Cold-Blooded Liar
February 24, 2023

Book Review

Cold-Blooded Liar

reviewed by Pam Guynn

Karen Rose knows how to hook readers with a prologue and keep them engaged throughout a novel. Cold-Blooded Liar, the first book in her San Diego Case Files series, is no different.

It combines a police procedural with some amateur sleuth and a hint of romantic suspense. Featuring homicide detective Kit McKittrick and psychologist Sam Reeves, the story is a great thriller that keeps readers on an emotional rollercoaster.

Kit loves the water and lives on a boat she’s renting from an older brother along with her poodle, Snickerdoodle. She occasionally helps one of her foster sisters with her charter fishing business on weekends, but mainly she’s solving crimes with the San Diego Police Department along with her partner Baz Constantine. What intrigues her the most are cold cases involving teens. When an anonymous caller gives her a tip related to a killer that’s been sought for years, Kit and Baz take the case.

Sam treats court-order clients. After one of his patients divulges details about a serial murder case and the potential for more, Sam works to respect client confidentiality and prevent a potential murder without losing his license. This leads to Kit and Sam repeatedly being at odds as both conduct their separate investigations.

Kit and Sam are both likeable and relatable characters. Kit is focused, dedicated, hardworking, and is a rising star in the homicide department with her high closure rate. Sam is a caring person who volunteers for local charities. He has to balance his professional and personal ethics. He’s also nice, smart, and good at getting people to talk. While both go through transformations during the story, there’s still room for these dynamic characters to continue to grow in future books. The supporting characters have varying depths, but provide support or conflict to enrich the reading experience.

The writing is fluid and descriptive which helps readers envision the scenes without disrupting or slowing the flow. The author did a great job in bringing together the past and present within the story. The dynamic plot is exciting and intense. Add to that plenty of conflict and a strong but vulnerable protagonist who has a keen sense of justice, and readers will be on the edge of their seats. The ending brings several surprises. Themes include violence against children, murder, deception, assault, and much more.

Overall, this was intriguing, entertaining, suspenseful, and had an action packed ending with compelling characters that kept me turning the pages. With exciting scenes and a fascinating story line, this fantastic thriller kept me fully engaged. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Berkley Publishing Group and Karen Rose provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently set for February 28, 2023.

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