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Sunday, 10 November 2019

‘Into the Dark’ by Karen Rose

Published by Headline,
14 November 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-6565-4 (HB)

After a trip to Baltimore and another to Sacramento, Karen Rose returns to Cincinnati for her latest 600-page blockbuster – and what a page-turner it is.

This time around it's the turn of IT expert and gentle giant Diesel Kennedy and life-damaged medic Dani Novak to get it together, complete with Rose's trademark steamy sex scene. But as always, there's a whole lot more to Into the Dark than the romantic interest. Dedicated Rose fans will be familiar with many of the characters on the side of the angels: crusading journalists Marcus and Stone, therapists Faith and Meredith, FBI agents Deacon, Kate and Decker all put in more than a passing appearance, and get involved in one of her most riveting plots yet. 

There's an intriguing twist: Cade Kaiser, the bad guy they spend most of the book hunting down has an agenda many people would find admirable. He tracks down and disposes of paedophiles, people-traffickers, domestic abusers, drug dealers: the kind of low-life anyone with a conscience regards as the scum of the earth. But he doesn't plan to get caught and has a much less admirable desire to 'snip loose ends'.

It's his own conscience which places him in the sights of police, FBI, and even more unfortunately for him, Diesel Kennedy, who comes to the rescue of one of Kaiser's targets. Teenager Michael Rowland saw Kaiser deal with one of his victims, and rapidly becomes one of those loose ends.

Karen Rose weaves multiple themes into the thrilling chase which ensues. Dani Novak's personal emotional baggage includes being HIV positive through no fault of her own; Diesel has buried his own baggage, childhood trauma at the hands of a paedophile, and it comes back to bite him; Michael Rowland suffers from Waardenburg's Syndrome (as do Dani and her brothers) and is profoundly deaf; both Michael and his five-year-old brother Joshua are victims of domestic abuse. So, it's hardly surprising the book is Rose's usual doorstop size. But it's still a page-turner you won't want to put down, from the opening scene in dark, atmospheric woodland through multiple episodes in a variety of well-realized locations to the final, joyous moments filled with laughter, babies and cake. 

Like every Karen Rose novel I've read, it has a little of everything: romance (and great sex!), suspense, a modicum of gore; characters who will soon become like family to the regular reader; and the kind of twisty, complicated plot that interferes with sleep and everyday routine because you can't bear to put it down. Definitely a book for a bad weather weekend.
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 twenty-four more novels. 

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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