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Have You Seen Her?    by Karen Rose Amazon.com order for
Have You Seen Her?
by Karen Rose
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)
Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

FBI Agent Stephen Thatcher is tracking a serial killer when he's contacted by his eldest son's chemistry teacher to discuss Brad's failing grades. Still reeling over the betrayal and then the death of his wife, and also a recent case that's left him and his three sons further emotionally scarred, Stephen is surprised over his immediate reaction to kind Dr. Jenna Marshal. Though his wife's desertion has soured Stephen on romance, circumstances throw him and Jenna together time and again. Jenna too, has sworn off love after losing her fiancÚ to cancer, but she finds Stephen a compelling and attractive man. His three sons also fill a void in her life. Both Stephen and Jenna soon find themselves walking a fine line, emotionally and professionally.

When Seattle detective Neil Davies learns of the North Carolina murders, he's certain a previous suspect (released on a technicality three years before) is responsible. Davies decides to do some solo investigating and quickly runs afoul of Stephen and his team. When Davies shows interest in Jenna, Stephen would like nothing more than to throw the man on the first plane back to Seattle but realises he needs Davies' insight into the killer's mind. Grudgingly he allows Davies to work the case as a consultant. When the killer's murderous spree escalates, it becomes clear that the teenage cheerleaders he's lured from their homes and then killed and mutilated, have only been a warm up act for his ultimate performance, claiming Jenna Marshal as his next trophy.

This is a riveting blend of great plotting, fine characterizations and sizzling romance, all of which create the perfect recipe for an edge-of-your seat suspense. The only flaw in an otherwise brisk and believable story is the romantic triangle Rose establishes between Jenna, Stephen and Neil. This twist complicates an already busy plot and doesn't fit Neil's character as a single-minded cop who's lost everything, (including his wife), over his obsession to catch a killer. As a whole though, Have You Seen Her? is a compelling and tension-filled page-turner. It's more than apparent that after only two books Karen Rose has found her story-telling niche in romantic suspense.

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