My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lauren Grahame arrives in Carnal, Colorado with nothing more than a desire to find the perfect nowhere town to call home. As Lauren finds a job and begins to make friends and settle down, her equanimity is soon shaken when Tate Jackson, her gorgeous, and unfortunately, obnoxious, new boss takes an interest and a serial killer begins targeting women in the sleepy town.
Suffice it to say that Kristen Ashley’s writing is not for everyone. That said, her characters, settings and storylines are so engaging that they more than compensate for any shortcomings of her unpolished style.
More often than not, Ashley’s heroes make terrible first impressions. They are rude, dictatorial and domineering to say the least, but Tate Jackson surpasses even the most offensive in his insulting attitude toward Lauren. It is a testament to her characterization, that Ashley is able to rehabilitate him as well as he does because by the end of the book he is as swoonworthy as they come.
Lauren is a particularly engaging heroine on a journey toward self discovery. She really comes into her own as she transitions from a lonely and insecure divorcee into a strong, vibrant and determined woman capable of bringing a man like Tate, one who is so disillusioned by life and women, to his knees.
The serial killer plot adds tension and suspense. It is difficult to pin down the culprit due to the dearth of clues (one of the disadvantages of 1st person narration). Nevertheless, it is possible to figure it out and the climax and resolution are excellent.
All in all, a wonderful story with characters who are both down to earth yet larger than life.