Sexually, psychologically dysfunctional thriller

Carol Wright

By A Contributor

I spotted the book on a spin-a-rack in a bookstore. Normally, I refuse to select books that have corny titles or remind me of a poorly-produced and directed B-grade flick. It just somehow stuck out among some of the other soft covers that I twirled about in that rack. I held this thriller in my hands and began filtering through the pages, pages that would soon keep me up for most of the next two nights. It was and still is, in my mind, horrible, criminal, suspenseful terror. And I loved it…well, maybe not all of it, but if I am able to finish “Creep,” maybe other brave souls can do likewise.

I have never heard of Jennifer Hillier, but I have seen her most recent book on sale, “Freak,” which, I believe, is a sequel to “Creep.”

I’ll tell you, Hillier sure doesn’t waste time on lengthy or drawn-out, boring titles, although others may disagree.

There are many special characters found in her book, and I followed them through all of their agonizing moments, disappointments, humorous events and speculations. Hillier is a great creator of character development, so I was pleased with this aspect of her writing.

Sheila Tao is a professor of social psychology at Puget Sound State University in Seattle. She is engaged to the love of her life, Morris, a caring, sensitive man with a thick Texas accent, who will practically drop everything, suddenly take off from his position as investment banker, climb Mt. Rushmore and chop his way through a tropical jungle to be with Tao.

However, there is a problem and his name is Ethan Wolfe. He is one of Tao’s teaching assistants, and both have been involved in an affair.

She tries to explain to Wolfe, gently and reasonably at first, that their affair is over, that she will soon marry Morris. Wolfe does not take the news well. He wants her for himself. No one else can have her. His behavior becomes an elephant of a problem.

“Creep” is symbolic to the themes of other books and movies which focus on sexual desire and tension, which, can lean toward severe cases of sexual obsession and addiction. The movie “Fatal Attraction,” is a perfect example. In Hillier’s novel, there’s lots of stalking going on. Wolfe is viewed as a creep or creepy or an something more sinister.

Immediately the reader assumes correctly that Wolfe is indeed a creep, but the reader doesn’t know all of his background.

Eventually, Tao finds herself in the danger zone. After constant stalking and harassment, Wolfe kidnaps her and keeps her handcuffed to a bed in a sound proof room in some out of the way ritzy property in the woods.

Wolfe has always been intelligent and very convincing at times. He swears right and left that he would never hurt Tao and that deep down he knows she loves him, too. Wolfe’s brain is as sharp and wicked as any potential serial killer. Wolfe has masks and scores of disguises and makeup to fool Tao, her fiance, Morris, and Wolfe’s girlfriend on the side, Abby.

Tao has her own secrets. She has not informed Morris of her sexual addiction and also does not tell him she is attending sexual addiction meetings to help her with her problem. She feels ashamed, unworthy, just as many of the other addicts share her emotions and thoughts.

There’s yet another issue which Tao has not had the courage to tell Morris, and that concerns her failure to let Morris know of her affair with Wolfe.

If there is one thing really positive about Hillier’s novel, it’s got to be her knowledge and research of normal-abnormal psychology, sexual addiction and how it is much different from other forms of addiction to alcohol, prescription and hard drugs or any obsessive compulsive disorder.

Hillier is actually sensitive to the reader because with what is happening in her novel she might not always know who is reading her book and how that person truly reacts to the characters’ motives and behavior, not forgetting also her workmanship of plot, theme and irony.

For a short example of irony, as Hillier writes of Wolfe’s behavior, the reader might accept the idea that perhaps Wolfe should be attending those sexual addiction meetings himself and get hold of a good sponsor or psychiatrist.

Another brief example of irony occurs when Wolfe brings romance novels for Tao to absorb while being held prisoner. Tao hates romance novels, but welcomes the opportunity to have something to do other than watch television.

Furthermore, when Tao brings up Jeffery Deaver’s criminal/suspenseful novels and asks Wolfe if he is familiar with Deaver, Wolfe says he has never heard of the author.

To some extent, Hillier’s work is similar to the works of Lisa Gardner, James Patterson and possibly Nora Roberts.

There’s a little Stephen King element going on, but Hillier’s book involves more psychological drama and attitudes, FBI/CIA investigations, criminal behavior, in short, just what makes someone ‘tick.’

It also proves that no one really knows anyone else and what they might be capable of doing.

Carol Wright is a freelance writer who resides in Winfield.

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