Monster in the Closet (Romantic Suspense, #19; Baltimore, #5)
by Karen Rose (Goodreads Author)
Monster In The Closet begins with eleven-year-old Jazzie Jarvis witnessing her mother’s horrific murder at the hands of her father, Gage Jarvis. Unfortunately, her five-year-old sister, Janie, is also traumatized when she sees her mother lying in her own blood. Jazzie has not spoken since the incident and Janie has nightmares. Trying to help the girls cope and heal emotionally they are taken to Healing Hearts with Horses that provide therapy to traumatized children. Their counselor is Taylor Dawson who is also facing her own set of demons. Lied to all her life about her real father, Clay Maynard, she’s constantly looked over her shoulder in fear. She discovers that her mother dreamed up the monster for her own selfish purposes, while the children’s monster is an abusive murdering father. Now Taylor and her own friends and family must find Gage before he hurts the girls.
Elise Cooper: This book seemed to be a slight departure from your other novels?
Karen Rose: It was a different book for me. I wrote it in the beginning of 2016 when we lost three people in our family, within a three-week period. I was grieving and needed to write something with a REAL happy ending. Although I was contracted to write another book, the one that will come out in February, I needed to go back and visit with my characters, my old friends. The first parts written were the touchy, feely scenes and then I later added in the mystery/suspense.
EC: There are two plot lines, one suspenseful, and the other a happy resolution for one of your characters?
KR: Clay Maynard had his daughter stolen away from him by his wife. He was a Baltimore PI who is personally and professionally frustrated. Having made a living in finding children he can’t find his own, searching for over twenty years. Because he is not inept I had to find a reasonable explanation why this successful PI could not find his own daughter. This character was actually given his happy ending because I needed it.
EC: Where did you get the idea for the organization, Healing Hearts With Horses?
KR: A friend and I actually thought of starting a therapeutic riding program for children who were abused. Because of the regulations and legal issues we had to jump through we shelved the idea. I understood from my own experiences that taking care of horses could be a stress release and calming. I could go out to the pasture and comb a horse for an hour and it felt liked I had relaxed the whole day.
EC: So you believe in the concept of animal therapy?
KR: Yes, I think the concept of Equine and Canine Therapy is catching on. I read an article put out on Twitter by the FBI where they talk about their victim programs. The canine units will go out to disaster areas and work with the First Responders who need an emotional outlet. These animals provide them a break. In another article I read about dogs that help children testify in court. A sexually assaulted child had to testify in front of her abuser. Having this animal in the court with her allowed her to keep her emotional control.
EC: All your characters seemed to be traumatized?
KR: The more tortured the character the happier their ending. Clays’ stepdaughter Cordy still has nightmares from her experience. Her mother Stevie, has doubts about her ability to reach her child. Another character, Daphne, still gets panic attacks, and deals with them by going to the barn and working with her horses. If she can’t get there she actually keeps objects around her that smell like the barn with that scent able to ground her. Jazzie, the little girl who witnesses her father murder her mother, stopped talking, and lost some of her childhood. Finally, Taylor, Clay’s real daughter, must come to grips with her mother’s lies. When she feels threatened she goes into attack mode, and she feels that she is constantly on the defensive.
EC: Who is the “monster” in the story?
KR: Not who, but what. Fear is the monster. In my books fear is a character of its own. I want to put my characters in situations where they have fears to overcome and show the many different ways to cope. All have something precious stolen from them, that sense of safety and security.
EC: Describe the murderer and abusive father, Gage?
KR: The author Lisa Gardner has a whole series of how to write villains, with the bottom line, that each has their own vulnerability. I want to examine if there is a line they won’t cross. Gage’s line is fluid depending on his mood at the moment. He did a lot of bad things and the scariest part is that he was really smart so he understood what he was doing.
EC: Ice cream plays an important part in this story?
KR: Yes. It goes back to my own childhood where ice cream was a reward. I remember after getting good grades my dad taking me to an all you can eat ice cream bar. When I was grieving about my family losses it became medicine for me. My favorite is from Graeter’s, an ice cream maker in Cincinnati, the flavor Black Raspberry Chip. For Christmas my husband bought me several pints. It lasted for a whole year. Now, whenever I finish a book my reward is getting some of my favorite.
EC: Stepdads play important roles in your books?
KR: I based them on the precious Brad Paisley song “He Didn’t Have To Be.” It is about a man who falls in love with and marries a woman with a child and takes on the duties of a father even though the child is not his. Clay was a stepdad and he used his own stepfather as a role model. A bit of trivia, Clays’ stepdad’s name was Tanner St. James and is based on someone who my mother relied on named James Tanner, a great man. There is a scene in this book where Clay forgives his real daughter Taylor’s stepdad, saying ‘you were a dad to her even though you didn’t have to be.’ I think the title ‘stepfather’ comes from men who have really “stepped” up to be the dad.
EC: Some of your characters have disabilities. Jazzie stutters, and Dillon/Holly have Down syndrome. Please Explain.
KR: I have a child who is deaf. I think we as writers should make people with disabilities prevalent in fiction, because they are prevalent in our real lives. They should never be invisible. Holly is in all my books because I want to show how she is an important part to the family.
EC: Can you tell us about your next books?
KR: The one coming out in February is part of my Cincinnati series, entitled Edge Of Darkness. It is the story of homicide detective Adam Kimble and child therapist Meredith Fallon. She is the target of someone hired to murder her. My next Baltimore series book will feature the Defense Attorney who played a role in helping the police find the killer Gage. Taylor and her stepfather will also be in it. I have plans for that family who will be featured in future books.
ABOUT THE BOOK
MONSTER IN THE CLOSET BY KAREN ROSE
The Sunday Times bestselling author of Every Dark Corner returns with an exclusive novel celebrating ten years of Karen Rose’s thrillers in the UK. MONSTER IN THE CLOSET reunites readers with characters from Karen Rose’s bestselling Baltimore series.
A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime…
Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.
Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter’s stables so that she can observe the program’s security director – her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she’s getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne’s handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.
But not if the real monster gets to her first… (less)
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