Chloe Marin was lucky. She was just a teenager when a party at a Florida beachside mansion turned into a savage killing spree, and she was one of the few to survive. Bloody handwriting on the walls pointed to a cult whose rituals included human sacrifice. Chloe’s sketch of one of the killers linked two dead cult members found in the Everglades to the massacre, closing the case as far as the cops were concerned.
Ten years later Chloe works as a psychologist specializing in art therapy to help traumatized victims, and on the side she finds release in her passion for the martial arts. Police who hire her as a consultant know she’s a literal kick-ass advocate for victims who can’t always speak for themselves.
The current disappearance of a young swimsuit model ranks low on the cops’ priority list. Everyone assumes the girl has run off for some fun in the sun, instead of getting ready for a photo shoot. Everyone but Chloe, who suspects a killer is using the modeling agency to stalk his prey. When the ghost of the model appears, asking Chloe for help, she knows that she has to do everything she can.
When Chloe arrives late for an appointment at the modeling agency, she discovers a gruesome mass murder eerily similar to the one she witnessed a decade ago — and can’t help thinking that if she hadn’t run late, she would have been there when the killer arrived. Ten years ago she hadn’t been convinced the police had identified the real killers, and now she’s sure of it. The same evil mind is behind the current murders, and she’s afraid she’s the target — and terrified that she won’t be able to cheat death a third time.
With a description like the preceding, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I thought this book was a murder/scary/things that go bump in the night type of book. Imagine my surprise when I started reading the eGalley of The Killing Edge by Heather Graham and discovered that there is a whole subset of the romance genre known as “romantic suspense”. Huh. Who knew???
This book is filled with the author’s idea of violent crime and malevolent suspense, with a healthy dose of all those cliché’s that make a romance book…well…a romance book. You know exactly what I’m talking about; the prickly and cynical, but secretly tortured anti-hero/hero, rugged and virile, often with an absurd eye color described as “steely gray” and a manly name; in this story, Luke Cane. Add to the mix, the spunky, but beautiful heroine, who, although she professes to loathe said hero, finds herself inexplicably drawn to him, like a moth to the flame.
“Luke reached across the table and touched her arm. She started, looking at his hand. It was large, with long fingers; maybe he should have been a guitarist or a pianist. His nails were clipped short, and they were clean. His palm felt callused; she imagined that when he wasn’t investigating someone, he indulged in some kind of manual labor. Building things, maybe. They were very masculine hands. She gritted her teeth again, wondering why his touch could send rivulets of fire streaking through her when she was absolutely convinced that she didn’t like the man.”Gaaaccckkkk…….….
Where to begin? I know that people just love the whole romance genre. And I’m sure that nothing can make a romance novel better than a couple of scary bad guys and maybe a touch of gratuitous violence, but seriously? …..”rivulets of fire????!”
A bit of advice, if you put a paragraph like the aforementioned one anywhere in the story…it doesn’t matter how many dead bodies you sprinkle around, you’re still writing a romance novel. (And lots of loyal readers LOVE the genre,you'll sell loads of books and make scads of money--just don’t be deluded into thinking this is the next Philip Marlowe.)
I’m having way too much fun smacking this book around and my mother, (Remember our moms? They’re those voices we hear in our ears, whispering to us “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all!”), well, my mom would not be happy with me. So I should stop, especially since I have to confess that I completely DNF’d this book. As in Did Not Finish. I gave it a shot. I even suspended my fifty-page rule, the one that says if I hate it during the first fifty pages, I’ll give it a pass. I decided to try for 75 pages, but sadly, I only made it to page 66. Then the delete button was pushed on the Sony Reader and I moved on. Maybe it got better. I never hung around for the ghost part. I wanted to, but I guess I never could get past the “rivulets of fire” bit.
Review copy provided by those fine folks at Net Galley and its not their fault I thought the book was gacky. It’s a personal failing of my own.