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Saturday, 16 June 2018

‘Death Is Not Enough’ by Karen Rose

HB. Published by Headline,
17 May 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-4406-2

It's hard to know what I like best about Karen Rose's thrillers. Is it the wealth of interesting characters, including plenty of tough, feisty women? Or the complex, multi-faceted plots with a new twist on every page? Or the riproaring sex scenes?

If pressed, I'd have to say none of the above. What I really love is that she doesn't just write thrillers – she creates whole worlds. In each of her mini-series, all set in different cities in the US, there's a large cast of characters whose lives come together in times of crisis, some new ones in each book, others centre stage in one novel and playing a supporting role or even providing background colour in another. Each leading character has a rich backstory, and there are always references to earlier traumas and adventures, some of which have already been played out in earlier novels in the series, some which just add to that background colour.

So, it is in the latest in her Baltimore series. New on the scene and pitched straight into the middle of the action are attorney Thomas Thorne and nightclub owner Gwyn Weaver. He had a narrow escape from a murder rap in his teens; she is recovering from a horrific kidnap and rape ordeal. Each has been secretly besotted with the other for years, but that's a side issue, though one which does give rise to a sizzling sex scene or two.

Thorne finds himself the victim of a relentless revenge plot, and it's up to his loyal group of friends, including ex-cops, other lawyers, security and IT experts and crack shots, to protect him despite the danger to themselves, and prove he is innocent of murder. The bad guy seems to be one step ahead all the time, and soon there's a body count to rival one of those horrendous real-life shooting sprees which make the US news all too often – though needless to say it all comes right in the end.

It's a doorstop of a book, which carries the usual Karen Rose health and sanity warning – it's definitely not one for the squeamish or faint-hearted. But it was certainly one for me; once I started I didn't want to put it down. I stayed up later than I should and forgot a couple of appointments along the way as I romped through it. Karen Rose really is a doyenne of thriller writers.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Karen Rose was born 29 July 1964 at Baltimore, Maryland USA. She was educated at the University of Maryland. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.” Her debut suspense novel, Don't Tell, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published fifteen more novels and two novellas. Alone in the Dark is her seventeenth novel.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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