REVIEW: Scream for Me by Karen Rose
I have 20!! copies of this great hardcover to giveaway. Drop a comment and let me know why you are interested in reading this book.
Dear Ms. Rose:
Congratulations on going hardcover. It’s a tough time to make the move, what with the cratering economy and all. Even before it cost be $10 to drive from home to work and back again everyday, I always held hardcover books to a higher standard. After all, at the increased price, the book had to be 3 times as good as other books because of the foregone opportunity cost. (e.g. I could buy 3 paperbacks at the price of 1 hardcover). While Scream for Me isn’t a perfect book, I’d still rather read it than three other romantic suspenses on the market.
Before I talk about what I liked (which was most everything, particularly the romance), I’ll state what I thought was the major flaw of the story. This book is part two of a set of three stories. The first is Die For Me and without having read it, I do wonder whether readers will be lost. The second problem I had with the story was the murky motivations of the villian. I can’t really state more without giving much of the mystery away, but I felt like his choice of victims weren’t consistent.
Daniel Vartanian is a special agent with the Georgia State police. He’s just been part of a high profile case where his brother, Simon, who had been presumed dead, had been caught killing a number of people in Philadelphia, including Daniel’s parents. Simon had a lot of secrets, some of which Daniel knew, but most he did not. The one secret that he knew was that Simon had photographed fifteen girls being raped. One of those girls was murdered thirteen years ago in Dutton, Georgia – Daniel’s hometown. When a body of a young woman is left wrapped in blanket in a ditch in Dutton with the details markedly similar to the previous murder, Daniel requests to be put on the case. He feels that perhaps he can find vindication for these unknown girls.
Alex Tremaine is the twin sister of the girl was who killed thirteen years ago. She had left Dutton after her sister’s murder and her mother’s suicide to go live in Ohio with her aunt’s family. But when her stepsister, Bailey, goes missing and leaves her four year old daughter alone, Alex returns to Dutton to face the demons of her past.
This is confusing when I write it out in this review, but it actually makes sense in the book. It’s a twisty and convoluted story of a villian who was done wrong and bided his time to gain revenge. His revenge is two fold, though, and that’s where it gets confusing. The two fold revenge is necessary to involve Alex and to ratchet up the conflict. Could it have been done differently and less confusing and still be full of suspense? Hard to say.
Because all of your past books have had themes, I looked carefully for the connecting thread here. Both Daniel and Alex suffer from survivor’s guilt and in some cases, it is warranted. They both suffered mightily as kids and escaped when they had the chance, not looking back. The failure to look back, the determination to keep running ended up hurting people close to them.
Alex and Daniel have great chemistry and even though this story takes place over a compressed period of time (a few days), I still believed in both their connection and their future together. I thought the sex scenes, which are so often contrived and somewhat superfluous, were very well placed and tender. I loved their first kiss.
He’d put his car in gear when the bungalow door opened and Alex stepped onto the porch and his breath caught in his throat. She wore a sensible robe that covered her from her chin to her toes. It should have made her look dowdy and plain, but all he could think about was what lay underneath. The wind had kicked up, tossing her glossy hair, and she scooped it back with one hand to stare at him across the tiny front yard.
There was no smile on her face. The thought registered as he killed his engine and crossed her yard, single-minded in his intent. To leave her, to drive on by, never entered his mind, only to have now what he’d wanted earlier, what the call from the Fun-N-Sun security chief had kept him from taking. He needed to see that wide-eyed wonder again, the look in her eyes when she’d finally understood what he wanted from her. He needed to see that she wanted him, too.
Without slowing for a greeting, he took the porch stairs in one step, took her face in his hands, covered her mouth with his, and took what he needed. She made a hungry sound deep in her throat and leaned up on her toes, trying to get closer, and the kiss exploded into motion and heat.
She let go of her hair and her robe to clutch at the lapels of his coat, propelling her mouth into his. Daniel let go of her face to pull her arms around his neck. He splayed his hands across her slender back and pulled until her body was flush against him and he took what he wanted as the wind whistled and screamed around them.
It had been too long, was all he could think, all he could hear over the wind and the pounding of his own pulse in his ears. Too long since he’d felt like this. Alive. Invincible. Too damn long. Or maybe never.
Alex and Daniel shared similar pasts, ones marked with tragedy, and they served as a good foil for one another. My blogging partner, Jayne, talks about how much she enjoys the “real guy” talk and there is certainly some of that in Scream for Me. In fact, the points of levity in this suspense book come from Daniel’s interaction with his male co-workers and friends.
Daniel watched her go, wishing he could make her sorrow and fear go away and a little guilty that he couldn’t quite get the picture of her in a proper bed out of his mind. He turned back to find Chase looking at him with scornful disbelief.
“You just couldn’t stay on that sofa, could you?”
Daniel couldn’t stop the grin that seemed to take over his face. “Actually, I did.”
Chase rolled his eyes. “Oh, for God’s sake, Daniel. On the sofa?”
Daniel shrugged. “It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.”
His eyes were that piercing blue that made her shiver. “You’re beautiful.”
“So are you. I hope I didn’t get you into any trouble, answering the phone like that.”
He got out of bed, stretching his shoulders one way and then the other while she watched for the simple pleasure of doing so. “No,” he drawled. “Chase already knew.”
Her eyes widened. “You told him? Daniel!”
“No,” he drawled again. “I’m a guy, Alex. When we have head-banging sex on a sofa, it’s written all over our faces. Everybody knows.”
The two leads are so likeable, even though they may have been less than responsible earlier on, that I could not wait for their happy ever after to arrive. They certainly deserved it.
I’ve read every book you’ve written so far (except for the novella) and I don’t think I’ve rated any lower than a B- (if that). Your consistency in writing good suspense paired with good romance is to be applauded. A-