When a teenage girl dies in a suspicious fire, Detective Olivia Sutherland is assigned to track down the arsonist. Then she discovers something more sinister: a vicious blackmailer who preys on young people and murders without hesitation. Making her work even harder is sexy firefighter David Hunter. He's not only sharing the case but sparking memories of their long-ago night of passion, when feelings were left unspoken and hearts were broken. David has his own ghosts, and a million regrets. But while he and Olivia try to face the wall of pain between them, a diabolical puppet master is pulling strings to make a group of twentysomethings do his bidding. Soon Olivia and David are scouring the city for a calculating criminal who seems tantalizingly close—and is moving in for the kill.
It's been a while since I've read a Karen Rose book but I am slowly getting back to some of my favourite authors (I keep saying this don't I?) and finding out what they have published since my hiatus in reading started. Karen Rose is an author I have been following since book 1 (another author who deserves a separate page in this blog's index) and I was really curious about this one since I remembered David from previous books.
Rose starts the story with arson but soon it is evident that there are more villains in this story than just the arsonists. The beginning seemed so intricate that it reminded me of a Tess Gerritsen novel, but here the romance plays a heavy role and in the end this makes for a softer and also satisfying read.
Olivia Sutherland is the detective assigned to the arson case and David Hunter one of the firefighters on the scene. Olivia and David have a past, 2 years ago at Olivia's sister wedding (people new to the series should not start with this one) they met and spent a weekend together. Things ended on a wrong note though and while Olivia has been angry with David he has been trying to remember what it was that he did, or did not do, that made her leave.
In this book we get to know a bit more about David and the demons that chase him. I really enjoyed knowing the man behind the charming mask he shows to the world but to be honest I think I would have liked the tension between him and Olivia to last a bit more. While I understood his excuse, I think she should have taken a bit longer to forgive him.
Together they investigate what is behind the fires and how they connect to each other. What seemed an environmental group making a stand ends up being something totally different. I think they took a bit too much time finding out that there was another villain and I would have liked to see more detecting to lead them to that conclusion. I was more surprised by the twists we got on the four arsonists. Karen Rose gives us the perspective of all main characters involved (including the villains) and keeps us in suspense with a fast paced story. I think Rose successfully balances the suspense and the romantic plots and I just loved both Olivia's relationship with her friends and David's relationship with his tenants (especially Glenn). I think we really need to have more books set in Minneapolis so we can see them all again.
I know she already has two more books out so I'll be sure to grab them soon!