Title: You Belong To Me
Hardback: 470 pages
Publication Date: 06/01/2011
Training for this year’s London Marathon I ran at some fairly odd times and thus saw some very strange people and things. But never did I come across a dead body slumped across a chess table as Lucy Trask – the heroine of Karen Rose’s latest novel You Belong To Me – does one day during her early-morning jog.
Despite the corpse’s horrific injuries, it soon becomes apparent to Lucy [a forensic pathologist by day, but one with a leather-clad night time secret – quite literally!] that the dead man is someone from her past. And when more bodies start turning up, they’re all linked to the small town where Lucy grew up. It seems someone is exacting a psychopathic form of revenge against a group of people with a dark secret and that Lucy is the killer’s ultimate target.
Fortunately for Lucy she’s in a Karen Rose novel, so there’s a hunky detective, JD Fitzpatrick, who’s fallen for her and will go to any lengths to protect her [JD! Even his name is cool and macho in a very American-kind-of-way!]. The book’s premise of attractive individuals finding love whilst a psychopathic killer is on the loose is a formula that Rose has used multiple times and it still continues to work well here [and I’d feel quite short-changed if she deviated from her formula]. In fact, its testament to her authorial ability that each book feels different and each new set of characters manages to have their own individual identities.
For me, this is also the reason why Rose continues to sell so well in the UK. Her glossy blend of romance and crime is completely compelling because it is so different from other UK crime fiction fare. The Hollywood-ised take on the crime novel is something that no UK crime writer could really replicate – certainly not on home soil [no disrespect, but Liverpool or Peckham don’t really have the same glamour as any of Rose’s settings!].
And what continues to set her above the competition is the manner in which she effortlessly mixes the romance and the crime elements of the plot. There is a danger that they could feel and read like two completely separate storylines, but in You Belong To Me this never happens. In fact, with its added emphasis on the crime and procedural elements, I would say that this was the Karen Rose novel that has the best balance between the crime and the romance strands [In my humble opinion. And I must admit that I haven’t read all of her books . . . yet]. Another enjoyable and page-turning novel from the queen of romantic suspense.