Friday, July 9, 2010

I Can See You by Karen Rose (unabridged audio book read by Elisabeth S. Rodgers)

I tested the romantic suspense waters previously with Catherine Coulter's The Maze, so when author Karen Rose's novel crossed my path, I wasn't immediately repelled in the way I would once have been. And the plot of I Can See You , involving the dangers of online predation, was very intriguing -- so much so that I entered into this 16-disc behemoth with little trepidation, despite the fact that I had just finished one nearly as long, Andrew Davidson's terrific genre-blender The Gargoyle.

Eve Wilson returns in Rose's tenth thriller. Scarred by a horrific assault in Don't Tell, Eve was also featured in Nothing to Fear. Now she's pulling her life together, bartending and studying for her M.A. in Counseling, just in time to get involved in a murder mystery.

"The hooker had awakened ... thinking she was being strangled. Then, she really was. He did love it when fantasy met reality with such perfection."

A killer with 30 years of experience at his chosen craft -- and 30 years of trophies (the victims' shoes) and a well-used lime pit to show for it -- is targeting users of an online role-playing game called Shadowland: a Second Life-like game where users pretend to be other selves.

And the list of victims of this series of half a dozen murders staged to look like suicides, with their eyes glued open, closely matches the list of participants in Eve's master's thesis experiment: studying the effects of online role-playing on real-world self-esteem. Now she must break the confidentiality of her subjects to save their lives.

Enter Minneapolis/St. Paul's famed "Hat Squad" (they wear fedoras to "dress the part" as detectives), headed by Noah Webster, coming down off a local magazine's feature article that focused on Webster's partner, handsome lothario Phelps, due to his Paul Newman looks. (Webster looks more like a film noir thug.) Never mind the fact that Webster must continually take up Phelps's slack.

Like The Maze, the weakest portions of I Can See You are those devoted to the expected romance — though these lovebirds are so sickeningly adolescent and self-defeating in the beginning that it's a wonder they get out of bed in the morning, let alone know how to pursue a mature relationship. Eve's trauma and Webster's recovering alcoholism are such obvious parts of their personalities that it seems they could agree to simply meet each other on equally flawed terms.

But Rose keeps the suspense high in I Can See You — the bulk of the story takes place during a single week — and audiobook reader Elisabeth S. Rodgers enhances the text with her immersion into the characters. Most of Rose's books tie together in some fashion due to her repeating of characters, so readers who like this one will undoubtedly want to seek out more of the author's work.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails