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The Delilah Complex

Review

The Delilah Complex



First introduced by M.J. Rose in THE HALO EFFECT, the Butterfield
Institute is devoted to the treatment of sexual problems across the
range. Dr. Morgan Snow, one of its senior therapists, goes into
uncharted territory when she is asked to counsel the Scarlet
Society.

The Scarlet Society is a club of twelve sexually adventurous women.
Its existence is unknown to the public at large and the identities
of the members are a secret, even to one another. The mission of
the Scarlet Society is the sexual and psychological domination of
men; accordingly they have recruited, with extreme selectivity, a
group of males whose primary qualification is that they will obey
every desire of any member.

The secrecy of the Society and confidentiality of its members are
abruptly threatened, however, when a series of photographs is
delivered to a newspaper. They show the body of a man --- a recruit
of the Scarlet Society --- on a table with the number '1' inked on
the soul of his foot. While the public at large is puzzled, the
Society members are horrified and frightened. They turn to Snow for
grief counseling, with mixed results. But when a second set of
photographs that feature another recruit of the Scarlet Society is
delivered to the paper, it becomes obvious that the killings are
just beginning and that the recruits of the Scarlet Society are
being specifically targeted. Snow quickly realizes that any one of
her twelve patients from the Society is a potential suspect, which
puts her in an ethical dilemma and at professional loggerheads with
Nina Butterfield, the titular head of the Butterfield Institute and
Snow's mentor.

It also brings Snow into renewed --- and conflicted --- contact
with New York Police Detective Noah Jordain. Snow cannot deny her
magnetic attraction to Jordain --- which is more than equally
reciprocated --- but she fears surrendering to it. Snow attempts to
reconcile her personal feelings and professional responsibilities
while slowly reaching the conclusion that the person who has been
attacking the Scarlet Society at its core will strike again and
that the culprit is indeed one of Snow's own patients --- all the
while realizing that her adherence to her professional ethics may
put her in terrible danger.

This is a highly erotic thriller through which sexuality runs like
an exposed live wire. M.J. Rose, however, wisely and carefully
balances the erotic with the emotional. Snow is a sympathetic
character who, for all her knowledge, skills and professional
talents, has her own difficulties that she is able to resolve with
some limited success. Similarly, the novel's mystery element takes
a number of nicely unexpected twists, so that even if astute
readers guess part of the puzzle it is unlikely that they will
uncover all of it.

THE DELILAH COMPLEX is a welcome addition to the Butterfield
Institute series, whose only weakness heretofore has been the
length of time between novels. This apparently has been remedied
--- THE VENUS FIX, the next installment in the series, is scheduled
for publication in July 2006 and is excerpted in THE DELILAH
COMPLEX.  That gives discriminating readers two reasons to
welcome the new year.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 7, 2011

The Delilah Complex
by M. J. Rose

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mira
  • ISBN-10: 0778322157
  • ISBN-13: 9780778322153