***I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***
“Delusional”, at its core, is the story of a professional young woman who has her head down, focused only on her work, constantly trying to remove herself from office drama in order to exceed in her career. Which gives her a rather bland personality, Patricia’s only vice is adhering to a strict exercise regimen, and pining to find a new romantic partner because, according to her life plan, it’s about time she start hunkering down and start a family. Then Patricia sets her sights on a married man, and things start getting weird, leaving Patricia to wonder if she’s losing her mind, or if someone is tormenting her, and if so, who, and how? For Patricia’s symptoms and visions are so outlandish, that they can’t possibly be real, right? Right.
This book falls into a lot of genres. It’s a fantasy, and a thriller, and a mystery, and a romance novel all crammed into one, which means certain aspects of those genres have greater importance both to the stories presentation, but also its plot. The fantasy is rather small, but crucial to the story because it’s the villain who wields all the fantastic elements. Whereas the crime part is more a convenient blip for certain characters that gets added in for more of a taste of intrigue then actual plot. The thriller and romance genres are the most important in the book, and the mystery of “what’s going on? Who is tormenting Patricia, and why?” wasn’t all that mysterious. Part of that could be due to the confusion with POV. Spotson appears to be using a close third person POV, showing us one character’s state of mind per chapter, but somewhere along the line that changes to an omniscient POV, which is never as interesting in my opinion, because as soon as a little tidbit gets tossed about for the crime or mystery aspect of the book, it gets immediately answered in the next paragraph by another character. So just be aware of those POV switches, because it can be a little jarring otherwise.
I’ve read other books by Spotson, and I always have to commend his imagination, he likes to blend a lot of different genres and formulas together to make something unique with a creative twist. It always just falters a bit in the execution. Patricia is not a character I really liked, she’s rather bland and robotic in her drive for success, and her instant willingness to let herself fall for a married co-worker (who isn’t making a pass at her to begin with, so it starts rather one sided) rubbed me the wrong way. As did most portrayals of women in the book, who all come off as a hot mess, and fall into stereotypical tropes. As a woman, this irked me because it felt overly one dimensional for no real reason, and Paul himself—Patricia’s love interest—seemed more spoiled and ungrateful than anything else most of the time. That does change, but initially, he wasn’t all that swoon worthy.
I believe that if more time had been spent fleshing out the thriller and fantasy aspects of the book, this would have really shined, for there were mild tones of “Gone Girl” strewn about, especially around the main villain, that I was really hoping would develop more, but it never did to a point where I was satisfied. The page-turner thriller aspect of the book didn’t pop up until about 60% in, after the mystery was gone, and the romance was pretty established, so if it had appeared earlier, this book would have been better-rounded in all its genre blending.
Even so, I was willing to just go with it for a few of these points, I was willing to let go that the villain’s motivations are rather shallow, and you don’t get to know enough about them to understand why they fixate on Paul so much when they don’t seem all that happy to begin with. I was willing to just shrug off the high-end art thefts because Spotson did have a reason for their inclusion, even if just marginally. But then the story wraps up, and the characters get their "happy ending", which is okay, but felt a bit hurried on Paul’s end considering what happens—I can’t say how because of spoilers. But then the final chapter rolls around, and it just felt like an unnecessary bait-and-switch cliff-hanger that comes out of nowhere, and has no real impact on the story, so I’m left baffled as to why it was included in the first place. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth as there doesn’t appear to be any plans for a sequel that would explain, or make sense, of that final chapter.
I did enjoy this book more than I did the other book, “Seeking Dr. Magic”, that I read by the same author. Spotson does have a very creative imagination, and he is always best when he’s showing off the fantastic powers of his fantasy characters, but despite the thriller aspect, this was a slow burn for me, and I’m still a bit upset about that last chapter, so this is still a 3.25 stars for me, but I think it’s worth giving a read!
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