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Jordan MacKenzie is a social worker who has recently fled a job at a medium security women’s prison to a position in a maximum security facility to get away from a relationship-gone-bad with a coworker. When she starts her new job, she has no idea of the Web of Obsessions in which she will become unwittingly entangled. Meeting Danielle Veillard, assistant superintendent of operations, proves to be a bright light in a rather dismal atmosphere, and Jordan is immediately taken with Danielle’s professionalism, beauty and friendliness as Danielle extends a warm welcome and the two women begin a tentative working relationship. But as the association continues, each woman is forced to acknowledge an attraction that their individual struggles cannot keep at bay.
Supporting roles played by Dr. Harry Browning, prison psychiatrist and Jordan’s boss, and his administration cronies, Mandy Jacobs, part-time social worker in Jordan’s department, Danielle’s boyfriend, Adam, inmates Tracy Ward and Sharon Levy, Jordan’s ex-girlfriend, Lisa Knight, and Jordan’s long-time friend and confidante, Sonde Lo, all serve to propel the story along at break-neck, tension-filled speed, as the tangled web ensnares them. So many of the characters are emotionally bankrupt, some are extremely needy, and one or two gradually reveal psychosis.
The web that enmeshes all these people includes sex, drugs, money, power, and even murder. All the minor players need control for one reason or another, and get it by varied devious means. The status quo at the prison begins to unravel when a prisoner dies from a self-inflicted drug overdose. However, as Danielle and Jordan try to untangle the mess that seems to have been dumped into their laps, they realize that not everything is as it may seem at the prison. If they don’t get to the bottom of this impossible mystery, they may get more trouble than they bargained for.
In the midst of all this difficulty, Danielle discovers new feelings she’s never experienced before—feelings for Jordan. Coming to terms with a budding romantic relationship with a woman proves to be more complicated than Danielle could imagine as she struggles with how to handle an unwanted marriage proposal from Adam, her growing feelings for Jordan, and how to talk to her young son about what’s happening in her life. For Jordan’s part, she must juggle ethical questions in a snarled relationship between her best friend, Sonde, and an inmate client of hers. As if that wasn’t enough, she has to deal with her assistant’s moodiness and a casual relationship with her daughter Jordan doesn’t really want to pursue. As the web weaves around them, tighter and tighter, the two main characters grapple with questions in a multifaceted mystery. If they can just discover the right thread to pull, the whole thing might come unraveled and the mystery might be solved. However, those who keep a tight hold on the situation are not about to let that happen. If it did, criminal activities could be exposed and careers could be ruined.
Wood has given us a heart-thumping thriller interwoven with a stirring love story, which is the only bright spot in this tale. The tension starts early in both aspects of the account, explodes on the scene from multiple directions, and is sustained through the last possible moments. The plot is complex. The involvements are multifarious. There are some graphic scenes in this story involving drugs and sexual violence against women, which may be difficult for some people to read, but if a thriller is appealing, this one is sure to fit the bill. Oh, what a tangle web you’ll read in this tale jammed with twists and turns, secrets, evils, and a little mental instability thrown in for good measure.
Web of Obsessions
By Diane Wood
Paperback, 9781594933660, 280 pp.