It's no secret that one of my favorite author is Karen Rose. I've always enjoyed her romantic suspense books... they are thrilling, scary, a bit gory and the romance is always satisfying. I had most of her backlist already, having enjoyed Don't Tell, I've been keeping my eye out :) So Have You Seen Her? has been sitting on my shelves for a couple of years... and to tell the truth, I've completely forgot about it... till the other day when I was talking with Kris.
Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in February 2004
DO YOU LOVE HER?Genre: romantic suspense
One by one, the girls disappear from their beds at night. Each one is pretty, with long, dark hair. And each one is found brutally murdered.
DO YOU MISS HER?
Special Agent Steven Thatcher has sworn to find the serial killer preying on this small town. As the investigation pulls him one way, his family pulls him in another. A widower haunted by loss, he now worries about his son Brad slipping away. But there's a bright light in his life; his son's teacher, Jenna Marshall, has reached out to help. She's beautiful, kind, and considerate— and slowly, tentatively, she and Steven are starting to fall in love. But both have been hurt before— badly. And as the two try to find the courage to bare their souls, a murderer who has slain many looks for the real treasure he craves. He sets his traps. And waits. For Jenna . . .
HAVE YOU SEEN HER?
Series: Loosely connected to Don't Tell
The Story: The back blurb does a good job at summarizing the book. Basically, Special Agent Steven Thatcher is assigned a case of missing girls that are found murdered and mutilated. Steven has a lot on his plate lately and being a widower is not easy. His youngest son still suffers from being kidnapped a few months ago and therefore, doesn't sleep through the night and surely not in a bed. His oldest son, Brad, is now rebelling against him and his aunt is trying to match him with eligible women... only his middle son seems normal. The last thing Steven wants nor expects is to find a woman whom he is attracted to... which is exactly what happens once he meets Brad's teacher, Jenna Marshall.
Jenna Marshall's life is no piece of pie either. Her fiancé died two years ago of testicular cancer and moving on proves to be hard, especially since his family holds commemoration supper in his honor. She's just suspended the star quarterback from playing because he's failing her class and thus, is being harassed by students and parents... and her ace student is now failing. The last thing she needs is a man in her life... however, that's exactly what she gets.
However, a relationship with Steven isn't easy. What with his job, her ghost, his shadows and the current investigation... and then, it's a race to the finish when Steven realizes that Jenna is the ultimate target.
My Opinion: I enjoyed this book. It's not my favorite of her books, but it's not the worst either. I thought the case was really interesting and quite frankly, I didn't see it coming.
Personally, I enjoyed Steven and Jenna's relationship and chemistry. I think they went well together. I can understand how some readers would be annoyed at Steven. Yes, he was very suspicious, jealous and protective... However, I can understand wher he comes from. His wife really did a number on him. What I liked is that Jenna stood up to him. She called his BS every time and made him explain his behavior and his actions. She did not just continue their relationship because Steven apologized prettily. I also really loved how at the end, she decided to slow down their relationship and have a proper courting. Going out on dates and so on.
Ms Rose did a great job, developing Jenna and Steven's characters. I enjoyed seeing them with their family and friends. Seeing how they interact with others. I think that in many books, the H/H are often restricted to each other only... however, Ms Rose really did have a big cast in this book, but she balanced it well. I'd have like to know a bit more about Steven's past though, I think... LOL, the fact that he wanted to become a priest :P
As usual, the case was great. I don't think that Ms Rose ever had a boring case in all of her books. They are always complex and intriguing. I'm not super fond of the Seattle cop, but it worked. Personally, I really enjoyed Steven's team... the forensic guy and Steven's partner and I hope Ms Rose decides to re-visit them.
I have to admit though, what I really liked in this book was Steven's three sons :) Authors have a tendency to write very cute children or too-old-for-their-age children or complete brats... However, very often, they don't feel real... However, in Have You Seen Her? I thought Steven's three sons were very realistic and great fun as well. Brad's anger, Nicky's solemness and Matt's hungriness :)
So yes, I enjoyed the book and its characters a lot; however, I didn't really connect with the case and Steven. Although I understood why Steven reacted the way he did, at certain times, I thought he should move on... As for the case, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next or guessing who it was. However, I was more interested in the relationships and the romance.
My Grade: As a result, I'm giving this book a B for the reason stated above. Like I said, not my favorite book, but not the worst either :) If you're in the mood for a good romantic suspense, this is it :)