Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Karen Rose

REVIEW:  Did You Miss Me? by Karen Rose

REVIEW: Did You Miss Me? by Karen Rose

Dear Ms. Rose:

In “Did You Miss Me?” part of the reason the romance works is because the characters have had unrequited feelings for each other prior to the start of the book.  The romance in the story basically consists of coming to an understanding of those feelings so that the romance can swim underneath the layer of suspense.  It works, but the suspense portion is the primary driver of the story.  The problem with the romance that had developed previously was that I could not recall the previous appearances of Joe and Daphne and felt like I had missed some of the romance already in progress.  Maybe I needed a “story so far” recap at the beginning.

Did You Miss Me coverJoseph Carter lost his wife on his honeymoon and for ten years he’s been dead until the moment than he spied Daphne Montgomery, assistant State’s Attorney. He watched her, quietly befriending her, and agreeing to a position that would allow him to be more in and around Baltimore. He did not, however, declare his feelings, ask her out or in any way convey to her that he was interested in her.  Now he believes that she is dating Baltimore private investigator, Clay Maynard.

When Daphne’s son is kidnapped and a cop aka bodyguard is killed, Joseph gets to play hero to Daphne. During the investigation, his feelings for Daphne are revealed.

I struggled in the beginning to keep track of everyone. There was a huge cast of characters. Daphne had a 20 year old son. The son had a girlfriend. The girlfriend had a sister. Daphne had a mother and a nanny. She also had two male father figures, one a former bodyguard of hers and another horse trainer. There is Clay Maynard, the PI, and his motley crew along with his own romantic interest. We also have Daphne’s boss, Grayson and his fiance, and so forth.

Because of the large cast of characters, it was difficult to keep track of everyone. Further, there are multiple points of view: Ford, the son; Daphne; Joseph; Clay; and the villain.  Further, Daphne was one of those characters whom couldn’t be tortured enough. Not only is she the subject of some villain’s evil focus, but her past is littered with tragedy including seeing a cousin raped, enduring a kidnapping, having her son kidnapped, and so forth.

While we know from the beginning there is a deep game being played by the villain, there was an overwhelming number of events taking place. The villain was so smart and savvy, but at one point he just kind of allows a core bit of his plan to be eroded. I thought the whodonit portion was well disguised and I vacillated back and forth as to who was the unnamed villain.   It kind of became crazed at the end and I felt like Daphne’s worst fear was never addressed.

I noticed some of the reviews complained about the overly sexual nature of the book but nothing of the sort registered for me.  I thought the romance was understated and given that Daphne’s son was kidnapped, any overt romance would have registered as discomfiting.  I thought the sex scenes that were included were tasteful and represented a level of comfort rather than crazy passion.

C+

Best regards,

Jane

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook Depository
REVIEW:  No One Left to Tell by Karen Rose

REVIEW: No One Left to Tell by Karen Rose

Dear Ms. Rose:

I don’t know exactly why I stopped reading your books. I used to love them and recommend them to readers frequently. It may have been the move to hardcover but whatever the reason was, I don’t think it was related to your writing. “No One Left to Tell” is an exciting, action filled romantic suspense story that centers around the alleged wrongful conviction of an innocent man. Ramon Munoz, the gardener for retired Senator James McCloud,   was convicted of murdering a young blonde woman on the estate of the retired Senator. While Munoz maintained his innocence, his alibi that he was at a bar drinking with a friend was broken when the friend and the bar owner testified against Munoz. His wife, Elena, never stopped believing in Ramon’s innocence but her pursuit of the truth gets her killed in dramatic fashion after being shot in the head by a sniper bullet.

No One Left to Tell by Karen RosePaige Holden is present at the scene and is given something by Elena with a whispered warning that “cops” are involved. Paige moved to Maryland to get away from bad memories, her well intentioned but suffocating friends and a lurking danger in Minneapolis. She is a PI in training with Clay Maynard who had suffered his own tragedy when his partner was killed a year earlier. Clay is not the main male protagonist. Instead it is Grayson Smith, a State’s attorney, who prosecutes violent crimes and was the prosecuting attorney in the Munoz case. Grayson is a legendary prosecutor with one of the highest conviction rates and he later learns that he was part of the manipulation around the conviction of Ramon Munoz.

The cast of characters is huge and somewhat extraneous. Clay, for example, is a bridge between previous books and a set up for a future one but the role he played in the book was inconsequential. There were times that he was even forgotten in scenes. In one particular scene, Grayson, Paige and Clay were all at a table together, discussing a matter and Clay didn’t say a word and was not referenced despite paragraphs of dialogue exchanged between Grayson and Paige.

The action is fast past and the time frame compressed. To make the romance believable, Grayson and Paige experience an instant attraction. The danger posed to the female main character places the two in close proximity for the entirety of the story. The lust thoughts seemed inappropriate at times and often crowded out space for other concerns such as why people were dropping like flies around them. There is a certain level of unbelievability in the story but because the action is so intense, while the reader is immersed in the story, none of that matters.

There is enough relationship conflict to appease romance readers brought on by Grayson’s belief that a passionate affair with Paige is all he can handle and Paige’s determination to not become intimate with anyone who she doesn’t feel there is long term potential. While past Rose books may have focused more on the mystery, this one had a fair balance between the romance, sexual attraction, and the mystery. Unlike some romantic suspense stories, the bedroom door is open.

As for the mystery, the pace at which the conclusions were uncovered by Grayson and Paige were generally in keeping with the rate of the clues. I appreciated the few red herrings designed to confuse the reader and there were only a couple of times in which I wished the two would hurry up and piece together their evidence and come to the right conclusion. It’s a good blend of action, mystery, and romance. B-

Best regards,

Jane

AmazonBNSonyKobo