When I talk about a series of linked books done well I usually refer to Karen Rose’s work. Rose is an author I discovered a decade or so ago and think I’ve mentioned before that I mapped out some of the relationships between the characters in her early series to ensure I read her books in the right order (given that I started after she had published quite a few).
Essentially what she did was include a couple of key characters with a few peripheral characters playing minor roles. And it’s one of those characters who’d pop up in the next book. Yes indeed…. every child wins a prize. She did however – back then – only write a few books in each series and (from memory) any characters we met before played pretty minor roles next time around.
This book is billed as the fourth in her linked series based in Cincinnati. As a result it features quite a few characters readers have met before. And when I say quite a few, I mean shitloads. And in non-technical speak, I mean there were – I think – a few too many.
Edge of Darkness
by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati #4
Published by Headline
on November 2nd 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 1472245830, 9781472245830
Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he's worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.
But someone doesn't want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself the target of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for Meredith, but they'll soon find out the killer is just a little too close to home...
I enjoyed this book so the only negative for me was the fact there were so many characters in peripheral roles that the whole thing felt incestuous. Everyone was paired off with one another. I suspect we’ve met them through other books in the series but I actually found it quite ridiculous and – at times – overwhelming. Sure… bring back a character or two from a previous book, to tie them together (when introducing new leads in each book), but to include a dozen or so people – many of whom were not in pivotal roles and not really necessary to the plot – meant it was just confusing.
I assumed almost all of those in the book had previously had their own ‘leading role’ opportunity in one of the previous books… though there were one or two not-yet-together people who I’m sure will be back next time around.
I got distracted wondering who the cops were vs the FBI agents, vs the domestic violence workers, the doctors, the journalists, the animal shelter staff. SO. MANY. PEOPLE.
That aside, I enjoyed the plot, was mostly kept guessing and very much liked our two lead characters. Rose can be pretty much relied on to offer a good balance between romance and suspense, which this non-reader-of-romance appreciates. And she doesn’t get too entrenched in sex scenes. In fact she gives us the sense she’s written about them but doesn’t in any detail (so there’s no crass vs flowery boinking dilemma). It’s actually quite perfect.
I did cringe a little at some of the romantic elements and the cliched protective manly men and (empowered yet) distressed damsels. And are people ever really that besotted?!! And of course I realise that’s my own cynical perception about love, life and the universe in general filtering through…
Other than the overwhelming number of players it’s pretty easy to dive into this series part-way through as we’re given new leads in each new book. I’m fairly sure I’ll have forgotten who’s who by the time the next book comes out but I know that won’t matter and I’ll enjoy it nonetheless.
Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose was published in Australia by Hachette and is available now.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.