Romance and suspense aren’t two genres you would normally associate with each other. Crime books are about tension, gore and mystery, right? Surely you can’t mix all that dark, gloomy stuff with tales of blossoming relationships or saucy sex scenes? That’s what I thought.Until I read the incredibly enticing book, You Belong to Me by romantic suspense novelist Karen Rose.
You Belong to Me is about a crazed killer who goes on a murdering spree in order to quench his thirst for revenge, personally victimising forensic pathologist Lucy Trask along the way by ensuring that she finds the mutilated bodies. With the help of hot cop JD Fitzpatrick, Lucy must unravel the mystery by delving into her past and uncovering family secrets before any more people are violently killed. As if she didn’t have enough to deal with, Lucy also has to resist JD’s charms in order to remain focused on the case, but avoiding temptation isn’t easy when they are falling for each other so quickly…
The novel is written from different perspectives; switching between JD, Lucy, Private Investigator Clay and the killer. Admittedly, it is confusing to come to terms with who is who and what they are about initially, but once you have adjusted to the characters then it is easier to follow. Using several points of view allows you to further understand each individual and aids character development, as well as varying up the story. Further, it is compelling to read about the events from the killer’s perspective, as it adds that extra chill factor.
Whilst other crime novels can be quite heavy and full of technical jargon, Rose writes with clarity and fluidity, making the criminological aspects easier to digest. Detailed description and concise dialogue make for easy consumption, as it is written so coherently you will be kept page-turning for a substantial amount of time.
Throughout the novel there are twists and turns which keep you guessing until the very end, where the suspense is built to an exciting climax. The killer is very much a surprise, and there aren’t too many characters so you don’t get bogged down with suspects and their backgrounds, which can easily happen in “whodunit” style genres.
Although JD and Lucy’s relationship is somewhat predictable, the romance elements within the novel are still charming and their chemistry is depicted clearly by Rose; their desire for each other strengthening as the story proceeds.
With a tense prologue, gripping introduction and an unpredictable ending, the novel maintains an intricate narrative which will keep you engrossed. It encapsulates all the elements of a murder mystery book, with plenty of disturbing gore, detective work and shifty suspects. Merge this with friendships, budding relationships and raunchy moments and you have one hell of an interesting read which proves that, yes, you can indeed combine two completely different genres and make it work.