Have You Seen Her?
by Karen Rose, contemporary (2004)
Warner, $5.99, ISBN 0-446-61281-2
Karen Rose's Have You Seen Her? is a book I wouldn't pick up if it isn't marketed as a romance novel. This book is more of a straightforward romantic suspense with a tepid romance thrown in to satisfy its romance quotient. The suspense is marred by the identity of the villain that, when revealed, make the cops look like really stupid dopes to take that long to sniff the villain out.
Jenna Marshall is under duress. The high school Chemistry teacher is being pressured to turn a blind eye on a football star's poor academic performance and while she's at it, there's a cop in town investigating the murder of four high school girls. Steven Thatcher is a State Bureau of Investigation Officer whose son Brad is flunked by Jenna and whom Jenna meets with for some parent-teacher talk. Sparks fly, but Steven has not only baggages over his wife's death (killed in a car crash while running away with her lover) but three kids with baggages, including that preteen brat Nick who has been abducted only to live and tell the tale (more guilt for Steven). But their romance, a tedious Perfect Maternal Woman Comforting A Jerk Who Uses His Baggages As An Excuse To Whine affair, has to share the pages with lots of points of view from a large ensemble cast as well as with some mediocre depictions of police procedural work.
This book is fast-paced, but with the uninvolving romance and the average suspense, Have You Seen Her? comes off like a book that's stuck in an unfortunate limbo between the romance and the suspense genre. A reader can find better romance or better suspense in many other books in each respective genres, so what exactly does this book has to offer? Karen Rose should really think about this and work a little harder on making her romance, suspense, or better still, both a little less derivative and a little more adventurous so as to her books not come off as stagnant rehashes of a bestselling formula.
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