Hopefully, it'll give me a bit more time to get back in a blogging and blog-hopping rhythm :) Lately, I don't have much time to do so at work... and once I get home, I'm a bit too tired to do all I want to do... So both my blogging and blog-hopping have suffered and I don't like it one bit :(
Okay, enough whining LOL. Here is my review for Silent Scream by one of my favorite author, Karen Rose :)
Silent Scream by Karen Rose
published by Grand Central Publishing in June 2010
Four college students believed they were making a statement. They were activists, fighting to preserve the environment by burning down a new apartment complex. But they didn't realize that someone was watching. A blackmailer hides in plain sight, using people's secrets for personal gain, and when this criminal sets his sights on the four young arsonists, he begins his most deadly game yet.
Firefighter David Hunter is devastated when he's too late to save a teenage girl from a Minneapolis fire. Authorities soon discover that it was a case of arson and homicide detective Olivia Sutherland and her partner Kane are assigned to the case. David and Olivia shared a night of passion some time ago, and sparks fly when they are drawn to one another again. But just as they begin to revisit that fateful night and address the events that tore them apart, David and Olivia are forced to pursue the blackmailer, whose horrific plans threaten to destroy those closest to them.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Book #11 (books are loosely connected to each other)
The Story: There is a different blurb on Ms Rose's website and the back of the book, but I thought this one described the story better :)
A teenage girl dies in an arson and detective Olivia Sutherland is assigned the case. For the past couple of months, Olivia has had a hard time doing her job... mainly because she cannot get the picture of the body pit out of her mind. In the last book, I Can See You, the MPD caught a serial killer who has been dumping the bodies of his victims in a pit for the last decade. Olivia and her partner were the unlucky ones who had to sift through the remains and inform the relatives of their losses. Let just say that the assignment has taken a toll on Olivia and she's been queasy around bodies lately... not very good for a homicide detective. The case becomes personally more complicated when she discovers David Hunter's firefighter company responded to the call and that she'll have to work closely with David.
Two and a half years ago, Olivia and David met during Olivia's half-sister's wedding and felt an instant connection to each other. They shared a night of passion... until a drunk David called out another woman's name. Olivia promptly ran back to Minneapolis while David was left wondering if it was all a dream. Then, seven months ago, David moved to Minneapolis and Olivia has been waiting for him to make the first step. Finally seizing his opportunity, David does so in the midst of the investigation where Olivia and her team find out that this case is much more complicated than what it appeared to be.
My Opinion: Wooohooo, we finally get David Hunter's story!!! Seriously, I thought the day would never come LOL and I was so happy to find out that his heroine was Olivia :)
Okay, enough fangirlish moment :) Where to start? Well first, I'm going to draw your attention to other bloggers' reviews for Silent Scream. I don't usually do this, but I think everyone had an interesting view of Silent Scream and it will probably cover whatever I forgot to mention, LOL :) So here are Holly's review, Lori's review and Kris' review. Now onto mine :)
I really think that Ms Rose is the queen of romantic suspense. Long time fans will definitively be satisfied with Silent Scream and she is sure to acquire new fans :) Every element that makes a Karen Rose book is present in Silent Scream: great characters, good romance and intricate plot. I mean seriously, how can you not love David Hunter. He's been making appearances since Ms Rose's first book, Don't Tell, and definitively left a strong impressions on readers. He's handsome, handy with tools, knows his way around the kitchen, nice and gentle... the perfect man and definitively swoon-worthy material :) Yet, there are deeper layers that I didn't expect. Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about that... just because I don't think Ms Rose had those layers planned out when she introduced David's character in Don't Tell. It hasn't been foreshadowed much; however, it fits with what happened in the past and explain David's personality. David is really a great guy, a gentle soul and so deserving of an HEA ending. To see him yearning for it and yet, blunder his opportunities with Olivia is both heart-breaking, but also shows how human he is. It also demonstrates that you cannot always be nice and considerate... that at time, you have to be a bit more forceful and seize your opportunity. David is very lucky to have gotten a second chance with Olivia... which makes me like her even more :) Olivia is a good heroine. She's strong but has her vulnerabilities and issues, which makes her cautious, but not overly. She has a social life and loves her work. All she's missing is someone to share her life with, but she's still reeling from the past hurts and taking her time. I liked that. I liked that she's doing her things at her own pace and that she is her own person.
What I enjoyed the most about the romance was that once they stopped dancing around each other, David and Olivia communicated. Yes, talked and listened. It doesn't sound like much, but nowadays in romance, it's huge LOL. They didn't shout and get angry, instead they listened and tried to understand. It's obvious that David and Olivia wanted this relationship and wanted to make it work. If you think about it, their relationship is a weird one... They shared one week-end, spent a night together and actually talked to each other once more... and then, they have watched each other for almost two and a half years. Yet, they know and understand each other so well :) It was a very nice romance and quite different from anything else I've read :)
As for the plot, I really enjoyed it :) Ms Rose's plots are always complex, convoluted and Silent Scream is no exception. Early on, the readers discover that Silent Scream is going to be more than an arson case, yet I wasn't prepared for some of the twists. I also liked the fact that Ms Rose spent time to develop her villains. Some of them are so naive ^_^; but others, totally bone-chilling and evil. Something else I like about this plot is that it involves a current trend, free Wi-Fi connection. It sounds silly and insignificant, but not only it raises awareness, but in my opinion, it allows readers to connect more to the story, relate to their real life. I mean, free Wi-Fi connection... it's so banal... You don't think it can be dangerous ^_^;
I think another thing that makes Ms Rose books stand out is the investigation part. I like seeing the ongoing investigation, how they connect the dots, the work it involves, the distribution of tasks, the procedures and the clock ticking... The only series that does it better is perhaps the In Death series by J.D. Robbs aka Nora Roberts. It's thrilling and increases the suspense levels when it's well done :)
Unfortunately, Silent Scream was not perfect. I did have an issue with it and that was the pacing. I was not sitting on the edge while reading Silent Scream, not trying to the turn the pages as fast as I could. It was a good book with a good suspense, but not as intense as some of Ms Rose's previous books such as Count to Ten, Scream for Me or Die for Me. Personally, I think it had to do with the length of the book and the balance between the suspense and the romance. This is going to sound weird, because that is one of the thing I complain the most, balance between the plot and the romance. It's really difficult to get it right and please everyone. In the past few books, Ms Rose has been more heavy on the suspense than the romance... in Silent Scream though, I think she got it right. The romance was prominent and satisfying... but while the suspense was fast-paced due to the investigation and short timeline (3 days), the romance was slow-paced because it involved a lot of talking and listening. As a result, it created an imbalance in the pacing. Silent Scream clocks just under 600 pages and has a timeline of 3 days, yet it felt much longer than that due to the romance. I'm not saying I wanted less romance because it's not the case. I'm really happy that David and Olivia romance wasn't short-changed... but I do think that Silent Scream was as intense and powerful as other books because of it ^_^;
Oh, another thing I wasn't totally fond of is how David and Tom went after the villain, but neither is a cop. I mean, David is a firefighter yes, but quoting Tom: "We need a damn gun." LOL, although it did surprise the villain in the showdown at the end! If it was a heroine, it would totally be in the TSTL category... but since David has faced many situations in the past, it's not totally TSTL. Yes, the dreaded double-standard :P So while not entirely TSTL, it wasn't very smart either... hence the not fond of it :P
Finally, I'm happy the story took place in Minneapolis and we got to see some familiar faces :) I also thought David's mother presence was nice. Ms Rose seems to be building up the Minneapolis entourage with some interesting characters. I guess this mean she will come back to Minneapolis in the future and I'm glad ;)
My Grade: B+. I really enjoyed the book - David and Olivia, their relationship and the plot. I'm really happy about David finding his HEA ending and his character and story didn't disappoint. However, I think the fact that Silent Scream wasn't as intense really affected my reading experience. I've been wavering between B+ and A-... If I break down everything, the story, characters, etc., it would be an A-... but the reading experience was really a B+, so that's what I'm going with.
I'm definitively looking forward to Ms Rose's next release :) Apparently, she's introducing a new team from Baltimore :) I'm looking forward to meeting them... that will give time for Tom Hunter to grow :P Can't wait for his story... and I hope Murphy is going to get his soon :)