Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher via ARRA (The Australian Romance Readers Association). Plus I’ve read most of her other books and really liked them.
What it’s about: Lucy Trask, a Medical Examiner in Baltimore, discovers what she believes is the body of a close friend while out for her morning run. Fortunately, the dead guy was someone else but that then begs the question, why was he placed and dressed like her friend? What is the connection between the killer, the dead guy and Lucy Trask? Baltimore detective, JD Fitzpatrick, along with his partner Stevie Mazzetti are assigned the case and quickly realise that the dead guy is just one of many, and that Lucy is on the hit list.
What worked for me/what didn’t: Like most Karen Rose stories, the story is complex and involves many characters. The first quarter or so of the book was as a little confusing when I was trying to work out how the various characters and plot points intersect. Then I had my “a-ha” moment and it clicked into place. Unlike many other Karen Rose books, this one takes place over only a few days, so the romance aspect is intense from the start -there is no time for a slow get-to-know-you build. While I’m not sure I completely bought the initial connection Detective JD Fitzpatrick felt for Lucy, it wasn’t at all difficult to believe the development of their relationship from there. So much happened in such a short space of time, it felt like weeks, not days. Plus, I liked both JD and Lucy so I was certainly cheering them on.
Given that this is a romantic suspense – and there is a fair amount of romance in the story – I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that JD and Lucy get their HEA – there’s even a nice little epilogue so we readers can be assured their relationship has what it takes not just to survive the pressure-cooker but also the everyday and long-term.
As for the suspense part of the equation, the villain is pretty dark and gruesome – as Karen Rose bad guys tend to be – there’s plenty of blood and gore, so it may not work for those with a low squick factor.
What else: As a reader, I read romantic suspense for the romance. I want the suspense to be internally consistent and the police procedures to be believable (which is code for consistent with Law & Order: SVU probably!!), but it isn’t my focus. For me, the suspense forms a setting for the development of the relationship. At the same time, I don’t want my hero and heroine to be having sex when they’re being shot at or when there’s a child missing or something. There is a lot of suspense in this book but Lucy and JD aren’t too stupid to live, so there weren’t any instances of either of them acting unprofessionally or foolishly just to get it on. Overall, I think I prefer a suspense book where the time frame is longer – I’m not generally a fan of insta-love – or where the h/h already know each other so the step into romance is a little more believable. That said, this book was very engaging, while not my favourite of hers (that would be Have You Seen Her I think) – I raced through it in only two days and it left me wondering why there are still one or two of her books in my TBR.