Review of “Scream for Me” by Karen Rose

This book falls into the genre of “romantic suspense,” a genre I ordinarily eschew. But I won this book in a contest, so there it was, calling out to me from my TBR pile. It was interesting to realize that if you excised all the scenes involving “romantic” encounters between “ruggedly handsome” Daniel Vartanian and “beautiful, full-lipped” Alexandra “Alex” Fallon, you’d still have a pretty good suspense novel AND not really notice the difference.

Daniel Vartanian (of ruggedly handsome fame) is a Special Agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, called in to help with a brutal murder in Arcadia, Georgia because the locals lack the resources to deal with it. It is immediately clear that the case is a copycat crime of one committed thirteen years previously, when Alicia Tremaine was found dead in a ditch.

Alicia’s twin, Alex, was seriously traumatized by the crime, although, as indicated above, she managed to grow up to be beautiful and full-lipped. As if the brutal murder of her sister weren’t enough, it was quickly followed by her mother’s apparent suicide. Alex’s aunt took her away to live in Ohio. Alex, now 29 and a nurse, comes back to Arcadia because her stepsister Bailey is missing. Alex is afraid Bailey is a victim of the copycat killer and contacts Daniel.

Daniel too has a painful family history, and he and Alex bond at once, first spiritually, then physically. The descriptions of sex were kind of cheesy but displayed two attributes I appreciated: (1) a dearth of anatomical descriptions; and (2) Daniel uses a condom: yay!

Meanwhile, bodies continue to turn up apace in various ditches around town, all exhibiting the same modus operandi. Will Daniel, Alex, and the others involved figure out what is going on before they all end up dead?

Evaluation: We know the killer’s name and mindset from the very beginning, as he speaks in alternate chapters along with other characters, some of whom are identified and some not. In spite of the reader being fairly well-informed, the level of suspense stays high in the book, and it also manages to be rather scary, even though there isn’t much in the way of graphic description (thank Heavens). I came away with the impression that if the author sacrificed the “romantic” part, which would include ditching the provocative title and cover, she could attain mainstream acceptability, i.e., among that part of the mainstream that enjoys books about serial killers preying on women.

Rating: 3/5

Published by Grand Central, 2008


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18 Responses to Review of “Scream for Me” by Karen Rose

  1. Jenners says:

    Oh…to grow up full-lipped and beautiful .. but not haunted by the death of my sister and other such things.

    I loved your review! : )

  2. JoAnn says:

    “Romantic suspense”… I just learned a new genre! Maybe not for me, but I certainly enjoyed the review.

  3. Julie P. says:

    It’s funny but on the few occasions where I have read romantic suspense, I always wonder why the romance is thrown in. It can seem somewhat contrived to me!

  4. how does so much woe befall one woman? i don’t know if i’d have the strength to get up in the morning let alone be a full-lipped vixen on top of it!

    i just finished listening to an audiobook that featured a few sex scenes that were cringe-worthy. all kinds of talk of pulsing and throbbing which was funny when i forced my hubby to listen for a minute. beyond that, i had to skip the scenes because i was driving around with my face aflame! i’m such a puritan, right? lol.

  5. Barbara says:

    It’s a shame when a book that could be a good read is spoiled by throwing in cheesy sex and bodice-ripper language. I won’t be reading this one.

  6. Sandy says:

    I don’t need this when I have plenty of sex in my normal murder mysteries! Ever read the Stone Barrington series? Holy crap, that guy is lucky none of his unmentionable appendages have fallen off. I think being full-lipped naturally is overrated anyways. That type of beauty is one injection away.

    • This is so funny, I read this part first: “I don’t need this when I have plenty of sex” and I thought, wow! That Sandy really has no inhibitions!!! :–)

  7. Steph says:

    Man, the title of this book paired with the cover art… wowser!

    Perhaps you should do a giveaway for this one where you challenge those interested to mock up an alternate cover for this one that would make it seem less cheesy! 😉

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    I like a good romantic suspense, but when it’s not done well…well, it sounds like this book!

  9. Margot says:

    I agree with Stacy. I love a well-done romantic suspense. If the biology gets too graphic, I skip the pages – unless it’s audio. Don’t do romance- anything romance- in audio. I liked you review. Fun.

  10. Staci says:

    I like serial killers preying on women books…I think I’m twisted!

  11. bermudaonion says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read romantic suspense, but I have one of Karen Rose’s books in my TBR pile – maybe I’ll just skip the romantic scenes as I read it.

  12. Love your reference to safe sex! I get so turned off to the tawdry covers of books like this. I would not consider reading it if I didn’t read your review. I also avoid this genre. Thanks for your insight.

  13. softdrink says:

    I’m reading a biography of Abigail Adams and East of Eden…let me know when you want your brain back.

  14. Madeleine says:

    Hey! I’ve awarded your blog the “One Lovely Blog Award” on my blog, Wordbird! Take a look!

  15. Alyce says:

    Descriptive romantic terms in novels, especially those of the “romance” genre, make me chuckle. I don’t know if that means that I’m especially immature or not, but I have been known to laugh my way through romance books when in the right mood. I haven’t read much romantic suspense though.

  16. mhari says:

    I have read all of Karen Rose books after been giving one on holiday. I love them I do not think that the romance spolis the suspense in the stories. I have a few favourites but the two i would recommend first are you cant hide and i can see you. Most of her books are based around the same characters and You become involved. You do not have to have read the previous book to be able to read the next. I would recommend that some at least give her books a chance.

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