Thursday, February 28, 2013

"No One Left To Tell" by Karen Rose

Paige Holden is a private investigator who has been asked to look into the case of Ramon Munoz, who is in prison for the murder of a college girl. Just after Ramon's wife Elena hands Paige crucial evidence that could clear him, she is assassinated right before Paige's eyes.

She knows that the evidence should go to the authorities, but Elena's dying words suggested police had pursued and killed her. Therefore, Paige winds up placing her trust in district attorney Grayson Smith. After viewing the evidence, they quickly get caught up in a dangerous conspiracy as they try to discover who committed the murder and set Ramon up.

Meanwhile, a hitman by the name of Silas hurries around, murdering anybody who could reveal any harmful truths. Also thrown into the mix is Adele Shaffer, who suspects someone is trying to kill her, but doesn't know why.

No One Left To Tell is a fairly typical Karen Rose outing, but there's no denying it's an excellently developed story, with a complex conspiracy keeping the pace going at a fast rate. Even at over 500 pages, Rose manages to maintain interest. You certainly couldn't accuse it of being dull.

I even managed to get past the usual trappings - that the two main characters always come with a tortured past that generally involves them not being able to save another person from being killed. It's getting tired, Karen! Find a new problem to haunt your leads.

Another thing that bothered me is that the same conversation seems to get repeated over and over again, despite involving different characters. Basically, everybody in Grayson's life tells Paige: "don't hurt him". Meanwhile, the people in Paige's life tell Grayson: "don't hurt her." After about the third conversation of this nature, I got the hint. It was very tiresome. And who actually does that? I don't think I've ever told a family or friend's potential love interest not to hurt them. It's rude. You have to enough faith in the people you care about that they know what they're doing - and step in if things do get complicated.

On a lesser scale, it sometimes feels like there are too many cooks. On top of Silas, there are many other bad guys who want messes cleaned up, and because they're not identified, it's occasionally hard to keep track of who wants to do what to whom. However, Rose plays fair with her readers and explains everything in the closing chapters and neatly wraps up all the important storylines. You'd think that would be an important element in any novel, but there sure are a lot of authors out there who can't even get that right. You hearing me, Alex Kava?

I think I say pretty much the same thing with every Karen Rose novel. Her plots are excellent. The romance and angst not so much. It could be about one hundred pages shorter.  But No One Left To Tell is one of her best, and ensures that I will continue to line my bookshelves with her novels.

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