Scream For Me by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in May 2008 (Hardcover)
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.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: For Me trilogy, book #2
The Story: The blurb isn't bad, but maybe a bit confusing... So here is my version. We first meet Daniel Vartanian in Die For Me, where he's looking for his parents. However, his parents were already killed by Daniel's younger brother, Simon, who has faked his death a decade ago. At the end of the book, Simon was killed during the "arrest."
Scream For Me picks up the story one week after Daniel and his younger sister, Susannah, have buried their parents in their hometown, Dutton. Coming back on duty as a GBI agent, the first case Daniel catches is one where the victim as been raped, wrapped in a brown blanket, her face beaten beyond recognition and with a key tied around her toe... exactly like Alicia Tremaine was found 13 years ago. Since the murderer is behind bars, Daniel is faced with a copy-cat murder.
Alex Fallon is Alicia's twin. 13 years ago, after the death of Alicia, their mother committed suicide and Alex was found unconscious after swallowing a bottle of prescription pills. Luckily for Alex, her aunt and cousin took her away from this tragic place. However, Alex left behind her her stepsister, Bailey. With almost no contact for the past 13 years, it comes as a shock to Alex when she gets a phone call from the social worker stating that Bailey has disappears and Alex is the emergency contact for Hope, Bailey's daughter. Then, Alex hear about the body that is discovered in the same condition as her sister... Coincidences?...
My Opinion: Okay, from the synopsis/blurb, you can probably deduce that this storyline is quite complex and can be, at times, confusing. At the same time, it is excellent :D
I have to say, I love Daniel. He's the straightforward and honest kind of man with a heavy sense of justice. You can see that knowing what his brother did and not able to do anything for the victims has weighted a lot on him. He's also the type of man who will shoulder all the responsibilities and take in all the faults, even if it's not his. He's also quite protective, but without overdoing it. I also really enjoyed Alex. She has a past, but she overcame it and became her own person. Sure, her past still haunts her from time to time, but who can blame her? She's become a very strong woman and is still capable of emotions and attachment. What I mean is that her past hasn't crippled her, which takes even more courage and strength. I love the chemistry between Daniel and Alex. Both has been through a lot of pain and suffering: Alex from survivor's guilt and Daniel, because of his strong sense of justice; however, it did not break them. It made them wary, more susceptible but at the same time, stronger. Their romance happened quickly, but I think that they complement each other so well that you can't help but root for them.
Although I very much enjoyed Daniel and Alex, I have to admit that the strength of this novel was the plot. I thought it was strong with a lot of suspense. It wasn't easy to figure it out. I usually don't read the villains' POV, but in this case, you should. I don't have words to describe how intricate the plot is. Holly said in her review: "The plot kept twisting and turning, until an intricate and delicate web had been woven around the characters. Just when I thought I'd figured out what was going on, the scene would shift and I'd be back at square one." and she was totally right. It's an engrossing plot and I think that the motives and reasonings behind were realistic.
Other things I like? Riley, Daniel's dog. He's just so cute... in a sad way LOL :) Also, the camaraderie between Daniel and the other agents... Ms Rose really tried to make it realistic, adding some subtle touches like Dr. Berg seeming to have a crush on Daniel, but distancing herself once he's with Alex. I also liked how Daniel's superior, Chase, wasn't a jerk. For some reason, it's so rare. Instead, he was understanding and backed up his agents 100%.
There's little that I didn't enjoy. The only thing nagging me is the fact that there is some loose ends, but I guess those will be tied up in Kill For Me. Also, a warning, this book is gruesome and gory. Think Kay Hooper FBI SCU trilogy, especially Blood Dreams, gory.
My Grade: A. This is an excellent romantic suspense and Ms Rose doesn't disappoint for her first hardcover release. I'm definitively looking forward to the next release, Kill For Me, even if I'm not fond of Susannah who I believe is going to be the heroine.