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Author: Karen Rose

Title: No One Left To Tell

Publisher: Headline

Hardback: 534 pages

ISBN: 978-0-7553-7394-9

Price: £16.99

Publication Date: 05/01/2012

It wasn’t until I had read about fifty pages of Karen Rose’s latest novel, No One Left To Tell, that I was finally able to scratch the nagging mental itch that had been plaguing me since I had opened the book.

Rose’s novels aren’t a series. At least not in the conventional crime fiction sense. But, occasionally, there is overlap between books – usually in the form of a character from one book reappearing in another novel. And, as I was reading No One Left To Tell, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I recognised its heroine – and principal protagonist – the beautiful martial arts expert and aspiring PI Paige Holden from somewhere else.

Try as I might though, I could not work out why she was so familiar. And it was starting to annoy me…

Until Paige was phoned by her friend, Olivia. And then I realised where I had seen Paige before. Because Olivia Sutherland and David Hunter were the main characters – and romantic leads – in Rose’s 2010 novel, Silent Scream. And Paige had been Olivia’s best friend! Somehow, despite the fact that it had been almost two years since I read Silent Scream [a period of time in which I had read hundreds of other books], something about Paige had stood out as a character – even though she had played a fairly minor role in Silent Scream.

So, itch finally scratched, I was able to settle down and devour the rest of No One Left To Tell.

The novel’s plot and themes are fairly well-trodden Rose territory. Paige, beautiful but unlucky-in-love, comes into possession of the only piece of evidence that could exonerate a man serving a life sentence for a murder that he didn’t commit. And when the man’s fiancé is murdered, Paige – unable to turn to the police – must rely on the help of District Attorney Grayson Smith to expose a huge cover-up and capture a ruthless killer, one who is interested in Paige herself. And, of course, this task isn’t made any easier by the devastatingly attractive [!!] Grayson and the feelings that Paige feels for him – and he for her…

I have to admit that I found the opening sections of the book – where a raft of characters and numerous backstory elements are introduced – quite a lot to get my head around. There are a lot of characters and point-of-view arcs and processing it was quite difficult at first. But once the novel got into its swing – and I managed to work out who everyone was! – I found myself caught up in the twists, violence, and most of all in the romantic travails of Paige and Grayson.

And, for me, it is the romantic aspect to Rose’s novels that has me coming back time-and-again. There is something quite moreish about the Hollywood-like, over-the-top nature of Rose’s characters and their love lives. I am not normally one who goes for romance [especially in crime fiction], but there is something about the way that Rose writes it that makes me need to read her books. Perhaps it is the confidence, glamour and American-ness of her books that makes them work so well [you certainly couldn’t imagine the themes and tropes of No One Left To Tell working if they were set in most other countries around the world!]. Or the fact that Rose does strong, independent [well, except for their romantic yearnings!] women so well.

Whatever the reason, it is a formula that has made me an addict, and I thoroughly enjoyed being transported by Rose’s latest slice of glamorous American crime fiction as the wind and rain battered the windows of my house in grey old unglamorous London!!!

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