This book came to me via a friend who lends me reading material and I had never heard of Jonathan Nasaw until that point. Max, is found with a young woman disembowelled beside him and while he admits to murdering her he claims to have multiple personality disorder which is a common alibi for murderers. Psychiatrist Irene Cogan is brought in to assess him and establish whether he's telling the truth and she discovers he has far more personalities than she has ever come across in one patient but what she doesn't know is one of his personalities is suspected of being a serial killer of a group of women with one thing in common: strawberry blonde hair. Naturally Irene Cogan also has strawberry blonde hair and isn't aware of the danger she is in.
I have to say I knew exactly where this was going from reading the back and I suspect my first paragraph leaves no-one else in doubt about this too. I wasn't expecting a great read from this book because the strawberry blonde connection told us too much right from the word go but to be honest the subplots save it from being a complete disaster.
Nasaw's style of writing is actually pretty good and he manages to keep the story interesting and gripping even though at times it's very predictable. He does manage to weave in a lot of characters, not just the multiple ones of Max, that add lots of extra elements to what might have been a very bland story. He also does a very good job with the multiple personalities and you get so you know which personality is in charge of Max's body by the words they use and the body language he describes. That's no easy task really as he wrote the character with so many personalities it would have been easy for him to forget some of the nuances of some of them.
Naturally there is a large element of what I call "horror movie stupidity" to keep the story ticking along, even though this is a thriller it's been written along horror lines as far as the contrived circumstances caused by the victim's idiocy and several times I found myself thinking "that wouldn't happen, they would have done something different" but I do understand often this kind of forced stupidity is necessary to keep the plot going.
The multiple personality disorder is the most fascinating aspect of this book and does keep the reader hooked, without it the plot would be a predictable shambles but because we never know who is going to appear next you can't predict what Max will do. Each strong personality is explained too, detail is given about how and when this personality emerged and what the situation was that caused them which again does add a lot to the basic plot. If I'm honest the multiple personalities is what kept me reading and I'm glad I did because the twists and turns of all these personalities in the one body do make it a pretty interesting read.
One thing I will say about this book, this is something you will very rarely hear from me, is that it would have actually worked better as a film. Surprisingly some of the things described actually would have had a greater shock element to them if seen on screen and I can't think of many books that this applies to. This would actually make a very clever but chilling and alarming thriller which I'm sure a lot of people would watch. It would also work better for the amount of "horror movie stupidity" needed to keep the story moving.
Overall this was actually quite a good read. After reading the synopsis on the back I had a preconceived idea it would be totally predictable and I could immediately guess what would happen but it's written very well and lots of surprises are injected along the way. The multiple personality facet is extremely interesting and opens the way for lots of subplots that all add to the story in its entirety and the conclusion.
The Girls He Adored by Jonathan Nasaw was written in 2002 and can only be purchased used on Amazon for £2.76. I'm fairly sure it could be ordered at a library though if anyone wanted to give it a go.