You Belong To Me, by Karen Rose

>> Saturday, November 03, 2012


TITLE: You Belong To Me
AUTHOR: Karen Rose

COPYRIGHT: 2011
PAGES: 480
PUBLISHER: Headline

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romantic suspense
SERIES: None (although there are some recurring characters)

DISTURBING

When forensic pathologist Lucy Trask stumbles across a mutilated body in her local Baltimore park, its face unrecognisable, her sole concern is that it might be her old school teacher Mr Pugh.

DESTRUCTIVE

On identification Lucy is shocked to discover that the victim is actually another man from her past. Who killed him and why he was left for Lucy to find is unclear but what appears to be a number ‘1’ burned into his back proclaims that this corpse won’t be the last.

DEADLY

The discovery of a second body – also branded on the back – raises worrying questions: how many more lives may be at risk before the killer’s real intent is revealed? And can Lucy solve the killer’s gruesome puzzle before his thirst for revenge is complete?
As the story begins, Baltimore Medical Examiner Lucy Trask arrives home to discover a body, left right where she would find it. It turns out it's someone who was connected to her in the past. And so was the second body. Each of the bodies has a number branded on it, making it clear that they're not isolated incidents, and the killer is not finished. And what's also clear is that something in Lucy's past holds the key to the solution.

Karen Rose was a revelation when I first discovered her books, but in the past couple of years, I've kind of gone off her a little bit. Her books have become a bit too grimy and gritty for my taste, the violence and ugliness a bit too horrific and the body count too high. Case in point, this one.

Oh, it was very competently done. The puzzle element of the mystery was really good, and right till the end, I wanted to know what would happen. Rose is excellent at setting up the situation and then giving us small clue after small clue, allowing us to keep up with her detectives, who as always, are clever and know what they're doing. So I enjoyed the whodunnit element, even as I felt slightly sickened by the results.

Rose is also one of the very few people who can pull off a romance in the context of such a dark suspense plot, without making it feel inappropriate. This one wasn't one of her most successful, mainly because I didn't quite get Lucy (there was a bit of WTF with her secret life and her secrets in general), but JD Fitzpatrick, the detective she falls in love with was a great character. I especially liked that he was a lot kinder and gentler than the rough, burnt-out cops I'm used to in romantic suspense. From the moment he shows up on the scene he's polite. He's nice. He's also only just started in homicide, so he's very much junior to his female partner, and I loved their relationship. JD does have a lot of experience as a cop, and in Narcotics, no less, so it's not like he's a fresh-faced rookie, but still, it made for a character who was different from the usual.

So, all in all, an ok book. Not amongst Rose's best (which are her early ones, IMO), but solid enough.

MY GRADE: A B-.

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