Saturday, July 5, 2014

Don't Tell Review


Synopsis:
It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake. Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. She is even taking a chance on love with Max Hunter, a man with wounds of his own. But her past is about to collide with the present when her husband uncovers her trail and threatens her hard-won peace. Step by step, he's closing in on her- and everything and everyone she loves.


Nine years.  She lifted her chin, willing the fear to recede, willing her muscles to relax.  Nine years had passed since he'd pushed her down the stairs.  Seven years since she'd made her escape.  Seven years of being afraid, of looking over her shoulder.  Of taking a step back every time someone reached to touch.

How long would she allow him to affect her life?  Him.  She made herself think his name.  Rob Winters.  An evil sonofabitch that got his kicks from terrorizing those weaker than himself.

My Review:

This is my first read by author Karen Rose but it certainly won't be my last.  Don't Tell takes on the often taboo subject of domestic violence, as a woman and her young son escape the clutches of a monster disguised in a police uniform and spend the next seven years building a new life, while constantly looking over their shoulders.  Their story is chilling and the abuse graphic, but so worth the read as it is brilliantly written, portraying the desire and determination to survive through the eyes of Caroline (aka Mary Grace), as she claws & scrapes her way to a  better life for her son...one that is not filled with fear and pain.  At the same time, she knows she can never stop looking back for fear her husband will find them and take them back. 

Don't Tell gravitates between three scenarios as the story develops and races toward an ending in which they all collide.  One part is Caroline building her new life with Max, her new boss & a man with a trunk load of his own emotional baggage.   Their romantic attraction is immediate & very touching as Caroline learns to trust a man again, and Max learns to let go of a tragedy and disappointment in his own past.  The other scenarios swing between the SBI investigation, as it ramps up to catch Caroline's abusive husband, and Rob Winters (her husband), who happens to be a cop who has crossed over the edge of sanity upon discovering his wife & son were not killed but actually ran to escape his abuse.  The depravity and depth of Rob's cruelty become clear as he methodically tracks down his wife while cruelly punishing everyone he thinks may have helped her escape and start a new life.  The suspense & anticipation are high in this one as Rob's insanity explodes in an uncontrollable rage, and he draws nigher and nigher to finding Caroline & Tommy.  While I almost dreaded reading what I knew was going to happen, I was mesmerized into turning pages as fast as possible.

I don't want to leave the impression that Don't Tell is all doom & gloom...it isn't.  While the subject matter is painful, the spirit of survival & a new life is very much alive.  A mother's love & desire to give her child a better life is a powerful motivator and is demonstrated admirably in this book.  The secondary characters are outstanding & well developed, adding another layer to the plot.  Dana, who runs the abuse shelter Caroline first escaped to is funny, snarky, and often a reality check for Caroline.  Special Agent Steven Thatcher, who is in charge of the investigation and tracking down Rob, is a widow with three sons of his own.  He has no qualms about taking down a rogue cop...even while fellow cops question his loyalties & methods.

Don't Tell is a romance/suspense book in which both elements are well written.  While the romance happens "upon first sight", it is both believable and beautiful - two damaged souls finding & helping one another learn to trust again.  The suspense is just chilling...the anticipation level is off the charts!   The investigation & manhunt are intense and ring true.  I can't wait to work the second book of the series, Have You Seen Her, into my reading schedule.  Fans of romance/suspense - Meet author Karen Rose!  You will love Don't Tell!  A must read!

My Rating:  5 Gorgeous  ♥♥♥♥♥'s...And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart...xxx

Sandra

Quotes:

He wanted her to recognize him.  To remember what he was capable of.  He wanted her to fear him like she'd never feared in her life.
♦        ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦ 

Please, God, no.  The pleas rolled in her head, echoing.  Don't let it be like before.  Don't let it be him.
♦        ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦

The red tip would hurt.  The acrid smell of burning flesh would combine with the stale smell of the cigarette smoke.  And it would hurt.  Numb, she watched as the smoke continued to rise.

He dragged on the cigarette and blew the smoke so that it formed a cloud around her head.  He smiled, his lips baring yellow teeth.  She'd seen them in her nightmares, fangs dripping with blood.

His smile widened into a grin, his eyes so calculatingly evil that she found herself mesmerized.  Eyes of a cobra, she thought.  Ready to strike.
♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦        ♦        ♦
 
(Dana & Caroline talking about Max)

"Poor, poor Caroline.  Does he make your heart go pitter-pat?"

Caroline shook her head.  "I wish."

"Jack-hammer?  Oh, boy," she whistled when Caroline nodded.  "That can't sit well with you."

"Why would you say that?"

Dana tapped her chin with her forefinger.  "Let's see.  Caroline Stewart, who has successfully avoided any entanglement with a man for as long as I've know her.  Suddenly she's face-to-face with potent sex appeal.  I bet he liked you, too.  That would make it worse."
♦        ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦


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