A Darling Obsession
S. R. Murray is extremely proud and excited to share his novel A Darling Obsession. The project might have been a lengthy one, but this was one story that really needed to be told.
In 1899, an unspeakable crime was committed by a mob in the town of Guinevere Beach, Florida. Eighty or so years later, someone reopens a long-closed hotel on the site of the crime. The city, now called Sandy Beach, has a history of violence; some say it’s a curse. But Detective Robert Justice begins to see a pattern when he connects horrifying deeds to the hotel. His investigation uncovers not just murders that span decades but the haunted source of the evil that visits Sandy Beach and its residents, leaving a trail of bodies and broken lives in its wake.
"Thanks so much to author S. R. Murray for being kind enough to let me read a copy of his upcoming book A DARLING OBSESSION. Keep an eye out for this book in the coming months if you are a horror fan and looking for something new to read! In this story, detective Bobby Justice and his new partner,
Jack Cutler, find themselves in the middle of several troubling investigations. First, the kidnapping of a young boy, and then a slew of brutal murders/assaults that have taken place
around town. As we get further into the story, it becomes clear that these disturbing events may be somehow linked to a local hotel called The Sandy Beach Hotel. This historic hotel is host to many seedy characters and illegal activities during the present day-
-but even worse, the hotel has a dark and bloody past. As detectives gather more information about
their cases, as well as the history of the town, the reader is left to wonder why all these brutalities are happening now, and whether the town is actually cursed...I really enjoyed reading this novel and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who (like me) loves to read horror that involves mystery, crime, and detective work. There are a wide array of really interesting and complex characters in this story. Some of the characters are extremely depraved or morally ambiguous, which makes it interesting to attempt to empathize with them and assume their point of view. I personally loved the dynamic and interactions between the the main detective and his partner, it was giving me a bit of a
True Detective vibe. Just as a side note-this novel does not shy away from
disturbing/violent themes and imagery, so whether you enjoy that or hate it - keep it in mind!"
"Okay so, first things first, I really liked the writing style, it was impeccable and
just perfect. I think it's the writing style that can make or break a book, and this
was just great. The transitions between one storyline to another was smooth and
the words just flowed perfectly, and especially, I liked how the darker parts of
the story were narrated flawlessly, mostly showing the resulting emotional
damage to the characters (the part where Chase is feeling rejected by Elwood got me!) yet also bringing about the horrors of it all without getting into many graphic details (the part in which Dr. Darling is drooling over a dead body was super - that's nightmare stuff right there!). The writing took the prize in this
one, I loved it more than anything else, it was great - intense where it needed to
be and with just the right amount of wit to cut through it. The character descriptions were perfect too, I could picture each and every one of them. Each character has a distinct voice and personality - the weak, sad, sweet, desperate, the damaged, and the psychopath - all the traits were perfectly
shined on. Also, the grasp on accent and teenage lingo was top-notch. The plot was super awesome, it's really something that grabbed my interest. A cursed town, a haunted hotel, and witch trial vibes all the way- I am all in!
And that ending, it was great, full potential of a sequel there! I really like stories that keep on going till the very last line and leave something with the reader to rack their brains with. All in all, it's a very enjoyable paranormal thriller, and better, because the reader would be left at the end to debate whether or not there actually was something paranormal at play in this story. I'd rate this book 4/5
thrilling stars! :)"
Praise & Reviews
"Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The plot was well thought out and developed. I didn't feel like it ended with loose strings anywhere and I didn't find any of it confusing which I think
sometimes happens with books in this genre. I didn't find any plot holes or structure issues throughout the text. It all worked really nicely together. The characters were fantastic! Flawed and complex but so believable and relatable. I was particularly fascinated with Lee Earl. I think the way the author depicted the way a person like Lee who would
abduct a child would rationalize his actions. From a psychology perspective, fascinating and well done. The fact that the story was based on true events piqued my interest. I'm from a small town (like 5,000 people tops) that was rocked by a crime very similar
to the kidnapping of Chase in the book. When I was about 10, a child a few years younger than myself was abducted from a baseball game. It made national headlines. The crime devastated
our community and is still talked about constantly. The case has not been solved and the child was never recovered so this is very much a reality for my childhood. But, Hunter! The way the brother is
depicted experimenting with pot, his behavior, etc. That is exactly some of the stuff that we witnessed in this town from family members of the victim. The author portrayed it perfectly so it seems he has done his research well. Excellent character development. I really enjoyed the writing as well. Great scene descriptions. I think your movement back and
forth between time periods was smooth. Sometimes that drives me crazy in a book when it is abrupt. It can be really confusing. However, Mr. Murray seems to logically conclude and then label and introduce the character and time period switches. This is a very talented writer.
Overall, great story! I really enjoyed it!"
S. R. Murray will pull you into a world of mystery and secrets
with his debut novel, A Darling Obsession, an exciting
psychological thriller combined with the best elements of horror
and paranormal fiction. Murray draws the reader into an
entangled web of storylines, set in 1980's Florida, and brought
together by Detective Bobby Justice as he attempts to discover
the truth behind the crimes, criminals and victims of Guinevere
As we are introduced to the Sandy Beach hotel, the story
embraces true mystery as the reader questions whether the
abnormal happenings are somehow paranormal, linked to the
unspeakable crime which took place there so many years
Murray has truly created a world for the reader to become
immersed within through the storytelling and characterisation in
this novel. His ability to make you question a character's
motives, actions and reasoning through dialogue and exposition
was genuinely chilling and rare to me as a reader.
In fact, this novel really emulates that aspect of a psychological
thriller in that it forced me to question so much about the setting,
the characters and the events which take place, leaving me truly
shocked at times. The mystery explored by the narrative kept
me interested and right on the edge of my seat until the very
Murray has written a novel for those familiar with the thriller
genre and those new to it alike. He has managed to perfectly
blend in elements of psychological thrillers, horror and
paranormal, creating a novel you will not be able to put down. A
Darling Obsession is perfect for those who love mystery, webs of secrets, witch hunts, and ghosts…
- Izzy Grace
- Chelsea Burdick
"A psychological, character-driven thriller with a sharp, dark edge. Murray nails the deeply submerged secrets and tension of small towns in this perspective-jumping tale. Embodying the free-wheeling wildness of a ghost story in one moment, and intense examinations of loss, guilt, regret, and anger in the next, his storytelling is powerful, flexible, and distinct. The deeply developed players in this story, and the subtle blend of the supernatural with family strife and interpersonal drama, make the novel a riveting, genre-bending work of paranormal horror." Self-Publishing Review
About S. R. Murray
S. R. Murray is from New Orleans, Louisiana, but lives in Mississippi, with his wife and two children. He always had ideas for characters and stories, and is privileged to share his work with a large and welcoming audience. Get in touch to discover more about his work, writing process and future endeavors.
S.R. Murray is currently working on a new project which will be announced in the near future. Special thanks to Matt Henderson Ellis for his assistance with this project. Check out Manuscript Critique Ninja for manuscript critiques and assessments, along with any ghostwriting help.