It’s been a while since I’ve read any novels by Karen Rose, though I love her books. At one point I’d read so many I had to map them (and their interrelated characters) out – which you can do by accessing her author site!
I would have easily read this latest release in a sitting if my iPad’s battery hadn’t died on me. I very much enjoyed this book and her series are akin to a comfort read for me. Rose (like Nora Roberts) is adept at offering up likeable characters, interesting plot and a good balance between romance and suspense.Monster in the Closet
by Karen Rose
Series: Baltimore #5
Published by Headline
on June 1st 2017
ISBN: 1472244613, 9781472244611
Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.
Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter's stables so that she can observe the program's security director - her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she's getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne's handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons.
As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.
Interestingly however, the thing I like about Rose’s books is also probably one of their biggest weaknesses – which is the interrelatedness and inclusion of an array of unnecessary characters. But more on that later.
This book actually opens with 11yr old Jazzie witnessing her mother’s murder (well the aftermath anyway). We next meet Jazzie and her (5yr old) sister Janie a month later. Both girls are traumatised and Jazzie, in particular, hasn’t said a word since her mother’s death. The girls are in the care of their aunt who’s keeping Jazzie’s presence at her mother’s murder a secret.
The girls meet Taylor at the equine therapy (horse) farm and I settled in happily, keen to see how Taylor’s relationship with the girls played out. However… I was thwarted in achieving this contentedness as
the goalposts our focal characters moved.
Had I read the blurb above (which I must not have) I would have realised this book is as much about Taylor and her long lost father as it is about Jazzie and Janie, but I didn’t realise that at the time. Taylor’s backstory really felt like just that… a backstory; but it kinda took over the plot – though there were no mysteries to be solved and readers aren’t perched on the edges of their seats at all.
Which brings me back to the more interesting tale of Jazzie and Janie. The mystery around their mother’s murder and what Jazzie might (or might not) have seen continues but there’s a point in the story (a shootout at a restaurant) that Rose kinda moves the plot away from the girls and embroils Taylor, Ford and Clay more in their story, preventing the girls (who I’d found interesting) from playing a bigger role.
And then the introduction of a gazillion new characters after that point also threw me a little. I had decided that having only read one or two in this particular series wasn’t problematic, as Rose caught us up quickly on backstory, but then suddenly all of these new people arrive and I had no idea where they fitted in. And I don’t think they all needed to be there. I’m not sure if Rose feels obliged to allow previous characters revisit in some sense of closure or if there was initially some role they needed to play, but – for example – now we’re done with Taylor and Ford I’d be very happy for them to be mere references in future books.
And while I’m moaning…. I know Taylor is only 23 and has led a very protected life, but she came across – in the romantic scenes as kinda annoying and immature. And if I had to read one more time how ‘aroused’ Ford got from Taylor’s comments or actions I might have puked. Particularly when Taylor then harped on like a 15yr old….
Hopefully the partygoers at the reception wouldn’t dance all night, because Ford would be too tired to do any cuddling and that would be a real shame. p 377 #vomit
Other than some overly-obviousness (if that makes sense!), I really enjoyed the characters Rose delivers and, on the whole, the plot was interesting… if a little buried under another – less interesting – one. And – again – I have to say, I really enjoyed this book.
It’s not meant to be anything other than entertainment, to take us away from the mundane-ness of our lives for a few hours and Rose most certainly does that. I look forward to opening that first page and disappearing for a while. And returning sated and happy.
Monster in the Closet by Karen Rose was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.