The Girls He Adored by Jonathan Nasaw

Years ago I read the Dean Koontz book, Intensity. It was freakin’ terrifying. I generally find Koontz to be a pretty reliable writer- delivering fast-paced and exciting suspense, sometimes with a dash of the supernatural. (Of late I find him a little wordy, but never mind that.)

I was hoping Nasaw’s book would offer me the same thrill ride as Intensity, you know- one of those page-turners that you carry with you everywhere and can’t put down. The Girls He Adored is well-written (as these sorts of books often aren’t) and the potential for some serious suspense exists and the three main characters, Irene Cogan (psychiatrist), E.L. Pender (FBI) and Ulysses “Max” Maxwell  (total nutjob) are all interesting. But something is missing from this book.

Max has multiple personality disorder. He’s a violent killer who targets women with strawberry blonde hair. Pender has been on his trail for ten years, but it’s a difficult trail to follow because no one knows Max’s real name, plus he’s super intelligent. Then, by fluke, he gets caught and Dr. Cogan is assigned to see whether he is fit to stand trail. But Max is cunning and he escapes. And kidnaps Irene…and you can see where this is going.

If you’re interested in multiple personality disorder, you might find all the pycho-babble interesting. For me, when I read this sort of book- I want to feel my heart race. I want to be afraid for the characters. And I wasn’t.

Read a Review

And another

MY QUESTIONS

1. A really good suspense novel needs to have certain tried and true elements. What do you think these are and do you think this book has them?

2. How does the fact that Max has Multiple Personality Disorder change our feelings about him?

3. Was Pender smart or lucky? Why?

FOOD

MOZZARELLA-STUFFED GRILLED PORTOBELLOS WITH BALSAMIC MARINADE

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
6 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted

Whisk oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 garlic clove in small bowl for marinade. Using spoon, scrape out gills from mushrooms and place mushrooms on rimmed baking sheet. Brush marinade over both sides of mushrooms, arrange hollow side up, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix panko, next 5 ingredients, and remaining 2 garlic cloves in medium bowl. Drizzle butter and remaining teaspoon vinegar over panko mixture and toss. Divide panko mixture among mushrooms, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges and packing down slightly. Place mushrooms on grill, stuffing side up; cover grill and cook until cheese melts and juices bubble at edges of mushrooms, rearranging mushrooms occasionally for even cooking (do not turn over), about 6 minutes.

*Panko can be used in any recipe calling for dry (not fresh) breadcrumbs — such as eggplant parmigiana, chicken tenders, or meatloaf. It is available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Makes 6.

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