I've been a fan of Ms Rose for a few years already, but the book that really made a difference was Count to Ten. With that book, Ms Rose became an auto-buy author for me and I've been stalking her book releases ever since.
Kill For Me is the last book of the Varthanian family trilogy. The first two books are Die For Me and Scream For Me and HAVE to be read, especially Scream For Me, in order to be able to follow the storyline.
Kill For Me by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in February 2009 (Hardcover format)
Five teenage girls have been murdered. A sixth girl survived, and only she can reveal the secrets of a ring that kidnaps and sells teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain the girl's silence.
Susannah and Luke have sworn to stop the murderers for their own reasons. Susannah, the sister of the hero in Scream for Me, suffers from a mysterious past that is connected to the sinister black market. Luke is an investigative agent and a computer expert who refuses to let another child predator get away.
Susannah and Luke are instantly attracted to each other, but their troubled pasts prevent them from immediately acting upon their feelings. The case will lead them to the realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask their identity. As Susannah and Luke draw closer to the criminals, they discover a chain of deception so intricate they don't know who to trust.Susannah and Luke find comfort in one another's arms, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and will take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact.
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Varthanian family trilogy, Book #3
The Story: Kill For Me's beginnings actually overlap with the end of Scream For Me where Susannah and Luke were able to rescue Bailey and a Jane Doe. While the case Susannah's brother, Daniel, was working on is closed, another has opened as the GBI discovers the bodies of 5 teenage girls where Bailey and other victims were held captive. When Luke recognized one of the girls, they soon come to the realization that they are facing a human-trafficking organization and some members are linked to the rapes cases that Daniel was working on.
Now, it's a race against time as the human-trafficking organization stays one step ahead of them. All they have to go on for this case is the Jane Doe that is unable to speak, the clues they gathered at the crime scene and... the Varthanians and especially Susannah's past.
My Opinion: Wow. This is definitively the wowzer I have been looking for :) I started that book last Thursday night at around 8pm and just couldn't put it down. As a result, I went to bed at 1.30am (very bad for my productivity LOL). While I didn't really like the theme of the book (human-trafficking/prostitution), Kill For Me was definitively a great book: great, amazing storyline and very fast-paced... and also a bit scary.
The best part of this book was definitively the storyline. It's amazing how Ms Rose connected the three books together. We started off with the case in Die for Me which seemed "simple" and all thought it was closed at the end... but it wasn't, it was connected to something bigger - the rapes cases in Scream For Me which in turn led to something even bigger in Kill For Me. Most surprisingly, this was done very subtlely by Ms Rose and I absolutely did not see it coming. It's not simply connecting these three books, but all the clues and foreshadowings that Ms Rose did, how she linked and tied up everything... Wow, it was just true genius from Ms Rose!
The story is very fast-paced and one thing keeps happening after another. It's so compelling that you don't want to put this book down. I can't go into details about the case, because that would give it away. All I can say is this book is very compelling and to a certain extent, scary. After reading Kill For Me, I'll make sure to never do anything wrong or have bad habits or closet secrets that can be used against me. It's scary how you can be blackmailed or manipulated... You read, or at least I did, about a dark world that you're not aware is out there and never want to face it. Seriously, sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
All right, so now, let's talk about romance. Kill For Me was very light on romance compared to the previous two books or Count to Ten. One reason perhaps is that Ms Rose focused on the case and wrapping up everything. The second reason is the characters themselves. Both are haunted - Luke by his job with the internet sex crimes, and Susannah being a victim of sexual assaults. In that way, I'm glad that Ms Rose did not rush and force the romance aspect of this book, because with the time length of this book, it would not have been believable.
Speaking of the characters, I think they were the weakness in this book. I liked Luke. I think he was a good guy, very patient and considerate, very brave also. His job is definitively not easy and he cares and that makes him a very good guy. He was also sweet, kind... and sinfully sexy (LOL, you'll get that when you read the book). The problem is Susannah. I had a hard time connecting to her or even just warming up to her. She's a smart woman and was very brave despite her tragic past... however, she always seemed remote which is understandable... The fact is though, nobody likes "martyr" characters, no matter what their past is ^_^; In addition, I didn't really like the way she blamed Daniel for not being there to protect her. Perhaps she was right to blame him, but it just didn't work for me.
As a result, readers might be a bit disappointed because of the little amount of romance and characterization. Given the time frame of the book (3 days), it makes sense though and makes the book more believable. Also, a warning - this book is definitively not for the faint- hearteds. First, there's the subject - human-trafficking. There are talks about rapes as well. There's torture and the death count is very high.
All in all, Kill For Me is definitively not an easy, breezy book, but a great, compelling read nonetheless. It still comes a bit short when compared to Count to Ten in my opinion, just because Count to Ten was more balance and the characters, better developed and more likable. However, it gets bonus points for the plot and the whole trilogy storyline.
My Grade: A. Ms Rose definitively does not disappoint with Kill For Me. It was great and now, I have to wait till August for I Can See You, her next release. So far away...