By Cynthia Eden
Narrated by: Emily Beresford
She thought her fiancé was the perfect man—until he turned out to be the perfect killer…
Katherine Cole is running for her life, desperate to escape the Valentine Killer—so-called because he stabs his victims through the heart and leaves them holding a telltale single red rose. Still he tracks her to New Orleans and begins carving a bloody path to her door. But this time, Katherine refuses to run any farther. This time, she’ll do anything to stop the madman she once loved, even trust the sexy cop promising to keep her safe…
Detective Dane Black never lets his emotions interfere with his job, even as the Valentine Killer surfaces in New Orleans to stalk his prey. But when Dane agrees to protect the killer’s ex-fiancée, Katherine Cole, he can’t ignore the passion kindling between them. After a single unforgettable night binds them body and soul, Dane knows he won’t rest until Katherine is safe in his arms—and the Valentine Killer is dead. Dark and intensely sexy, this romantic suspense novel from USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Eden is sure to leave readers breathless.
Because I was looking for another book (see earlier review, Die For Me by Amy Plum), I ran across this one. Doesn’t the blurb (above) make it sound good?
Ok, yeah, I am so not a romance reader. I spent a few weeks back in high school binging on a box full of them given to me because I was a reader and readers read everything, right? No, we don’t. Some of us are picky bitches and can tell with a few words in a blurb (notice “trust the sexy cop,” and “safe in his arms,” and “intensely sexy”) if the story is going to have a significant romantic bent.
But because I keep an open mind and just like I try a bite of food I hate every few years, I do try a romance. Still, I’m picky. It cannot be a straight up romance (ugghh). It has to have other elements that interest me. Like, of course, a mystery or something psychological.
The blurb makes promises. Yet, it’s like Cynthia Eden wrote the blurb and fit the pieces of the story and the characters to fit it. Some people like that. I like the unexpected. I like how characters determine their actions and feelings rather than have them scripted so tightly there is no other way to go.
Now, I am not saying this is a terrible book. On the contrary, I listened to the whole thing despite the predictability. So Catherine Eden has a Je ne se quoi that held me tight until the very end.
My thought? That it reads like a script and would do well performed on stage or on screen. As a straight out novel? Nope.
When we first meet Detective Dane Black, he’s rough and procedural, asking all the right questions. He lost me when within hours, his perception of Katherine changes so very quickly. Then it’s just a downhill slide into overprotective emotions for a woman he barely knows and when he met her thought she was a killer or at least an accomplice.
Katherine seems like a frightened woman throughout. While she isn’t the whiny type (which is definitely nice), the repetition of doing something to stop the killing gets pretty redundant. I feel like either she should take a beat and create a simplified mantra for herself, or just freakin’ knock it off. We know her motivations. It is not necessary to beat us over the head with them every other page.
The action bits were fairly smooth, I admit. The emotional bits came across as choppy and reaching, as if the characters slid into a mold that didn’t quite fit.
This one was too much for me and not enough. New Orleans is a setting that can be a character all its own. But this story could be set anywhere (I kept thinking San Francisco) for all the detail left out.
On the narration: Listening to a woman’s voice serves a purpose for me, usually keeping me alert during the day when working. After hearing a sample, I knew Emily Beresford would fit that bill. She did a wonderful job in adding dimension to Katherine.
My only suggestion for improvement is to have a male read the bits for Detective Black. But sometimes having more than one narrator is an unfeasible proposition. Emily Beresford didn’t present a variable range in scenes or characters. Nonetheless, she was pleasant to listen to.