Karen Rose is the author of thick, intensely layered, & sexy romantic suspense books, so when Berkley invited me to join a Blog Blitz for her latest release, Say No More, I internally did 🤸🏻♀️ 🤸🏻♀️.
After being forced to take a short leave from her job with the Louisiana PD Mercy Callahan is returning to California to tell her biological brother Gideon something he should know about their family.
Raised in a cult named Eden where people live off the land, some of the people there are mauled by “wolves” if they go off-land, & girls like Mercy are forced to “marry” at 12, Mercy and Gideon have had trouble re-connecting & dealing with their past trauma (shared & separate) in the outside world 13 years after Mercy’s escape.
But while in the airport Mercy is almost kidnapped by Ephraim, the man she was “married” to at 12. He has his own reasons for wanting to return her to Eden & he’s willing to murder almost anyone to do it.
While I enjoyed SNM & found a lot to appreciate about it, I do want to be clear that this is not a light read. The opening itself—which focuses on Mercy’s escape from Eden as a teen—is very disturbing & violent. There are references made to rape (child & adult, the latter of which happens on the page in the Prologue), lots of murders, & a plot line that revolves around a video of college age Mercy being sexually assaulted after she was drugged.
Plus there are so many other things Ephraim does in this book to try to capture Mercy, and honestly, I started to feel like it was too much for the heroine to have to go through.
And while it’s engaging to see a mystery unfold from multiple perspectives, there are times the disjointed narration momentarily took me out of the story, or when certain characters started to feel like they were taking on too much prominence. (I’m talking about you, Jeffy.)
But as always Rose writes mystery adeptly, moving all these pieces around the board & managing a behemoth of a book like a wizard. The story of the siblings is so emotional & Rose boldly explores their feelings, portraying Mercy’s complicated view of the brother she was told abandoned her & their mother.
For this romance reader, Mercy’s relationship with Detective Rafe Sokolov is satisfying & adds more lightness to a story that gets pretty dark. Their dynamic is sensual but I also didn’t doubt their emotional intimacy.
In the end, this was a 3.5⭐️ for me. It was an enjoyable read that got even better for me the deeper I got into the story & I’m glad to see Mercy get the Happy Ending she deserves.
Say No More is available now. Thanks to Berkley & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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