In Karen Rose’s new novel, Have You Seen Her?
, a serial killer has his sights set on cheerleaders in a small town in North Carolina. The girls, abducted from their beds, have something in common apart from their cheerleading duties – they each have long dark hair. It’s imperative that the murderer is tracked down before he claims more victims, and Special Agent Steven Thatcher is dedicated to catching this monster. Thatcher is a widower, and has his own problems: his son Brad is growing away from him. Brad’s teacher, Jenna Marshall, is sympathetic, and a relationship grows between the detective and the teacher – but both Steven and Jenna are bruised and wary from earlier relationships. And the seemingly omniscient killer is setting traps – ever closer to his pursuer’s home territory.
Karen Rose’s first novel, 2003’s Don't Tell, created something of a stir, with her heroine, Eve Wilson, brutalised, left unconscious – and requiring plastic surgery. And if that weren’t enough, Rose’s next book, I Can See You, subjected Eve to further agony. So it’s something of a relief that the new book has different protagonists centre stage, even if they have to go through similar (though not quite as punishing) ordeals. Certainly, the tension here is delivered with similar mastery, and Rose (who was a high school chemistry and physics teacher – education’s loss was a gain for readers) knows how to juggle all the requisite elements in a taut narrative like this. Be prepared for long, uninterrupted sessions with Have You Seen Her? – you won’t welcome any interruptions. --Barry Forshaw
Intense, complex, and unforgettable (James Patterson
'The new girl on the block in terms of exhilarating, full-throttle writers' (News of the World