts says she wrote this book only as a stand-alone.*  Laura Reeth, Roberts’ publicist, announced that due to a change in publishers a sequel would not happen.


For me and many fans of Roberts, the characters made this book compelling. I’m often as inquisitive as the next man about what makes a person tick, but for a book to pull me in, the main characters really need to show a strength that I connect to, especially if I get one of those ‘goose bump’ moments when you ‘know’ a book speaks to you deeply.

So, if you enjoy Roberts’ writing style, can you pinpoint why she keeps you reading?  If you’ve read The Obsession, what do you think it must be like to be the family of a monster killer?


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23 thoughts on “What must it be like for the family of a monster killer? Discussion Post #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. In the main, the characters are the draw for me, although I also love the settings and, of course, her writing. As for being the family of a monster killer, I can’t even imagine….


  2. I’ve never read a Nora Roberts because I thought she only wrote romantic suspense, a genre that interests me very little. Good to see that internationally acclaimed authors are feeling free to change genre, too; I’ve just read a review for her latest book, a dystopian/post apocalyptic/paranormal novel

    As for this one… ahem, The Devil You Know!!


  3. This is a question I’ve wondered about. My professional experience involved people who had committed crimes, although they also had mental health problems, and family’s reactions were very different. Some refused to believe the truth, others disowned their relatives, and even in the case when many years had gone by, most of them seemed to have lost contact with their families. At the moment there is a case in Spain, where a man, married and with a young daughter, has been found to be the killer of a young girl in 2016 (it is unclear at this point if he might have assaulted or killed other women) and there was a lot of family involvement, as they provided him with false alibis. Different members of the family have reacted very differently, but…
    I’m intrigued by the novel. Thanks, Rosie


  4. It’s an intriguing question. I think you must feel horror, disbelief, conflicted and many more emotions. The guilt must be enormous too. I mean, if it was me, I’d feel guilty for not seeing it in my family member.

    Great review, Rosie! I’ll have to give it a try. 🙂


  5. Thanks so much for posting this, Rosie. Many a time I have really felt for the families of horrific killers, and although I’ve only read one of Nora Roberts’ books, I was impressed with her excellent characterization and plots.


  6. Great review Rosie, Nora is a truly gifted writer and such a hard worker. I was lucky enough to hear her speak at the Romance Writers of America conference in New York. She was frank, funny and charismatic. When asked what she does when she’s finished a book she replied. “Why sit right down and start another one, of course!” A goddess in my opinion. X

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  7. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it is for someone to learn their loved one is a murderer. I don’t know if I would be able to reconcile the person I love with a person who could commit such misdeeds.

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  8. I haven’t yet read any of Nora Roberts works but am glad it impacted you hugely and ultimately led to this discussion. It’s almost impossible for me to figure out how it must be feeling but I think it would be devastating and a multiple folds of shock that would send someone downright sad, frustrated and simply angry. I mean, associating with that person wasn’t a matter of minutes, it’s about years and about all the memories that would be there forever.

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