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First Class Thriller,
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This review is from: Watch Your Back (The Baltimore Series Book 4) (Kindle Edition)
Karen Rose has written another elaborate brick of a thriller at 592 pages long. The patient development of characters and plot are a necessary foundation that leads to a climactic finale. Most of the action is packed into a frenetic 48 hour period. This story focuses on Detective Stevie Mazzetti and Private Investigator Clayton (Clay) Maynard, involving their personal and professional quests. Stevie's husband, attorney Paul, and son Paulie were murdered eight years ago. She has a daughter, Cordelia, aged 7. Her ex-partner Silas Dundridge was a dirty cop mixed up with Lippman, a bent lawyer. Stevie is looking into old cases they were involved in. She is on the verge of exposing a ruthless, powerful public figure and businessman, Todd Robinette (Robbie). He is in control of a handful of trusted and loyal associates. He has reasons to eliminate Stevie. She narrowly survives several attempts on her life. Innocent bystanders are killed. Clay has recently saved Stevie's life and although they have a longstanding mutual attraction they are wary of any commitment. As they become closer, much is revealed of their past lives and relationships that explain this reluctance. As the threats on Stevie and Cordelia become more intense, Clay takes drastic action to protect them including using his step-father's extraordinary stronghold on the coast as a safe house.
Karen Rose has constructed an intricate web of action-packed intrigue. Several plot lines run throughout that are pulled together to complete a dramatic and enthralling story. Characters from previous novels by the author are involved but this can be read as a stand alone book. The characters are well-developed with the relationship between the two protagonists particularly intense and passionate! Emma, Stevie's psychologist and friend, is prominent as are Clay's team and the FBI agents who have a mole amongst them. Cordelia is an absolute joy and totally engaging. Robbie and his associates are loathsome, greedy individuals who ensure the pace of the narrative never drops as the body count rises and the battle of wits and conspiracy become more intensive and hazardous. This is a complex novel involving a host of strong and pertinent characters written with an ease by the author that seems effortless as the intricate factions are gradually unravelled. A couple of unexpected twists add to the suspense and excitement of a thoroughly enjoyable, well-written book.