Title: Have You Seen Her?
Author: Karen Rose
Publication Date: February, 2004
Paperback: 499 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Description: One by one, the girls disappear from their beds at night. Each one is pretty, with long dark hair. And each one is found brutally murdered.
Special Agent Steven Thatcher has sworn to find the serial killer preying on this small town. As the investigation pulls him one way, his family pulls him in another. A widower haunted by loss, he now worries about his son Brad slipping away. But there's a bright light in his life: his son's teacher, Jenna Marshall, has reached out to help. She's beautiful, kind, and considerate--and slowly, tentatively, she and Steven are starting to fall in love. But both have been hurt before--badly. And as the two try to find the courage to bare their souls, a murderer who has slain many looks for the real treasure he craves. He sets his traps. And waits. For Jenna...
My Thoughts: Really enjoyed this story about two people who find one another and fall in love while their world around them is in utter chaos with a serial killer on the loose. Special Agent Steven Thatcher is a man haunted by pain. After his wife’s death, he is left to raise 3 boys on his own. Fans of this author will remember Steven Thatcher and his youngest son, Nicky from her last book, Don’t Tell. In this book, we find Steven trying to pick up the pieces of the mess his life has become while trying to connect with his boys. Nicky still suffers after his ordeal in Don’t Tell and now the eldest son, Brad, has changed practically overnight into a surly and angry young man who is failing his classes. Trying to balance the chaos of his home life with the nightmare reality of the grisly murders he is investigating at work seems impossible. The last thing he expects is to meet someone he can envision a future with.
Jenna Marshall is Brad’s chemistry teacher who is battling her own personal demons since her fiancé died two years ago. She cares deeply about her students and is gravely concerned about the changes she sees in Brad’s attitude and his grades. Outside of teaching, Jenna hasn’t made time in her life for romantic relationships. When they first meet, the reader is given a very strong view of the instant chemistry between them.
As intense as their attraction toward one another is, so are the serial killings. Here is a killer who is very methodical in his hunt for prey. The grisly execution of each brutal murder leaves the town in fear of who will be next. With the disappearance of each girl, Steven’s frustration grows. The appearance of a detective from Seattle doesn’t help when Steven learns he is investigating similar killings and they are looking for the same suspect.
I really enjoyed the entire story, including the murder mystery. The author does a fantastic job of keeping the reader guessing and holding their interest without downplaying the ending. I liked that the revelation of the killer’s identity did not detract from the rest of the story. So many times a book will just fizzle out once the villain is unmasked. There are lots of unexpected surprises in this story after we learn who the killer is. There were a lot of great scenes involving Steven’s son, Nicky and Jenna and her German Shepherds, Jim and Jean Luc, which were very entertaining to read. I especially enjoyed them because it takes the edge off of the murders and gives insight to the reader about the characters’ multiple layers.
I loved watching these two lonely souls let down their walls and let the other in. I felt the relationship progressed realistically; also dealing with the conflicts and issues that came up in a believable manner. I am enjoying this author’s writing style and am looking forward to reading more of her work.
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