Haunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan (REVIEW)

Equal parts creepy and amusing, Haunting Obsession is actually the second Rebecca Burton novella from R.J. Sullivan, although you don't need to read the first (Backstage Pass) to enjoy this.

Daryl Beasley is a man fortunate enough to find his heart's desire twice in one day, but foolish enough to risk them both. While out shopping for his girlfriend's birthday present, he spots a framed photo of Maxine Marie (a Marilyn Monroe clone) that comes with the first cheque she ever signed under that name. It's a pricey bit of memorabilia, and one that threatens to drive a wedge between his girlfriend and himself, but the temptation proves too much.

That night he discovers that the memorabilia comes with an added bonus - the ghost of Maxine herself. Before long, he finds all his fanboy dreams coming true, as Maxine seduces her way into his life . . . slowly draining him of that life in the process.

The culture clash between celebrity and fanboy, between 1950s innocence and 21st century excess, drives the humorous side of the tale. It's an odd couple pairing, and one that hits all the right notes in playing up the emotional, physical, temporal, and spiritual divide between them. Meanwhile, the slow descent from obsession into possession drives the chills and thrills, ultimately putting Daryl's life at risk. In the end, true love proves to be his only hope for salvation, but it doesn't come easy, or without a cost.