Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Die For Me by Karen Rose

Book description:

The first victim is found in a snow-covered Philadelphia field. Detective Vito Ciccotelli enlists the aid of archaeologist Sophie Johannsen to determine exactly what lies beneath the frozen ground. Despite years of unearthing things long buried, nothing can prepare Sophie for the matrix of graves dug with chilling precision. The victims buried there haunt her. But the empty graves terrify her-the killer isn't done yet.

He is cold and calculating, the master of a twisted game. Even with Vito and Sophie hot on his trail, he will not stop. One more empty grave must be filled, and one last scream must be heard-the scream of an archaeologist who is too close for comfort and too near to resist...

I luuuuuurve Karen Rose. I picked up her first book, Don't Tell on a whim. Since then, I've been a RFG of hers.

I met Karen for the second time in Dallas. We chatted about Die For Me and she said that the villain was her evilest one yet. Though I luuuuuurve Karen, I have to respectfully disagree. To this day, I still think her most evil villain is Rob Winters from Don't Tell. There was just something about him that can still make me shudder even when I re-read the book for the 20th time. Not saying that this villain wasn't evil, but he didn't take the cake.

Vito Ciccotelli (from You Can't Hide) thought his day couldn't get any worse. I mean, seriously. All he wanted to do was go visit the grave of the woman he loved and lost. Instead, he finds himself at a mass grave where they have no idea how many victims there are. All he does know is that the likelihood that there is more than one is high. That's when archaeologist Sophie Johannsen is called into the fun. It's actually pretty funny how they first met. Vito thought Sophie was a college student (he picked her up at a local college) and that she was hitting on him. Heee. Of course when he realizes who she is, he's even more attracted to her yet determined to keep his distance.

Sophie finds more than one grave. The scary thing is that there are several empty graves. Though both her and Vito figure that her work with them is done, he has to call on Sophie's knowledge of medeival torture devices. This shit is wack. Creepy. Evil. *shudder* It's been over a week since I've read this book and it still gives me the creeps. A chair of nails. A "stretcher" (exactly what it sounds like).

So while Vito and Sophie are trying to figure out what drives this guy, he's picking out more victims. Picking them out from acting/modeling websites that are looking for work, he pretends to be a documentary filmmaker who needs actors. Then he kidnaps, tortures, and kills them. Why? Well, he's an artist. He captures the moment of death, but has no one to share it with. Poor guy. The only way he can get around this travesty is by getting hired as a graphics designer for a company that designs video games. His graphics have made the game (and company) wildly popular and successful. The owner of the company wants more, more, more. Simon is happy to oblige.

Meanwhile, down in Georgia, an agent named Daniel (totally blanking on the last name) is trying to track his parents down. Though it seems very strange going from Philidelphia to Georgia, Karen ties it together quite nicey. Daniel realizes that no one has seen his parents for months. Though he himself hasn't been in contact with his parents for years, as a Judge, it is very odd for his father to be out of contact for very long. Eventually he follows the trail to Philidelphia where he believes that his mother was being treated for cancer. He didn't expect to find the family skeltons that he thought were long buried.

The relationship between Vito and Sophie was built quite believeably. Sophie is extremely wary of relationships after being burned when she was a grad student. Though 10 years removed from the situation, Sophie still recalls the heartache she felt when she realized that she was used by her own professor. What was somewhat annoying is that though Sophie was a capable, highly intelligent woman, she still believed that Vito would believe the horrible lies that were spread about her. As soon as she had to put Vito in contact with said professor, she was absolutely sure that Vito would judge her like everyone else did. So obviously Sophie has issues which interferes with her ability to have a relationship with Vito. That's okay though, 'cuz Vito has issues of his own. Does he ever.

In between the search for the killer, Karen finds enough time to bring in the Ciccotelli family. Rather than bogging the book down, it lightens it up when it almost gets too morbidly dark to handle. When Vito's sister-in-law has a stroke, Vito finds his house taken over by his four nephews and his sister, Tess. It was nice to revisit Tess and see her interact with her family, especially her father. Oh and Vito's brothers? Dino, Tino, and Gino? She even makes it so it doesn't seem completey ludicrious. LOL.

Even with all that, there was still something that was missing. I can't put my finger on what it was, but it was enough that I can't give this book five stars. Every book prior (except Have You Seen Her?) has been above a 5 star rating. Like nothing can compare.

4.5 out of 5 stars.


nath said...

Oh man!!! I can't wait to get my hands on this book!! it does sound very good and creepy. I enjoyed all of Karen Rose's previous books except for You can't Hide (Tess and Aidan). and LOL, Vito, Gino, Tino and Dino! wonder why Vito is not Vino....

Casee said...


Why didn't you like You Can't Hide? I re-read it after reading Die For Me and I liked it more the 2nd time. Now I'm curious to know why you didn't like it!

Ange - The Romance Groupie said...

Hmmmm.... Would you consider this a 'pay full price for it' book or a 'wait for it at the used bookstore', Casee? It's on my 'to consider' list because I like her books but I haven't committed on whether the buy it yet.

nath said...

hey Casee... right now, I can't really remember why I didn't like it... it was just an overall feeling. I think that 1) I found it hard to read, I couldn't really focus on it... 2)I was annoyed at the relationship btw Tess and Aidan, the whole cop vs. psychologist and the testifying part... also, didn't really enjoy the little sidestory with Aidan's younger sister.

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