Author: Karen Rose
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: February, 2007
Genre: Romantic Suspense / Mystery / Thriller
Description: In all his years in the Chicago Fire Department, Lieutenant Reed Solliday has never experienced anything like this recent outbreak of house fires - devastating, vicious and in one case, homicidal. He has another problem - his new partner, Detective Mia Mitchell. She's brash, bossy, and taking the case in a direction he never imagined.
Mia's instincts tell her the arsonist is making this personal. And as the infernos become more deadly, one look at the victims' tortured faces convinces her and Reed that they must work closer to catch the killer. With each new blaze, the villain ups the ante, setting firetraps for the people Reed and Mia love. The truth is almost too hot to handle: This monster's desire for death and destruction is unquenchable ... and for Mia he's started the countdown to an early grave.
My Thoughts: Back when I was reading Abe and Kristen’s story in I’M WATCHING YOU, I remember thinking how much I would enjoy reading a story with Mia as the lead character. Well, the book gods were listening and the ultra-talented Karen Rose has delivered not just another suspenseful tale that is becoming Ms. Rose’s trademark, but another story filled with characters the reader will fall in love with and cheer for.
When Reed and Mia first meet, it’s her first day back from an on the job injury. Mia is just as stubborn and obstinate as I remember her. She shouldn’t be back but she’s determined to get the hoodlums who put her and her partner out of commission. Saying she’s less than happy upon learning she is being partnered with Reed is an understatement. Adding to her injury, Mia has a chip on her shoulder the size of Chicago and the last thing she wants to deal with is a partner. Reed isn’t too happy with the situation either as they get off on the wrong foot. I am glad there was friction between the two in the beginning. I like a realistic story and a cynical detective returning to duty, trying to keep the pain at bay and deal with a lot of additional personal baggage on top of that just isn’t going to be all sunshine and happiness. I liked that Reed doesn’t let Mia push him around or intimidate him. Even though he’s not a police officer, he holds his own very well when the situation calls for it.
I suspected who the killer was as soon as he was introduced but wasn’t confirmed until much later in the story. With each of Karen Rose’s books, I get more drawn into the characters. She writes such compelling characters that it is impossible for the reader to remain detached. The villains, as well, draw you in with their complexity, even as you are despising them and what they are doing. There are several supporting characters that I really enjoyed meeting and who have a huge impact on Mia. Several of the characters from previous books make an appearance and it’s always a nice treat when that happens as the reader is given an update on what these characters have been up to without drawing the focus away from the main storyline.
The mark of an excellent story is when it can evoke multiple emotions from the reader. This one did that for me. Blended into the spine-tingling suspense, I found myself laughing a few times, getting angry several times and crying a few times throughout the book. If you haven’t read any of Karen Rose’s work, you are missing out on some of the best stories out there. Don’t make the mistake I did and wait too long to get started…the clock is ticking.