* Prices may differ from that shown
Having read and reviewed a couple of Karen Rose novels now, I would put Rose towards the top of my author list, so I was really looking forward to giving this a read when I saw it in the library. I wasn't disappointed; with a writing style that made it engaging to read, it was a novel to keep me hooked on reading from start to finish.
No One Left To Tells falls in to the crime thriller genre, a genre within which Rose is quite popular and ahead of the game. On the cover we're told that this is a 'Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller', along with the tagline 'If one more woman should accidentally fall, there'll be no more women and...' (No One Left To Tell) to draw us in. We're introduced to the case of Ramon Munoz, a man who has spent the last 5 years in jail for a murder that his family are convinced he didn't commit. They turn to a personal investigator, Paige Holden, to try to help them overturn the ruling. With so much evidence against Ramon's innocence, Paige tells his wife and family that more proof would be needed to pursue the cause. The wife, Elena, seems to have something that may just blow the case wide open, but it's proof that someone doesn't want coming out because she gets killed on her way to delivering it to Paige.
The PI is right there when Elena gets shot in her car but retrieves something she thinks may lead her to the proof she was supposed to see. What she doesn't realise is that the knowledge could get her in trouble too. Enter Grayson Smith, the prosecutor who got Munoz put behind 5 years ago. PI Paige scopes out Smith, knowing she needs help from someone she can trust, and he's supposed to be an honest man and a strong prosecutor. Smith, on the other hand, is apparently instantly love-struck after watching a video captured of the attack, showing Paige running to Elena's aid. Paige quickly becomes popular as the footage spreads, with her becoming the brave woman that risked a bullet herself to help someone else. It was a near miss but it's nowhere near over. It's only just started for Paige and Smith who together try to figure out what proof Elena had found that got her killed and whether Munoz was really innocent. If so, Smith took the 'facts' at the time and prosecuted the wrong man, meaning the real killer is still out there.
As the story unfolds, a large web of characters is weaved and Baltimore seems to become a minefield of corruption, scandal and murder. The rest of the story goes through what really happened and as bits and pieces of the puzzle come together, suspicion is pointed in every direction. I liked that I couldn't really guess what was going to happen so I was keen to keep reading and find out more. The premise was original in that the characters really made it and it wasn't too cliché or predictable when it came to the actual detective aspects. But more than that, I just really enjoyed reading it; you get sucked in to the writing style as it brings the characters and scenes to life, making it all easy to imagine and the warmth of the writing keeps you hooked.
We learn more about a lot of the important characters, especially the two leads, Paige and Smith. For instance, the backstory given about Paige with her getting shot, her job, her home life etc, all gives her a lot more depth. We're then better able to understand her thoughts and actions, to relate and to appreciate the dynamics of relationships far better because we 'know' her quite well by the end of it. I also liked how characters from previous Rose novels came through this book as it gave me something familiar I could relate to. It is, however, still a read-alone book so no prior knowledge of her novels is required to understand what's going on, it's just an added bonus for fans.
The downsides? As with other Rose novels I've read, she tends to take a detour through a minefield of romantic mush. The protagonists, Paige and Smith, come together and the direction of the relationship is instantly predictable. It seemed far too cliché and sickly sweet for my liking the way it was pretty much 'love at first sight'. Given that I'm not one for chick flicks or romance novels, this didn't appeal to me. However, it was still good to have that sidestory and development of each character and the ties that link them together. A little less of the predictability and mushy-ness in this area would have been preferred, but ultimately it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment of the novel.
Further praise for Karen Rose can be found on the back, including 'Fast and furious' - The Sun' and 'Rose juggles a large cast, a huge body county and a complex plot with terrifying ease' - Publishers Weekly. I would agree with these. There was a large cast that was brought together in a way that made sense, I didn't find myself getting lost or confused. And the pace was kept up throughout, making it engaging and interesting so I don't recall ever really getting bored or thinking it was dragging.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this if you enjoy Rose novels or crime thrillers that will give you a warm hug whilst reading them. It draws you in and makes you want to keep reading, but unfortunately a star gets knocked off for the sickly sweet predictability of the 'love at first sight' sidestory.
Selling on Amazon for £3.86 (paperback) 656 pages
I'd never been a thriller novel fan, my choice of book was always a chick lit novel. Don't get me wrong, I love thriller and crime TV shows and movies, and when I have come across books the blurbs always sound really gripping but I could never actually get into them upon trying and always thought 'if it was a movie I'd enjoy it'.
That was until last year when I spotted a Karen Rose novel at work. I work in a care home so new books appear on the community bookshelf now and then and I always have a nosey for one I might like. There hadn't been any new chick lits for a while and the odd thriller kept appearing, one being Karen Rose's I Can See You, which sounded good, and even though I knew I couldn't usually get into thrillers I thought I'd give it a try as it really did sound like a good book and one I'd enjoy if it was a movie!
I was in Asda last week, and they had the 3 books for £10 offer on, so browsing which books there where, I spotted Karen Rose's new novel, 'No One Left To Tell', and knowing how I really got into and enjoyed the previous book I'd read, I picked this up to give it a try.
"A woman is dead and her fiance is serving a life sentence for a murder he didn't commit. Now PI Paige Holden holds the only piece of evidence that could see him freed, and she cannot take it to the police. With the help of disarming state attorney, Grayson Smith, Paige is determined to avenge the murdered woman and set an innocent man free. But Paige has only scratched the surface of a cover-up far deadlier than she could ever imagine. A string of mysterious deaths of women with a shared past sets Paige on the trail of a ruthless killer. The problem is, the killer's on her trail too..."
The book opens with a prologue which describes the murder of a young woman which happened 6 years previously. This is basically the murder which sets off the whole story basis of the book. As described on the blurb we know an innocent man is inside for murder, the murder which is described at the very beginning of this book. The first chapter then starts straight away with a bang after the first 3 or 4 pages, which instantly has you gripped as you think 'whoa' and want to continue reading to find out why this has happened and what will happen next.
The 2 main characters in the book are Paige and Grayson. We are introduced to Paige pretty much straight away. As the book evolves, we know she has had some trauma happen in her past, the same with Grayson, who again, comes into the story in the first few chapters. Even though both characters are likeable, the stories of each character make you sympathise with them and like them even more. It also makes you want them to tell each other, which takes a while, and also want them to get together romantically.
There are a lot of characters in the book, apart from the 2 main characters of Paige and Grayson. I noticed this in Karen's last book and in a lot of reviews, it always mentions how she manages to involve a lot of characters with ease. She manages to integrate them all and bring them all into the story nicely. I hate books that have too many characters for no reason, but each character in this book is brought in for a reason.
I like the way Karen Rose writes her books, as she is the only thriller/crime writer I have read, I can't really compare her to anyone, but obviously being the first thriller/crime writer who has actually written a book that I have actually been able to read, then I rate her very highly.
I liked how the action started pretty much straight away as I hate books that describe too much past etc at the beginning, as they just don't grip me enough to want to read on. Obviously kicking the book off with a big bang makes you want to read on to see what happens next, so this was a good start to the book, as from the first chapter, I couldn't put it down.
Karen has been slated by some strict thriller/crime reviewers for her romantic element in her books, but for me I think this is partly a reason why I get gripped to her books like I do, as it is another element, and a rather happy element to a book which is all about murders and killings, as it gives you a bit of a refresh and a break from the hard hitting details of the main story. Usually, the romantic element involves 2 of the characters having some kind of chemistry which either happens or doesn't happen, so along with wanting to find out about the murders and who the killer is etc, you also want to read on to see if the 2 characters will get jiggy or not, or get together in some way.
This is where I think men may not enjoy the book. They might enjoy the story but with the romantic element and the very descriptive sex scenes, which pretty much verge in erotica, I think is more appealing to women than men. Also, if you like a full on thriller/crime novel, then the romance element might out you off and may well ruin it for you as I have read it has done for a lot of people who aren't keen on this element.
This book, compared to the only other I have read by her isn't that graphic. Her other book I read was about a serial killer, so each murder was described in detail in the book, but this story is a lot more about solving the crime and whodunnit. Even though a lot of murders happen in this book, the murders are mainly done by an unknown sharpshooter, so the killings aren't very graphic, but as I said, this is not what the book is focused on, so I think if you like thrillers but not graphic ones, then you will enjoy this book.
All in all if you like thriller/crime novels, and also don't mind a bit of romance mixed in at the same time, then I would definitely recommend you read this book.