Review: Say No More by Karen Rose

Posted August 17, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 24 Comments

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

Review: Say No More by Karen Rose
Say No More

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
three-flames


Series: Romantic Suspense, Sacramento #2
Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on August 11, 2020
Pages: 544
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

Karen Rose can grab you by the throat of your emotions, give you thrills and chills as you go into some gritty, dangerous places with the investigation teams, and invite you to fall in love with her complex characters with each new installment.  I was excited to discover this was Gideon’s story and a little wary about it also being Mercy’s, and rightly so, but well worth it.


Review

Say No More is the twenty-fourth of the overall Romantic Suspense series, but second in the books focused in Sacramento.  It probably could be read standalone in a pinch, but definitely works best read after Say You’re Sorry, at least.

Say No More opens with a fragile Mercy returning to Sacramento after fleeing the city six weeks before in the aftermath of a serial killer being caught and that kiss from Rafe.  Running with no word to her brother, Gideon, and Rafe, was a cowardly and wrong thing to do and it didn’t even help.  Her work in the forensic lab is distracted to the point of making significant errors and she’s put on leave so she determines to make things right with the brother she held hate and blame for all these years and the man who stirred her up with scary emotions particularly since he took a bullet for her.  She needs to help Gideon find Eden and end what goes on there and find the strength to face it all including growing feelings for Rafe.

Unfortunately, her name came up in a TV interview that gets seen by the wrong person.  Brother Ephraim from the Eden Cult spots Mercy and knows that dragging her back to Eden will kill two birds with one stone.  She can help the cops identify him and she is his big chance in the power struggle for leadership of the cult after the Pastor passes on.  DJ, the other main contender swore he killed Mercy and Ephraim can catch him in his lie by producing Mercy.  While the FBI hunts him, he is hunting her and he doesn’t care how many necks he needs to snap or bullets he needs to fire to get what he wants.

Other narrative threads weave through these and all eventually intersect for a big ending that leaves room for more work from the group of law enforcement people in Sacramento.

Generally, I am not one for darker stories, but there has always been something about Karen Rose’s writing that pulled me in and keeps me there- willing to walk the dingy alleys, shadowy streets, and dark places with those who are real heroes both the ones who survive terrible odds and those who serve and protect because yes, these stories offer both of those viewpoints.

Mercy is both a survivor and a member of the law enforcement community.  My heart ached through her story and those of others who were abused in the Eden cult.  Her panic attacks and withdrawals inside herself left me feeling helpless and scared for her though I was glad her best friend came along with her for support.  Eden was a heinous place run by evil people and it fired me up to see the group led by Gideon and Mercy going after the place.  It isn’t just a cult and the leaders aren’t benign religious types as they slowly discover.  I was stressing out and getting pretty emotional at times as things came out or happened.  I’ll offer a trigger warning to those who struggle to read about abuse or violence associated with it.

As usual, the author did her due diligence with the backdrop of the story whether it was cult practices, abuse victim/survivor behavior, police procedures, and even the local setting.  It all makes for a well-layered story.

The action-suspense plot offers several points of view including the villains which adds tension.  I had to set the book aside a few times when it got intense (I’m not a tough, hard-core thriller reader, keep in mind), but it was still an amazing read with a few breath-taking aha moments.

I enjoy the level of romance that is in each book that balances with the suspense.  I felt this one had a little more focus on Rafe and Mercy’s slowly-progressing relationship than past books.  And, it got a little spicier.  I thought it made sense because their romance was also an indicator of healing taking place when Mercy could get to a place where they could be in bed together without sending her into a panic.  Rafe was so patient and gentle with her and supported her as she worked and struggled with the demons inside.  Mercy was good for Rafe, too.  He wanted to get back to work at the police department and be a part of things instead of on leave and an invalid. She was smart and loyal, had her own skills that she could bring to the table besides her past experience with the cult.  They were a great match.

Rafe’s large, supportive Russian family and the larger circle of friends including Tom from Chicago (hopefully he gets his book next) were so wonderful.  I loved them from the moment they appeared in Gideon and Daisy’s book.

All in all, it was another absorbing, gut-wrenching, and abso-fabulous romantic suspense that I can breeze through the hefty amount of pages without noticing for the most part.  If you like your romantic suspense girtty and action-packed while still getting sensational character and romance development give these a go.

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


Challenges Met

New Release #112
Romanceopoly #62 Killer Crescent


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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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Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
2 months ago

It’s been a while since I read this series maybe it’s time to pick it up again. Thanks Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Oh yes, but start with the first Sacramento one if you do dive in here, Debbie. So good!

RO P
2 months ago

Karen Rose is one of the queens of suspense, and she gets it right every time! I’m definitely cool with 544 pages too! Hugs, RO

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  RO P

I know. I love that she takes the time and pages to develop her stories so well. 🙂

sherry fundin
2 months ago

i’ve seen this around and i’m glad to see it was a hit for you
sherry @ <a href=”http://www.fundinmental.com/”> fundinmental</a>

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  sherry fundin

Oh yes, her books are always a most anticipated read each year, Sherry. 🙂

Melliane
2 months ago

Oh yes I remember hearing good things about this one

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Melliane

Definitely worth the chatter on it, Melliane. 🙂

Anne - Books of My Heart

I always enjoy Karen Rose books. They are intense reads though. Wonderful review!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

They are high on my must read list each year. Thanks, Anne!

Berls
2 months ago

I’m not usually one for darker books either but you make this sound so good. Have you read both series or just this one? 20+ books is a big commitment for me these days. However, one of my favorite series has 50+ books so I’m not against trying.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Berls

The overall series is long, but I started at the point when she wrote the sub-series, Cincinnati, and continued forward from there. I didn’t have any trouble and have gone back for the first two. You could jump in with the first Sacramento one and do fine. 🙂
I know what 50+ series you mean and I’m only at twelve in it. 🙂

Lover of Romance
2 months ago

This sounds like a fantastic read, I hear Karen Rose is fabulous in her storytelling and I know how much you have enjoyed her work in the past. I really love seeing large group of friendship bonds in stories.

Great review

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Oh yes, I’m at auto-buy relationship with her books by now. 🙂 You picked up on one of the fabulous things about her books- the family/friends groups that form in each location of her sub-series and make it a personal story besides the dangerous cases.

Greg
2 months ago

I always like a good cult story even though they can be creepy! Glad this was good. I’ve seen it around a few times and the cover kinda looked like it was a good thriller.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg

I get a whole extra layer of chills as soon as a cult is in the picture. Yeah, that cover is scary with that expression and her eyes. 🙂 Worth the chatter on it.

Sharonda
2 months ago

this sounds like a roller coaster of a read! Im not a fan of darker romances myself but sometimes some of them sneak through lols. Great review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Sharonda

You said it. It dipped and turned and gave me quite a wild ride. Haha, yes, they do sneak through. This author’s books are the ones that get to me. 🙂

Nadene
2 months ago

I read the first book in the series, but did not continue. I really need to continue with it.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Nadene

Yes! Some are better than others and I still love the Cincinnati series best of the ones I’ve read, but I need to get book three through fifteen read. 😉

Carole Rae
2 months ago

oooo I love when we get multiple POVs (so as long as it is done right)

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

You said it. 🙂

Rachel
2 months ago

This was a tough read at times and it really angered me! I’m glad that gritty parts were balanced by romance and there was enough action and danger to distract me from some of those darker bits. Glad you enjoyed it, too. I look forward to the next book!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

Oh yes, the anger was real. I loved that the writer pulled me that far into the story. I agree that the romance was a good way to wash out the bitter taste from the other stuff going on. Hope a certain guy from Chicago gets the next book. 🙂