With Death Is Not Enough Karen Rose has out done herself. This story highlights love and friendship, romance and passion, gruesome murder, frustrating injustice, with an engaging hero/heroine.
Although Rose’s readers have seen Thomas Thorne and Gwyn Weaver in previous books this novel is their story. Thorne actually gives defense attorneys a good name, always attempting to help those unfairly charged, as was the case when he was young. His backstory is very compelling, having been falsely accused while in high school. It seems Déjà vu when he once again becomes the main person of interest in a murder. He is found in bed, drugged senseless, next to a woman beaten and knifed to death, with his fingerprints on the weapon. His friends circle the wagon, standing by him and searching for details that will prove his innocence. It becomes apparent that someone is setting him up, out for revenge, and wants to slowly destroy his life, piece by piece. The various attacks on his friends, his business and his reputation are intended to get at everything he holds dear and values.
Readers will not be disappointed with this suspenseful story. They will be riveted hoping beyond hope that justice will prevail, and that the psychopath attempting to frame Thorne will get his due. Although the romance was not at the forefront, it added to the storyline.
Elise Cooper: Why the Thorne story now?
Karen Rose: In Monster In The Closest he helped the good guys find a killer that made him the target of a vicious gang leader. I knew from the first Baltimore book of this series, back in 2011, I wanted to tell his and Gwyn’s story. I actually was able to speak with someone who was in the FBI, became a prosecutor, and then a defense attorney. In some ways, I based Thorne’s character on
EC: The rule of law is important to him?
KR: He was upset when he saw due process circumvented and abused. This country is built upon being punished for what you actually do. Defense attorneys are part of the check and balance systems. Justice is done in my books. It can be a good thing, but if used improperly it can be turned into a weapon. Thorne takes this very seriously making sure that the Constitution is enforced, and that the prosecutors do not get away with bullying the system.
EC: Thorne’s friends seemed to circle the wagons?
KR: The police did not overreact because he had worked with them and had proven himself to have integrity. All of his friends are good people who realize he is good person that was framed. I had everyone get involved.
EC: How did the romance come about?
KR: Thorne had a fling for Gwyn for years. It never seemed the right time because both were unattached at the wrong times. He was biding his time. They both danced around each other. He had to work up enough courage to tell her how he felt. I liked writing this friends to lovers’ story. They were best friends who have kept deep secrets from each other. They knew each other well, but have been holding back traumatic issues. They never displayed all their cards on the table.
EC: How would you describe Thorne?
KR: He is a large tough guy on the outside, but on the inside, he is vulnerable. His mom threw him away, he lost his high school sweetheart, and was falsely accused of murder when younger. Thorne is definitely trustworthy, protective, and honest. He is a good guy and someone special.
EC: How would you describe Gwyn?
KR: She is trying to get her life back together, now 4.5 years after being horrifically assaulted. I would describe her before the assault: sassy, someone who wanted to be the center of attention, had a good heart, and blunt, while afterward she withdrew. She had to overcome the emotional scars that ran deep, including trust issues. I think by the end of the book she becomes her old self; what you see is what you get.
EC: I would describe your women characters, using the Helen Reddy phrase, “I am woman hear me roar.” Do you agree?
KR: Strong women are a crucial element to a romantic suspense book. They take their lives back. I am used to strong woman because my circle of friends are intelligent and strong women. They have spines of steel and will not let anyone push them around. Lucy, Stevie, Paige, and Gwyn all rallied around Thorne because they created a family around the circle of friends. They took control over their own destiny and never cowered.
EC: Which is easier to write, the romance or suspense?
KR: Writing suspense goes faster in my mind. I can rat-tat-tat the scenes when bullets fly. Also, if someone is justifiably irate my fingers fly. Writing romance takes more emotions so it will take me longer. My personal pacing is slower for the romance scenes. It is a slow dance compared to a fast dance.
EC: What did you want the readers to get out of it?
KR: Good entertainment. Beyond that I wanted to show that both men and women are tough, but do have vulnerabilities. People should be who they are, not who they think they need to be. I see this as my responsibility as an author. Women need to stand up for themselves and to take matters in their own hands. My men characters see women as equals and not as delicate flowers. I hope my characters are role models. Strong women should be thought of as cool and not the “b” word. My fictional world is a world where people of all kinds play a role including those with disabilities.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next book?
KR: It will not be a Baltimore series book. It is “ta-ta” for now. The Baltimore series is a good-bye for now. But I am excited, coming out in February I will have a new series. The first novel in the Sacramento series is titled Say You’re Sorry. A serial killer is on the loose and grabs Daisy Dawson who manages to flee and grabs a necklace that she tears off the killer’s neck. This is my first book where the setting is out west. There will be carryover for some characters, but the only Baltimore characters are Daisy and her father Frederick.