Review: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted March 18, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 22 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Into the Dark by Karen Rose
Into the Dark

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: Cincinnati #5
Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on November 26, 2019
Pages: 593
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

Two boys flee a horrific situation while a dark killer who has been targeting the filth of the community must set his sights on eliminating a loose end.  Taunt with with suspense and sizzling with romance, Into the Dark welcomed me back to Karen Rose’s world writhing with the evil humans can do and the finest human heroes working to bring them down.  Into the Dark promised much with Dani and Diesel’s long-awaited story and it delivered in spades.


Into the Dark is the fifth of the Cincinnati series and #23 of the author’s overall romantic suspense series.  While this offers a standalone suspense plot, the book doesn’t standalone well with the ongoing character and romance plot as its other main focus.

Michael Rowland has been terrorized and abused in his own home for some time, but one night, his sleazy step-dad goes after his five year old brother and Michael moves heaven and earth to get Joshua to safety.  Their flight deters one situation, but forces Michael to witness a murder.  At the coaxing of young Josh, Michael places his trust in Josh’s soccer coach, Diesel Kennedy, and Michael’s high school friend Greg’s sister, Dr. Dani Novak.  He is hearing impaired, but he is determined to keep his brother safe and keep them together no matter what.  Coach and Dr. Dani are the first people in his life to give whole-heartedly and care for him as much as Joshua.  But a killer is out there who knows Michael saw him that night and he’s still killing even as he hunts down all his loose ends.

Diesel, ex Army Ranger, wounded vet, and seriously gifted computer whiz has been yearning with unrequited love for Dani Novak since the day he saw her.  He’s even saved her life and the lives of her friends. He’s adopted into the same large group of friends and family she shares, but after spouting the excuse that she’s HIV positive and they can’t work, she has kept her distance.  Diesel is patient and he sees the same yearning in her eyes that fills his own.  He will wait to prove her excuse is just that.  Meanwhile, he will stand strong beside her to protect two boys who deserve a real chance at life and family.

Dani has pushed Diesel away and told him it won’t work once, but her cold, detachment is wearing brittle thin especially when she sees the wonderful man he is up close and his loving patients when she has given him no hope.  Diesel is also ready with his mad computer and other skills to bring down the killer and anything else that would harm her or the boys.  His deep, generous protective heart is winning her over even when she fights to keep him at bay because she knows deep down she is undeserving of such a wonderful man.

Cade set out to do right by the abused and exploited kids and women in his own way which involves a lot of pain for his victims that he gets off on, but now one teenager might be the reason he gets caught unless he gets to Michael Rowland first.

And, then there is Grant an accountant for Cleveland following the confusing trail his missing brother left behind taking him to Cincinnati and the trail of conflicting clues and bodies to an answer.

Into the Dark is a well set up and developed thriller romance like all the books in the series before it.  The author introduces the reader to the world of the deaf and to those who live life HIV positive  added to child abuse and human trafficking.  These are always a little longer in page count, but I love that it gives the author room to develop all components of the book deeply.  There is no skimping on character, relationships, criminal mind and actions, police procedure, detective work, some twists, and followed by intense pay off scenes.  It’s the whole package.

I hesitated to read this right away because it was Diesel and Dani’s story and I was most taken with Diesel as soon as he was introduced just as I’ve always had a soft spot for sweet Dani who has had be oh so strong.  I just wanted to relish having their story still to read even while a tidbit worried that it wouldn’t meet my overly expectant anticipation.  But, it did in spades.  In fact, much of the focus of the book was on them and the Rowland boys.  Such a fabulous story that left my eyes burning with tears of sad or happy a few times.

So, all in all, it was an amazing reading experience.  If you crave a fab thriller romance, I can’t recommend the Cincinnati series enough.

My thanks to Berkley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

Mt. TBR #28
Literary Pickers #53 laptop
Books N Tunes #11 Bill Withers’ Lean on Me
Romanceopoly #22 Emergency Services (medical heroine)
Romance BINGO #19 doctor

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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1 year ago

Oh it’s great that you found a good romance thriller there and I didn’t know about it.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Melliane

These are fab and I think you’d like them, Melliane! 🙂

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
1 year ago

What a fantastic review Sophia Rose it really shows how much you love this series and these characters. It’s been a while since I read her but this couple sounds fab!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Oh, I really do love it. I’ve enjoyed her other series and books, but this is my fav. 🙂

claire @ clairefy
1 year ago

So glad you enjoyed reading this book! I’ve never actually read a thriller romance novel, but I like the sound of blending those two genres already. Lovely review :))

claire @ clairefy

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

A few years back I would have passed them up, but I took a leap and found out I really enjoyed thriller romances as told by Karen Rose. 🙂 Thanks, Claire!

Anne - Books of My Heart

I thought this was amazing too. I started with the Cincinnati location when it was new and went back and read the rest of the series. I have always loved Dani; it was so easy to love Diesel. Excellent review!

It’s Sophia review day on the Internet!!!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

That was where I started, too. I have gone on to read or listen to others, but still haven’t gotten caught up yet. Woohoo, another Diesel fan!

LOL, it really is and I didn’t even plan it that way. 🙂

sherry fundin
1 year ago

wow. this sounds right up my alley
sherry @ fundinmental

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  sherry fundin

Superkeen, Sherry! Make sure you start with the first one in the Cincinnati set. Hope you end up loving them. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
1 year ago

I haven’t read this author but this sounds like a really good book.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

I was riveted the whole time and the pages just fly by. 🙂

Lover of Romance
1 year ago

What a great review. I am so happy to hear you had such a great reading experience. I love a book that can have you in tear and feeling happy vibes.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Thanks, Renee! Yes, this one really got me worked up emotionally.

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

I’m so happy you loved this one, too! I didn’t read the previous books, but I did really enjoy their romance anyhow. The boys really touched me heart also. 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

You make a good point that the story can standalone and even the romance. I think the anticipation after seeing them dancing around each other made me think it was better when connected. I’m so glad you loved them together, too.

Oh my yes those boys were the reason for my tears. 🙂

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

I haven’t read this series, but it sounds great! I’m about to start a thriller tonight. The world of the deaf, child abuse and trafficking sounds intense , and I can see how this story would pull you completely in. Dani and Diesel sound like fantastic characters, and I’m glad that their story met your expectations. I love when story brings tears to your eyes. Excellent Review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Hope your thriller really grabs you, Lindy. Yes, this one goes into dark places, but doesn’t stay there b/c the good guys hunt down the baddies. Love that part the best. 🙂

Carole Rae
1 year ago

Glad this was such a good experience for you! It sounds really good.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Oh yes. I diddle around long enough, but it ended up being way better than I could hope for. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I do like her books. 5 stars..eep. I really need to pick these up again!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Oh yes, there are some heavy hitters like this one to love. 🙂