The Venus Trap
By Louise Voss
Publisher: Amazon /Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 2/24/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
Jo Atkins’ sixteenth year was disastrous: she lost her dad, was assaulted by a stranger, and then had her heart broken. For the last twenty-five years, she’s believed that nothing could ever be as bad again.
She was wrong. Now, still smarting from her recent divorce, pretty, self-effacing Jo finally gathers the courage to enter the dating scene. She meets Claudio, whom she vaguely remembers from her youth, but after a few dates decides he’s creepy and politely tells him ‘thanks but no thanks’.
But Claudio has no intention of letting her go. Instead of never seeing him again, Jo wakes up sick and terrified, handcuffed to her own bed. She is given a week to prove her love for Claudio—or he will kill her.
Claudio, it turns out, is a man with nothing left to lose. The Venus Trap tackles the emotional impact of divorce, the perils of modern dating and the age-old powers of lust and obsession.
A special thank you to Amazon Publishing, Thomas & Mercer, and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
British thriller author, Louise Voss delivers a twisted romantic suspense, "chick noir", and psycho-thriller mix, of dark humor and wit. THE VENUS TRAP —a cat and mouse game of obsession, leaving you second guessing your own past, when things may not be as they appear. Have you ever felt as though something in your past happened, not by chance? Had someone set a plan in motion, which forever changed the course of your life? Only to discover years later, it may have been orchestrated by someone else? Jo Atkins, protagonist, a forty-three year old divorced single mom of Megan, dreams of happily ever after, and decides to get back in the dating game, setting up her profile on an online dating site. Her life has not been simple. Her dad died, her high school boyfriend dies, assaulted, divorced, dumped, and now she wants to find a man, and live her happy life with her daughter. She is thrilled about the possibilities of her blind date; however, reality comes knocking quickly, as she meets the date from hell. (I laughed out loud, as Voss definitely pulls out all the stops with her British humor and wit). Gerald, the guy is a nut job and succeeded in embarrassing her at a public restaurant, when she decided not the waste an hour of small talk with him, to let him know she is not interested. Needless to say, he did not take the news very well. (instead of using the emergency call from the girl friend tactic). What comes next is even worse. When an old high school chum, Claudio (not really a chum) happens to be in the same restaurant at the exact time with his mother, lurking from across the room --comes to her rescue. Happy to learn she is now divorced, he wants her phone #, and she gives him the number but changes the last digit, (good call) as her memories of this guy are not so great. Through clever research, he manages to track down her down. Desperate, she agrees to go out with him, thinking maybe he has changed (WRONG). By the third date, she knows this is going nowhere, and he senses it, and drugs her. Upon waking, she is in her flat, chained to her bed, sick and held hostage. Talking about the date from hell—the other guy was only practice, compared to creepy Claudio. He has nothing to lose. She has one week to say, "she loves him or he kills her." Her daughter happens to be on a week long trip with her dad in Italy, of course the crazy abductor, knows this---you see he has had an obsession with Jo since high school. He knows everything about her. Now his is closing in for the kill. He desperately wants her love and continues to tell her how great they will be together. In the process of going through her things, he discovers her diary from 1986. He makes her read passages and relive her past. Her past is a series of tragedy, with emotional baggage carried over into her marriage and future relationships. Could he be the one who literally changed the course of her life . . . her fears, her anxieties.. her years of therapy? As the week closes in, she races against time to escape the clutches of this wacko madman (a venus trap), and claim her life, her daughter, and possibly her ex-husband, Richard . . she longs to see once again. After a week of time to reflect, she is seeing her life through new eyes. THE VENUS TRAP, offers a different twist for a psychological thriller of obsession, as Jo desires romance, and wants a man in her life; however, she possibly had it in front of her, but was always looking elsewhere. She is a flawed character, and many women will relate to her with a series of bad dates and bad luck. From the emotional impact of divorce, and the perils of modern dating, with some psycho -obsession. The fun part was the diary entries, as she was reliving her past from high school days through her marriage. Venus Flytrap: If you live in southeast US, especially in NC or SC you may be familiar with the Venus flytrap. (a nice tie in) ….A carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands; it catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids— with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant's leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. If you love chick lit, mystery, suspense, and psycho-thrillers all rolled into one with lots of humor ---you will enjoy THE VENUS TRAP. This is my first book by Voss solo, as have enjoyed her duos with Mark Edwards and Mark solo, in the past, with my favorite “Because She Loves Me”. (congrats to Mark on the Venus title). COVER - On a side note: When reading a recent post regarding Voss’ cover design (being a former publisher myself, for years), I agree with the overall look, with the exception of making the author's name in a smaller font. When choosing covers for many years, am very picky about even reading a book with a bad cover. When posting upcoming books, on my websites, I am noticing a trend of teal and darker turquoise covers for the upcoming next three or four months, similar to back in October when many were a rich blue. The darkness of the door and the implications of what may be lurking behind the door, gives it a mysterious feel; however, the splash of pink offers a nice contrast, and does in fact draw you in—hence, the mix of chick noir, tie in. Well done!