* Prices may differ from that shown
Two young brothers abandoned to the foster-care system end up with a tough life, enduring abuse and heartache. When one of them tragically dies, the other vows to seek revenge on those he deems responsible for his brother's death.
Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant, Reed Solliday, is left sickened after finding that a young girl found in the wreckage of an explosion was brutally raped and murdered before the fire ripped through the house caused by the planned explosion.
Reed is assigned to join forces with brash detective Mia Mitchell, to find the killer. Mia has only just returned to duty herself after being shot, an incident which saw her regular partner Abe injured too and unable to return to work just yet. Mia feels guilty about the events which left Abe injured and isn't too happy about finding herself partnered with Reed in the meantime. Reed meanwhile, has a few concerns of his own, the main one being that he doubts Mia is ready to return to work.
Mia however, is determined to bury herself in her work and along with Reed, has to work on her most challenging case yet - an arsonist who appears to have escalated from starting fires to rape and murder.
'Count To Ten' is only the second book I have read by Karen Rose. I enjoyed the previous book I read a while back, but wasn't exactly intrigued by the blurb on the cover of this one. Count To Ten sounded all too familiar... two investigators who don't really want to work together, one of them being a woman who has dedicated her life to the job, determined to prove herself in a predominantly male environment and sacrificing personal relationships and family along the way.
Bearing this in mind, I didn't expect too much from this book as I thought it wouldn't offer much different from many other books I've read before. Also at 661 pages, I found myself wondering if I would actually finish it, as this is one lengthy novel to get through which could prove to be a turn-off if it turned out to be a mediocre read.
However, I found I was quite surprised at how good this book was and I certainly found it much more interesting than the cover first suggested to me.
Apparently Mia Mitchell has featured in other books by the author, but I didn't feel that I was missing anything here to confuse my understanding of her character.
The story begins in Indiana, late one Saturday evening in November and from the first page the reader is plunged right into the story as the killer strikes. The tension is there right away, setting the scene for what is to follow, which is a thriller full of suspense as one person sets out to seek revenge on those who have 'wronged' him and caused the death of his brother.
Mia and Reed have no easy task ahead as they try to find out who is responsible and put an end to the horrific killings. They have no idea of the killer's identity or motives and even though the reader has an inkling of the motives, it is certainly not enough to understand exactly why the killer is carrying out these revenge attacks, or why he has chosen these particular people. Therefore, the story remains a mystery to the reader and I quickly became intrigued by the possible reasoning behind the killer's crimes.
Karen Rose has delivered a lengthy, but gripping story of revenge with a few twists along the way. I suspected a couple of people of being the killer before being surprised at who it turned out to be and this is something I particularly enjoyed, as I prefer to read a thriller which leaves me guessing until the end.
There is also an undercurrent of tension between Reed and Mia, which creates a diversion from the main plot as they find themselves attracted to each other but don't want to admit to it. Mia 'doesn't do relationships' and Reed is still mourning the loss of his perfect wife whilst bringing up his teenage daughter. He thinks he could never love anyone the way he loved his wife and therefore only looks for 'no-strings' relationships, a fact which suits Mia just fine... or does it? As Mia and Reed inevitably become closer, both of them find themselves in denial and having to reassess the rules they have lived their lives by in recent years. Mia is tough, but is also vulnerable and Reed is just the same. As their vulnerable sides are slowly exposed, I found their characters became more appealing, as the "I'm tough and don't need a personal life" characters do become irritating after a while, so I was pleased the author actually does develop their characters here.
And so where I thought I would find the developing relationship between Mia and Reed a big turn-off, I actually found it wasn't irritating me like I thought it would and although it is somewhat predictable and cheesy in places, it didn't spoil my overall enjoyment of the book. I think the fact it is interspersed with chapters featuring the killer, ensured that the suspense didn't fall away at all. Indeed Mia finds herself becoming a target for the killer which just adds to the suspense a little more.
The subplots, engaging secondary characters and a good few twists are what kept me riveted to this book. So good are the red herrings that around two thirds of the way through, I felt that the story was winding up and began to wonder why there was still a third of the book left. This was a clever twist and I give praise to Karen Rose for how well she carries this off.
Count To Ten is a long tale, but at no time does it become boring and the fact that Rose keeps the reader hooked until the end should be applauded.
This book has left me eager to read more of this author's work.
Firstly, just a quick intro... Karen Rose is a romance/crime writer who's books centre around two main characters (one male, one female), a little romance and a crime.
This book focuses on Mia Mitchell (cameo appearances in previous books), a homoside detective who has very recently been involved in an incident which left both her and her partner wounded. Upon her return to duty she is asked to work on a series of arsons which have left people dead. She is pitted with Reed Solliday of the Fire Department. Initially both parties butt heads of how best to proceed - Reed thinks Mia is a quack who shouldn't be on duty and Mia believes Reed to be an arrogant jerk with detective skills below her own.
Reed and Mia begin to work together to build a profile and capture a dangerous criminal and avoid their obvious attraction to one another. Alongside their investigation are several other issues (both persoanal and professional) which keep getting in the way. Firstly, a difficult reporter determined to dig dirt on Mia. Secondly, a group of career criminals which Mia is determined to stop after the inital shooting. Thirdly, Mia's sister who is in jail and a strange woman who keeps appearing and Fourthly, Reed's difficult and stroppy teenage daughter. Throw arson and attraction into the mix and you've got an amazing story!!!
Through the book the fixation of the arsonist changes and Mia becomes the target. It becomes essential for the team to quickly find the original target to stop the arsonist killing Mia.
That's all I want to say on the actual story so that if you read it I don't spoil the ending!!
I love all of Karen Rose's books. They are fantastic and really well written. I accidently picked one book up in the library and since then I was hooked. This one was no different. I picked this book up and barely put it down until I was finished. The storyline is brilliant. It focuses on the crime and the personal relationships within the book with equal ferocity. The story is very fast paced and will keep you turning pages until there are none left leaving you feeling very disappointed. There is a reoccurance of previous characters as you will come to expect with Karen's books also. I feel that this cross over is a nice touch and pulls together all loose ends.
I see this as a crime thriller with a nice romance thrown in (girl crime as I often view it), well written, beautifully executed and damn clever!
I have just finished reading this book and must say I really enjoyed reading it. It has a bit of everything, a good story with crime, psychological thrills, romance, it all goes to make the book and extremely good read.
The story is set in Chicago where there have been a series of fires. The autopsies on the victims of the fires show that they have sustained injuries before the fires have started. The Fire Investigator is Reed Solliday, a man who lost his wife to a fire and is now bringing up his 14 year old daughter Beth with the help of his sister Laura. Reed finds that the fires are started the same way and realises they have a serial arsonist on the loose who also rapes and injures his victims before setting fire to their homes.
The police detective set to investigate the homicides is Mia Mitchell. Mia is a single woman who's father was a cop when he was alive but he had died just a month earlier. Her partner Abe was off work as he had been injured and Mia was given Reed Solliday as a temporary partner to try to solve the mystery of the fires.
The book is really exciting, I found it hard to put it down once I started reading it. There is a lovely romance thing going on between Mia and Reed where neither one of them wants to take it further as they both have things in their pasts stopping them from forming a relationship with strings attached.
The author of the book is Karen Rose. I hadn't heard of her before reading this book but will certainly be looking out for her books again. She made the characters come alive on the pages and you could really feel what they were feeling when reading the story.
In the blurb inside the book it says about Karen that she was introduced to suspense and horror at a young age when she read Poe's Pit and the Pendulum. She was only 8 at the time and read it by accident. It gave her the incentive though to write books that keep people awake at night.
I give this book 5 stars as I think anyone reading it would be totally immersed in the story within reading the first few pages and it will keep you gripped to the last page.
Copied to Ciao under username Harveydog52
~ ~ A little about the author ~ ~
Karen Rose lives in Florida and she actually has a Chemical Engineering degree and she tends to describe her novels as being Romance, rather than crime based. I would say, Romance is there, but Crime is the mainstay though. She began writing while bored at work, and it took off from there. She has written 7 titles so far, with another planned called 'Scream for Me' release date of May 2008.
Karen Rose didn't really have many books out when I first read "I'm watching you" which I had picked up before this one from a charity shop. In fact, I could only find Count to Ten available in the UK - The book I had picked up from the charity shop I realized must have come across from the US, perhaps having been bought by someone while on holiday, read and then passed on. Either way, while she wasn't a new author it was near enough impossible to get books of hers. Now (June 2008) its easier and more are available.
~ ~ Book Synopsis ~ ~
A serial arsonist is on the loose! Lives have been lost and the Fire investigator on the case (Lieutenant Reed Solliday) is struggling with it all because it's unlike anything else he has ever encountered.
The lack of knowledge about what is happening is then further compounded when Reed is assigned a new partner for this case, Detective Mia Mitchell.
Mia is already feeling edgy and unresponsive to Reed and the investigation. She is there under orders, not of her own volition because her usual partner (Abe Reagan) is currently recuperating from being shot. This in its own right would normally be enough of a stressor for many people, but for Mia it's doubling troubling because she has already lost one partner to a shooting. The upheaval in her life is made worse because her father has also just died.
Reed and Mia find themselves immediately at odds. Partly due to their own stress in their lives, but also because their investigating techniques are opposite ends of the spectrum. So before they can even begin to tackle finding out who the arsonist is, they have to resolve the head butting and constant questioning that has put a wall between them first!
Mia begins to suspect that the Arsonist is making his targets personal and as the fires begin to increase, both in frequency and destructiveness, Mia and Reed begin to find those people close to them are being targeted with firetraps, and the differences are soon pushed to one side because the body count is increasing and unless they can really push their problems aside they are not going to be able to stop it.
~ ~ Overall Impressions ~ ~
I've very quickly come to like Karen Rose as a writer, and this doesn't disappoint in any way. She has a definite style and this comes across in this book as much as before.
The central villain has a fairly clear plan almost from the outset, so while we might not know who it is, we're certainly not struggling to work out what his motivation and style is about.
We have a great interaction between the two main investigators (Reed and Mia), which while prickly as they embark on the new partnership they soon do get to grips with each other, and really click. They find they can complement the other in a way they didn't think was possible to begin with and they manage to sort out there own jobs clearly and this means they actually become a very forceful and excellent team.
Our Villain is ruthless as he works his way to his ultimate goal. We begin to find out he is after those who he blames for letting his brother die, which in turn means the bodies begin to mass up. We have no immediately obvious connection to the people being killed and so the connection between victims isn't picked up on immediately, hindering efforts.
Add to this, the first victim throws the investigators off track, and it is done exceptionally well.
We get good insight from the Villain as well as the other characters and so we've getting nice and firm thoughts and feelings from everyone involved, rather than vague hints and comments, which some crime writers feel a need to do, and I personally don't like much.
The Villain makes mistakes. He comes across as intelligent, and with very definite goals, but despite this he does make some mistakes. So you're not being treated to someone who is so intelligent that you begin to wonder how on earth anyone can be like this in real life? Again, a character that is well rounded, smart enough but by no means perfect.
As hinted at a couple of paragraphs up, there are a number of secondary characters in the book, and some are from earlier writings, but once again Karen Rose doesn't drop the ball, because you find not only do you not have to know about their previous relationships (if any) Rose has actually managed to make the secondary characters as interesting, rounded and believable in their own right as the main ones. In other words, she has achieved what a lot (and I mean a lot) of other writers fail to manage with secondary characters, and that is making them plausible and individual. You enjoy them as much as the main characters.
This then allows Karen Rose to use the secondary characters to pull your suspicion away from the main villain, and it is successfully done for the most part. You also get treated to a number of other side characters and they didn't irritate like so many can in other stories. Great ingredients for an excellent mix.
Karen Rose also does a very good job in showing how the characters work through the jobs; the processes and investigation techniques seem plausible and certainly don't make you wonder if there is a lot of artistic licence going on. I imagine a lot of research has been done by Karen Rose on this to ensure we get as accurate a description in areas where needed as possible.
~ ~ Final Thoughts ~ ~
While this has only been the second of her books I've read, I will most certainly be hunting out the others!
Strong Characters who are well-rounded, excellent tension, not sure quite who the villain is until the right time, logic and flaws, laughter and tears, love and romance, as well as hatred and fear - all are there as needed.
Your not forced to suspend belief, or make any great leaps of faith as a reader to follow it through, and it feels satisfying as all the pieces get pulled together to the end.
Yes, there is some romance, but not what I thought detracted in any real way from the overall plotline. It might though be a book that appeals more to women than men because of the romance aspect, but I still believe there is enough "crime/thriller/mystery" in there to allow most readers to find it readable.
Full 10/10 or 5 stars from me from a great Crime/Romance Author.
~ ~ Where to buy ~ ~
This can be obtained at Amazon.co.uk for £18.99 Hardback edition or £4.05 for the paperback edition.
~ ~ This is a slightly edited review of my review that can be found on Ciao ~ ~
As mentioned in my Chart Throb review last weekend I read two books, this was the second, first I have to say that this isnt Karen Rose' first book but it is the first time I have come across her work, but according to the blurb about her at the back of this she won an award im 2005 for Romantic Suspense writing in which case could explain my lack of interest previously.
Count to ten features Mia Mitchell the Homicide detective who after having been involved in an incident in which she and her partner were shot by a suspect is returning to work, but she is partnerless so is pushed in to working with the Fire Investigator Reed Solliday. Reed is dealing with a disturbing case of arson in which it seems a young woman has been murdered and possibly sexually assaulted prior to the murder.
This pair in the best traditions of books throwing two people together do not get along at first but they grow to trust one another through the investigations, but is this trust developing further?
As they seek reasons for the first arson and murder there are other seemingly connected arsons and deaths but what is that connection and can Mia really use her work to escape her troubled personal life?
Written with both chapters and clearly marked sections marked with the time and dates involved this book is written in the voices of multiple characters, Mia, Reed, the arsonist, and a young teacher at a state institute the narrative is clear and I dont think I needed to re-read sections at any time due to confusion about the events. Each character felt real enough, not fully fleshed out but with enough background and information provided to feel that they were believable as real people. There are a few leaps in the investigation story but again nothing that I would say is beyond the realms of possibility.
That this is the book which I picked up to read while waiting for my boyfriend to call me after work then finshed reading at 6am as my Dad was getting up for work is a testament to the quality of the writing, it is rare that I find a book which I am compelled to keep reading until I finish, many books I enjoy enough to read for alittle longer than planned but this simply drew me in, though not as the author profile says by making me 'afraid to go to sleep'.
I would like to read more of Karen Rose' work and will be adding them to my amazonwish list, it seems that she doesnt use the same characters as leads in all her work which given the very complete personal story in this I think is a good thing but whether it is or not remains to be seen after I have read some of her other work.
My copy is the paperback which is 661 pages long and cost me £3.50 from Asda and as always can be bought from amazon for £3.99 or £2 in the marketplace.
Two young brother are abandoned by their mother and end up in the foster-care system. Let down by everyone who should have looked out for them, the boys fall prey to the abusers they meet and it is perhaps small wonder that one develops a taste for revenge. Years later, Reed Solliday, of Chicago's Fire Department, is determined to find an arsonist whose crimes have escalated to murder. Reed teams up with Detective Mia Mitchell, but with no apparent connection between the deaths, they are at a loss until their attention focuses on a young offenders institution and the misfits within... Take a breath. Count to ten. And watch their world explode.