Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review: I'm Watching You

I'm Watching You
Karen Rose
Romantic Suspense
Warner Books/October 2004
Library book

From the back cover ~


Star prosecutor Kristen Mayhew has a dangerous secret admirer. He seems to know her every thought, her every move. He sends her letters. And he kills the criminals she herself is powerless to stop.


This avenger even knows Kristen's deepest secret - the one that has kept her from surrendering her heart to Abe Reagan, the police detective sworn to protect her. Like Kristen, Reagan is haunted by the loss of something precious that can never be regained. But in the shadow of a calculating serial killer, the two turn to each other and dare to rediscover passion... even as the messages and vicious murders continue. Even as the killer's thirst for retribution makes Kristen a target for murder.

Rose takes the reader back to Chicago where an Assistant States Attorney and a Chicago Police detective are about to find themselves in the middle of a series of vigilante killings. The suspense was kept high this time around with no one knowing who would be the next victim. There is a connection with all the victims, they all faced Kristen Mayhew in court. Other than that, it's random with only the killer knowing who his next target might be.

Abe Reagan has come out of hiding. He was working deep undercover in the narcotics department of the Chicago PD. He's recently switch to Homicide and his first case puts him in contact with Kristen Mayhew when she proves to be an important link to the murder. Abe was recently widowed but his situation is different from most since he was undercover for years. As he's coming out from undercover work and from mourning, he's beginning to think about women and relationships and can't help but notice Kristen. She's smart, kind and very attractive. She's also tenacious when it comes to the law and going after the criminals in court, something that Abe understands. Abe was easy to like. He's had some tough times in recent years and is finally ready to start the next phase of his life. It's pretty obvious that he's attracted to Kristen and would like things to go beyond a work relationship. I liked Abe for the fact that he was upfront with his feelings even when he was unsure of how to handle them. He's still working through some issues with his wife's death and they play a role in how he moves forward in his relationship with Kristen.

Kristen Mayhew is one heck of a prosecutor. She's got a great record for putting the criminals away. Even so, there are those that go free, or plea bargain and do very little, if any time. It's those that Kristen finds herself trying to protect. What a screwed up world she's in. She's also in fear for her own safety when it becomes known that the killer is very aware of Kristen and her personal life. Majorly high creep factor. Then there's the victims friends and associates. They're not crazy about Kristen and they are very dangerous. Kristen agrees to work with the police in trying to figure out who the next victim might be. This puts her and Abe together a lot. And then when Abe appoints himself her personal bodyguard they get even closer.

The way Rose portrayed the killer was that he sees the killings as doing something good for the community. He's getting rid of the scum that the system didn't. The rapist, murders and child abusers that got away with their crimes. Doesn't that make it kind of okay since he's not really killing innocent people? I liked the way it played out with the cops and everyone working the case questioning what this guy was really doing. They know it's wrong, that they can't simply let the vigilante continue murdering people but at the same time... these "victims" are the dregs of society, the criminals the cops want off the streets. So how do they justify stopping this guy from getting rid of the very criminals they go after? It was hard to feel sorry for the murder victims when you know the horrible things they did that brought them to the attention of the vigilante.

Abe and Kristen are kept very busy with both of them working long hours on the case. They have tons of paperwork to go through to find any link the victims may have. Add to that the threats Kristen receives and they are both under a lot of stress. So when to find time for the romance? Actually there isn't a lot of romance going on. Through much of the story it's a more subtle type of romance with a look here, a glance there. A touch here, a kiss there. They find themselves attracted to each other but they've got so very much going on that it's hard to take that attraction to the next level.

The romance does pick up toward the latter half of the book and that was okay with me. I really enjoyed seeing how Kristen got to know not only Abe but his team. They all had different views of Kristen and how much help she might be to their case. She surprised them with her efficiency and her hard work. You could see how the characters changed as they got to work together and get to know each other. They came to care about each other as colleagues and as friends. I thought Rose did a good job on showing the development of those work relationships and how some turned to friendships or had the potential for friendship. Abe and Kristen did get together and it made for some sweet, tender and very sexy love scenes. There just seemed to be less than what I usually expect from a romantic suspense.

The killer wasn't revealed until near the end but I had a pretty good idea who it was before the reveal. Even with knowing that, the suspense of how it would all play out kept me interested in the murder mystery. Rose does a good job keeping all the different storylines from unraveling and made everything come together in the end. Another very solid and satisfy read from Karen Rose.

Rating: B+


  1. Leslie, I don't know these characters, so I read your review, lol! Great one, BTW. I just read one of Rose's books and really enjoyed it... can't wait to continue reading her backlist. I'll get to this one eventually and I'm looking forward to it. :)

  2. Oh, I just adore Karen Rose's books. Sooo good! Great review!

  3. Hils ~ Nath turned me on to Rose and I gotta say so far(3)they've all been very good reads.

    Lori ~ Rose just pulls you into the story and doesn't let go until the end. Yep, definitely well written.

  4. I've read a couple of Karen Rose books and while I know a lot of readers love her books - and I can see why, she really is a good writer - for me there's just a bit too much gruesome and not enough romance. If there were more romance it might offset the other, but she's a tad too sparse on the romance and too heavy on the suspense for me

  5. Kristie ~ I can totally understand that. The romance was less than what I usually expect from RS but I enjoyed the crime solving part so it worked for me. I do think the crime/suspense comes before the romance w/Rose. Not sure if that changes from book to book but so far I wouldn't say the romance has been the primary focus.

  6. Great review, Leslie, once again :D Man, I really want to go and re-read this book :) I think this was the first book I read by Ms Rose and it brings back memory.

    I'm going to wait a little though before my re-read, since I've just read a couple of Rose not too long ago :D

    anyway, I'm just glad you enjoyed it :D I really loved the plot in this one and the moral question that it brings on.

  7. Oh, Kristie, I know what you mean! However, i feel most of the time, the romance is quite realistic with the situation, so I'm okay with it ;)

  8. Nath ~ I’m holding back from gloaming Rose. It would be so easy but I’ll spread them out instead. :)

    The morality was key to the plot and I thought Rose pulled it off well. And the romance like you said, fit with the plot.