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I Can See You    by Karen Rose order for
I Can See You
by Karen Rose
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2009 (2009)

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

As a teenager, Eve Wilson was viciously attacked and left for dead, an incident that's taken her years to overcome, emotionally and physically. She's gone as far as moving to Minneapolis to make a fresh start, both with her life and her budding career as a psychologist. By day, she's a graduate student working toward her degree and overseeing a groundbreaking study that uses virtual reality to ease the socially inept into the real world. By night, she mixes drinks at a popular bar frequented mainly by cops. When some of her test subjects turn up dead, ostensibly by their own hands, Eve is alarmed and then shocked when further evidence confirms that they were actually murdered.

Homicide detective Noah Webster's suspicions prompted the investigation which eventually confirmed that each victim had been selectively targeted, tortured and then posed to mimic a suicide. That all the victims were participants of Eve Wilson's study only complicates matters. Noah has been attracted to her for almost a year. But he's never acted on that attraction; Eve doesn't need a recovering alcoholic in her life and he is not prepared to care for someone ever again. But as the killings escalate and Eve becomes Noah's online guide to a virtual playground where a stalker hides in plain sight, it's only a matter of time before a ruthless predator targets his most challenging victim yet.

Rose's greatest strength has always been her astute gift at getting into the heart and soul of her characters. Eve and Noah rank among her best. Both carry profound emotional scars, particularly Eve, as she finds herself targeted by yet another madman (fans will remember her as a secondary player in 2005's Nothing to Fear). Now as the lead, Eve uses her former traumas to help the police - and herself - rise above becoming a victim for a second time.

Despite numerous red herrings and a secondary plot that muddies the waters and lays a false trail for the police, it's not difficult figuring out the identity of the villain. This in no way detracts from the story's intensity however, as Rose is equally meticulous about getting into the heads of her antagonists. Another large and stellar cast of secondaries as well as a unique virtual world plot device only adds to the complex, chilling and intense romantic suspense that is I Can See You.

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