In Overtaken by Valerie Storey, Miles and Sara Bergsen got married very quickly--within a few days of meeting each other. When Miles leaves town to attend a business meeting, he leaves Sara in charge of finding them a place to live. Sara is drawn to a particular house and buys it right away. However, after moving in, strange things begin happening to her. Miles does not return from his trip. Items appear in places they should not be. There is even a black panther that wanders the streets. Is there something supernatural going on or can the odd events be attributed to Sara’s excessive drinking?
The author did a fine job of portraying Sara’s insecurities. She tends to make hasty decisions and does not think about possible consequences. When Miles is late returning, she wonders if he has left her for another woman. She even begins to question if the company he works for actually exists. Much of her insecurity is the result of Sara not knowing much about her roots. She knows the people who raised her are not her biological parents, but she does not know how or why she came to live with them. Also, giving her the temperament of an artist who is also an alcoholic helps the reader see into Sara’s soul.
The style in which this story was written was a bit confusing. In several scenes I honestly had no idea what was going on (neither apparently did Sara). I could not figure out if the action was real or a dream sequence. This resulted in the pace of the book seeming to move very slowly for me. I found myself rereading several parts in order to try to make sense of things. I still do not understand some of the background issues, but the main plot and the fates of the major characters were adequately resolved.
Overtaken by Valerie Storey will be the most appealing to an adult audience of readers who do not like knowing early on in which direction a story is heading. The collection of eclectic characters, including a shady businessman, a cult leader, and a female member of high society provided some unique paths in which the story could unfold.