I picked High Anxiety for review because it sounded like a cute combination of mystery and romance. After reading it, I don’t have a clue what genre it’s supposed to be. All I know is I didn’t care for the plot, and hated most of the characters.
This is the latest book in a series featuring Kate Holby, a clinical psychologist. Kate has a host of problems, including being an obsessive-compulsive counter (although I saw no evidence of this in the book, other than that she told us she was one). She was briefly married to the “love of her life” Jay. However, Jay’s a firefighter and, since her father died as a firefighter in the line of duty, she spent most of her marriage trying to convince Jay to quit his job. They live in separate homes and are trying to work things out.
As the book opens, Kate is taking over an anger management group for a fellow therapist. Kate has anger issues of her own, blows up at the group, and then tries to stop a shooting, resulting in a picture of Jesus being shot, which later leads to religious fanatics trying to save her. Kate lies about the incident to Jay, and then of course, it comes out in the press. He gets upset over her “drama” and goes off to fight a massive wildfire in another state. All this happens very quickly in the book, and we don’t see Jay again until late in the story.
After this incident, the plot meanders for a good portion of the book. We go through a bunch of sessions with Kate’s patients, which do nothing to convince me that she’s a good therapist. We also learn that Jay is correct; Kate does have a lot of drama in her life. Her best friend (and receptionist) gets hives and blames it on the shooting incident because, of course, therapist Kate took her receptionist with her to the group.
Kate hires a temporary receptionist, who any reader will quickly notice is creepy. However, Kate, the therapist, is unable to figure out that something is wrong with the woman until it’s almost too late. The woman wants to be Kate’s best friend, buys clothes like Kate’s, gets her hair done like Kate, and then begins stalking her.
I didn’t care for any of the secondary characters in the book, and found them to be caricatures. I did like Kate’s dog Mike, but I really don’t read fiction for the heroine’s dog.
I have no idea what genre this book would fall into, other than books that are supposed to be funny but have too many irritating characters to be anything but annoying. Clearly someone likes the series, as I read on the author’s Web site that it’s been optioned for a TV series.
I haven’t read the first two books in the series, and after reading this, have no desire to do so. If you are a fan of the series, you may like it more than I did. It’s possible that the characters are portrayed in a more favorable light in the earlier entries, but I found them unpleasant and have no desire to read further in the series. To be honest, I thought I would give the book an F, but the plot did pick up a tad about three-quarters of the way through. It was too late for me at that point.