Sophia Rose is here with a review of Cold-Blooded Liar by Karen Rose. Come see what she enjoyed about this first in the San Diego Crime Files romantic suspense series.
by Karen Rose
Series: San Diego Case Files #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Brace yourself for a scorching new series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose, where San Diego means sun, surf, sand…and serial killers.
Sam Reeves is a kindhearted psychologist who treats court-ordered clients. After one of his patients—a pathological liar—starts revealing plausible new details from a long-unsolved serial murder case, he’s compelled to report anonymously to the SDPD tip line, though his attempts to respect patient confidentiality land him facedown and cuffed by the aggressive (and cute) Detective McKittrick.
San Diego homicide detective Kit McKittrick loves the water. She lives on a boat, and when she’s not solving crimes with the SDPD, she’s assisting her foster sister with her charter fishing business or playing with her poodle. But there’s nothing that intrigues Kit more than a cold case, so when an anonymous caller leads her on the path of a wanted killer, she’s determined to end the decade-long manhunt.
Sam is soon released but goes home with both a newfound distaste for the SDPD and a resolve—not unlike Kit’s—to uncover the truth. Kit and Sam repeatedly butt heads in their separate investigations but are forced to work together to find one of the deadliest serial killers the city has faced in years.
Sophia Rose’s Review
Another draining, gritty, but in the end triumphant romantic suspense from Karen Rose. This latest takes the series to San Diego and a grim series of killings by a predator possessing a clever, cold mind.
Like the rest of the Romantic Suspense series, this latest can be started without reading the prior sub-series named after the cities where they take place.
I knew from the beginning that this was going to be an emotional, gut-wrenching story. Kit was a foster kid who had significant struggles even before a foster sister became a long-time missing person’s case. She can count on one hand with fingers left over the people whom she trusts, but she is an amazing detective for the San Diego department and she needs to bring down the guy hurting and killing these girls.
Sam Reeves is her number one suspect, but she wavers because from the beginning her instinct tells her that he is one of the good guys. Unfortunately, there is a tightening circumstantial evidence trail leading right to him. She has to find a break that will put him firmly in the clear or nail him. In the meantime, she’s fighting feelings for him that scare her more than that he’s a suspect.
Sam is a golden guy. Amazing in his dedication and being good at what he does. He does the right thing and now he’s living a nightmare and forced to turn amateur detective to clear his own name. Kit, even when she had him down in handcuffs with her knee in his back, has caught his attention, but he is well aware anything they might have must be oh so slowly and carefully cultivated- assuming he gets through all this.
The emotional side of the book is draining for me as is usual when I read this author’s books because she pulls you into the world so deeply. The victims are treated with dignity, but it is never pretty. The descriptions don’t get gratuitous, but are enough to feel the need for justice and really cheer on the team working to bring the fiend behind it down. Trigger warning to those who need to avoid mentions of abuse and killing of teenage girls and young women.
But, on the flip side, there is so much hope because the professions are portrayed as human, but good, tough, and relentless at their jobs. Kit was the main detective, but there were several working together and then there was Sam’s investigations, too. This one was interesting because the second main character is both a detective and a suspect and the author takes the reader into what that can feel like, as well.
All in all, it is a long book that read quickly and ended at a satisfying place with justice served, though what a shocking betrayal once the truth came out. The romance was more hinted as a possibility in this book and will hopefully develop over the San Diego series. If you love true crime or crime fiction, police procedurals or grittier murder mysteries, this series is one I can heartily recommend.
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Rolé @ Hooked By That Book
Great review. I also loved this one. I’m always excited about a new book from Karen Rose. Her characters are always so complex and interesting and I think she is one of the authors who create some of the best villains ever.
Yes! She doesn’t under-develop her villains and it makes the whole story even better. 🙂
I haven’t read anything by this author but her books have been on my TBR for years. This sounds like such a good book! And definitely a page turner.
Her books are great and I love that you can start with any first book in a city set. I was hooked by the first Cincinnati one.
Rachel @Waves of Fiction
As you know, I loved this one too! I’m looking forward to more in the series as the personal relationships were left dangling.
Yeah, she’s a tough cookie to crack, but he’s so good at sticking by her that I have no doubts that time will make a difference. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Laurel-Rain!
I like that this is set in San Diego. Nice review, Sophia.
It is fun the way she moves her thrillers around the country. I’ve read some of her Chicago and Baltimore, all her Cincinnati and Sacto, and now her new San Diego and New Orleans ones.
Anne – Books of My Heart
I loved this one too. Karen Rose is a master with characters and action. This one was unusual because it doesn’t have as much of a romance.
Yes, your fandom got me to go back and start reading her backlist when I’d just finished her Cincinnati books. 🙂
I noticed the slow romance build too. I think it worked well because she really wasn’t in a believable place to have a successful relationship. As it progresses, however… 😉