The winners of the Karen Rose, Scream for Me, Giveaway are listed below:
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-
Dear Ms. Rose:
Die for Me‘s theme was families–the families that we create and the families we are born with. Regardless of what you feel about your family, their actions can reflect on you.
Vito Ciccotelli, a detective from Philadelphia, comes from a large family. His parents are still alive. His brothers are very close, at least one of them has lived with him at one time or another. Vita has always believed that he would have a family as well. Vito is unafraid of love. To some extent he embraces it and what it would mean for the creation of his own family.
Sophie Johannsen, an archeologist, has a family is one that she created and was, in part, created for her. Her mother figure is her grandmother, a former famous opera singer. Her father figure is her uncle by marriage. Her view of families is understandably quite different than Vito’s and her own experience with love cost her a priceless commodity within the academic field – her reputation.
Sophie comes to Vito’s aid when a series of graves are found in a remote field. Sophie is charged with locating the graves and determining whether they are occupied or empty. The empty graves are of great concern.
The villian’s developmental arc also was family related. Families can be born of a bond of blood, of love and what one member of the family will do for others plays a vital part in the unraveling of the mystery and the creation of the relationship betwee Vito and Sophie. Thus, the mirroring effect strengthens the theme.
I always view keepers by their re-readability fator. It’s not one that I think I can re-read but it’s full of verys:
- very gruesome
- very tense
- very romantic. One scene features Vito doing something swoon worthy
The ending was a bit contrived. The story had little character development which I think is essential for a romance. There were some strong similarities in part of the suspense to one of my favorite mystery books, Monkeewrench by PJ Tracy. I also thought the epilogue was ovrly fecund but they’ve suffered so much, why not. B+
Dear Ms. Rose:
Having read four of your six releases, I feel confident in saying that you consistently deliver a good suspense with a believable romance. You regularly villianize certain professionals (defense lawyers and journalists), but your provocative themes along with strong characterizations make for a non stop reading adventure.
Tess Ciccotelli is a psychiatrist with a promising practice until her patients start killing themselves. What is worse is that her patients seemed to be driven to kill themselves by Dr. Tess herself. Evidence from the crime scenes show hallucinegetic drugs with her finger prints on it; her voice is recorded as taunting the victims. Dr. Tess becomes the prime suspect and her life begins to fall apart as the press villifies her and the licensing board begins to review her competency.
Aidan Regan is convinced that Dr. Tess is at fault for the murders of her patients and sets out to prove it. In the course of the investigation, Aiden’s thinking is changed and he begins to not only believe that Tess is a victim, but he begins to care for her. This makes the real killer all the more angry as the villian wants nothing more than to ruin Dr. Tess. When the police start believing Tess is not the killer, the real villian escalates the danger to Tess and to her loved ones.
No character is safe, even the nice ones, which adds to the heightened tension of the story. While the main protagonists may not be in jeopardy, people around them are–creating emotional havoc for the main characters and unease for the reader.
The one drawback in this book is that the characterizations, both of the villians and the good guys, are very heavy handed. These people have few nuances providing little moral ambiguity and taking away some of the realism the story could have had. As romantic suspense books go, though, the romance and the suspense are nicely balanced and the story speeds by. B.
Dear Ms. Rose:
Geez, I must have my head in the sand/dirt/whatever to have only just now started reading you. Apparently you won the 2005 RITA Award for Best Romantic Suspense. Having read this book, I can see why. This is a taut, on the edge of your seat kind of suspense with a really well done romance that never seemed to be overtaken by the suspense.
Kristen Mayhew is Assistant State Attorney who prosecutes alot of sexual crimes. She’s got a high winning percentage and like most lawyers not named Gerry Spence, she loses them too. A kind person has taken it upon himself to avenge her losses by killing the criminals who have gotten off on technicalities. He sends her evidence of his crime and addresses letters to her that sympathize with her losses.
Complicating the matter is an overzealous and unscrupulous reporter and the gang members of some victims and the mob-like father of a victim both of whom believe that Kristen must know the killer. All three endanger Kristen’s life in one way or another.
Abe Reagan is a man who suffered the loss of his wife and baby when a disgruntled criminal shot his wife. He went deep undercover to participate in a drug sting operation and when they closed in on the ring, his cover was blown. He’s transferred to homicide to deal with a prickly new partner. He then meets a prosecutor who stirs emotions inside him that were long dead.
Kristen is shown as strong, but emotionally vulnerable who recognizes that Abe might be just the person that her life has needed for so long. She doesn’t fight the attraction but is scared that her past will make it impossible to be a fulfilling partner. Abe sees that Kristen has been hurt in the past and allows her to set the pace. Abe manages to come off strong and capable without being overbearing; sensitive without being a wimp.
The only reason I give this book a B+ is because I didn’t want to read it again when I closed the book but I also couldn’t put it down. I felt that the “message” was very one sided. I.e., all those who are thought of as criminals are guilty. All the defense attorneys were bad, etc. It could have been a much more thought provoking book if it addressed the downside of vigilantism, i.e., that the vigilante could make a mistake and punish an innocent.
For the reader, excerpt here. I would say that lovers of Sandra Brown and Mariah Stewart would like these books. The romance thread is stronger and the bedroom door is more open. Bookseller Jolie informed me that these books have also been re-released with a $4.99 price tag.