THE CALLING is about women who will do whatever necessary to please the man in their lives and a man whose control over these women is based on hatred and a desire to punish them for something only he knows. Each chapter carries a date. The prologue is dated Monday, 24 August, 2009. The first chapter is dated Saturday, 26 March 2011. The action ends on Thursday, 7 July 2011. In a period of less than four months, some women die unaccountably, some women are saved unaccountably, both groups by the same individual. Following Gary Goodhew as he works to chip away at Peter Walsh is fascinating. The author doesn’t turn Goodhew into a superman; he is a man for whom “slow and steady wins the race” seems a personal mantra. THE CALLING has some nugget of important information on nearly each page. The reader may not notice them but the author builds a case against Peter Walsh that is so good that it is infuriating that he isn’t stopped sooner. Of course, that would mean a book that would be annoyingly short. This is a book that begs to be read straight through.
The problem is not confined to adult relationships. Teenage girls who find themselves in abusive relatioships frequently do not have the support or resources to extricate themselves. Abuse isn’t necessarily physical abuse. Some girls are told what to wear, to whom they can talk, and they are stalked without realizing it. He is always watching and she can never do anything right. She has no friends because he is possessive. She does not tell anyone because he has told her that if she betrays their “love”, he will kill himself. He tells her that no one will ever love her as much as he does so she doesn’t learn what love is.
Most high school romances are rites of passage. Some high school sweethearts marry and live their love for the rest of their lives. Most relationships end as each grows and develops their personalities as adults. But the toxic relationships of teenagers are stultifying and frightening, Parents need to be aware of undercurrents and they have to keep in mind that criticizing the object of their child’s affection is going to have the opposite result.