★★★★★ Deadly Obsessions is the fourth book in William Dempsey’s hard-boiled detective series following Private Investigator Jake Bodine, who is quickly building up a reputation for solving tough cases in Orlando, Florida. Jake is drawn into a particularly confusing case after a gentleman’s club owner named Buckminster Pendleton III (or Buck) contacts him about three of his dancers who have gone missing. When one of the girls turns up dead, Jake goes into high alert, trying to solve the case as quickly as possible before the other girls lose their lives as well. But the Florida club business proves more of a challenge to navigate than Jake first predicted, and there may be more at play here than just a simple missing persons case.
Addictive and agile, Dempsey’s writing is as strong as ever. On its surface, this is a compelling, satisfying mystery novel filled with drugs, sex, and all the staples of the genre, and set against the glittering backdrop of the Florida gentleman’s club scene. Readers are certainly invited to enjoy the story on its own merits, but what really sets Deadly Obsessions apart from the crowd is its complicated hero, P.I. Jake Bodine. While reading the first three books in Dempsey’s series isn’t required to appreciate his latest entry, it seems a shame to skip right to this book and miss out on the dark, winding road that brought Bodine to where he is today. With such a heart-breaking past—including a recently murdered fiancée—part of the pleasure of reading this series is in seeing Bodine bounce back time and time again, no matter the pain he endures.