Scream For Me and Kill For Me, by Karen Rose

>> Monday, May 04, 2009

TITLE: Scream For Me and Kill For Me
AUTHOR: Karen Rose

COPYRIGHT: 2008 and 2009 respectively
PAGES: 472 and 438
PUBLISHER: It's Headline in the UK

SETTING: Dutton, Georgia
TYPE: Romantic Suspense
SERIES: Yes, second and third in the Vartanian series, after Die For Me. If you haven't read that one, don't read on, as you'll find plenty of spoilers.

REASON FOR READING: Die For Me is probably my favourite Rose book so far.

Special Agent Daniel Vartanian has sworn to find the perpetrator of multiple killings that mimic a 13-year-old murder linked to a collection of photographs that belonged to his brother, Simon, the ruthless serial killer who met his demise in DIE FOR ME. Daniel is certain that someone even more depraved than his brother committed these crimes, and he's determined to bring the current murderer to justice and solve the mysterious crime from years ago.

With only a handful of images as a lead, Daniel's search will lead him back through the dark past of his own family, and into the realm of a mind more sinister than he could ever imagine. But his quest will also draw him to Alex Fallon, a beautiful nurse whose troubled past reflects his own. As Daniel becomes attached to Alex, he discovers that she is also the object of the obsessed murderer. Soon, he will not only be racing to discover the identity of this macabre criminal, but also to save the life of the woman he has begun to love.

Five teenage girls have been murdered. One survived, and only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence.

Susannah Vartanian and Luke Papadopoulos have both sworn to stop the murderers for their own reasons. Susannah, the sister of the hero in SCREAM FOR ME, suffers from a mysterious past that is connected to the sinister black market. Luke is an investigative agent and a computer expert who refuses to let another child predator get away.

Susannah and Luke are instantly attracted to each other, but their troubled pasts prevent them from immediately acting upon their feelings. The case will lead them to the shady realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask their identity. As Susannah and Luke draw closer to the criminals, they discover a chain of deception so intricate they don't know who to trust. Susannah and Luke find comfort in one another's arms, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and will take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact.
After Die For Me, I'm afraid these two were a bit of a disappointment. What I love so much about Karen Rose's books is that both the romance and suspense are very strong, and both are enjoyable. In Scream and Kill For Me, although both were strong, I didn't much enjoy the suspense bit.

Both books follow continuing stories, involving dastardly deeds related to one Simon Vartanian. He was introduced in the first book, which basically was an investigation into a string of crimes committed in... I want to say Massachussets?... by this guy. Those crimes were solved, but it was suggested, that they weren't the first committed by the sick, sick bastard. The next two books move to Dutton, Georgia, the Vartanians' home town, and star Simon's brother and sister, Daniel and Susannah, both of whom have been very much affected by Simon's crimes and their parents' tolerance of them.

My problem was I absolutely hated every single second spent in Dutton. Creepy Simon and his asshole friends had pretty much created a reign of terror there. It got to be just way overwhelming. It wasn't just the ridiculously high body count (there were quite a few deaths in Die For Me, as well), it was the fact that it seemed everyone with power in Dutton was corrupt and in the pocket of these little bastards. Everyone's evil, everyone's for sale, or at least, will cave under a bit of pressure and end up on the take. So different from Die For Me. That one was all about seeing a smart, professional police force painstakingly solve a complicated crime. The last two were about how solving relatively straightforward ones is pretty much impossible in a corrupt hellhole.

In the middle of all the shit and ugliness, however, the romances were still good. Daniel, Susannah and their respective partners are decent, brave people determined to right the wrongs of the past, and that I really liked.

MY GRADE: The romances were strong enough to make me give these books B-.


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