Saturday, 18 March 2017

Behind the Door

Behind the Door

by A. Gavazzoni

5 out of 5

When Lara dies at the hands of a Manhattan lawyer during a sex game, his defense attorney, Carl, hires Simone, a psychiatrist, professor and author of books on sexual behavior to help him buttress his argument that Lara’s death was accidental. To help his defense, Carl’s client has written a detailed account of his steamy, year-long relationship with Lara. Carl gives the text to Simone for analysis.

While evaluating the presumed killer’s writing Simone continues to receive psychiatric patients with sexual disorders and unusual fantasies, and to research strange sexual behavior for her next book. Meanwhile, Simone’s clinical partner, friend and research colleague, Edward, is working with the police to capture a serial killer who is torturing and killing women.

From hot and unusual sex and interesting psychiatric patients, to the swing houses of New York and Paris, this fast-paced page-turner is a blend of mystery, suspense, humor, romance and erotica.

Simone has excelled in her career as a sexual therapist, and is brought in to advise on the "accidental" death of a woman during sex play. Soon, Simone finds herself surrounded by more murders than one old case.

I won a copy of this book during one of the author's giveaways.
With Simone's speciality, I kinda expected something that was mainly sex, or a dark romance; but this book is a really solid thriller, which pleasantly surprised me.
I have to say, after the first few chapters, I was completely hooked.

There are two storylines: 
The tragic story of Mark and Lara is told in a diary "manuscript" form, where Mark writes about all his dealings with Lara and their tumultuous relationship. It's really bittersweet in places, because you know that eventually, he kills her. And it is highly graphic about their sex life.
Lara is an absolute goddess, and excessively in charge of her life and choices, all to overcome the psychological horror that is her history. With each revelation, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her, and admire her strength.
Mark is such a steady character, but tries to be open-minded as he introduces the reader to the sordid world and sexual extravagances that Lara insists on. He is the only one that sees through Lara's pain; he is whatever Lara needs him to be, a lover and a friend. You can't help but love him.

The second story is that of Simone, the psychologist that has been brought on to give a professional opinion on whether Mark is a murderer, or victim. Simone has her own problems, as a recent spate of murders suddenly become linked to her, as a body is left on her doorstep.
Her colleague is a psychological advisor for the police, and keeps her informed on the hunt for the killer.
The story dances between suspects, and various threats, building up the tension to boiling point.
I didn't manage to correctly guess the killer, but it all made sense, which is another thing I highly approve of!

The two storylines worked really well together, the heat of Mark and Lara; and the mystery threatening Simone. It teases the reader as one chapter ends and the next switches to the other plotline.

The only thing that I found somewhat jarring was the ideology behind sexual desires, genders and LGBT.
On the one hand, Mark and Lara live a very open and accepting life, they don't judge and they will participate in whatever feels good.
But on the other, I felt that everything was set into neat psychiatrist's boxes. People aren't bisexual - they're just afraid to come out as gay. Anyone that wants a kinky sex life has to have had a trauma to explain their abnormal behaviour. The one gay character is flamboyantly and cliche gay, and reminds us of this frequently.
It's only a small thing, but it just clashed against my beliefs of sexuality being a scale, instead of gay or straight, etc.

Anyways, overall I highly enjoyed this book, and it made me constantly run late this week as I wanted to read just one more chapter. I would definitely recommend picking it up!

Goodreads link
Amazon UK

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