Sunday, May 27, 2018

Lovemurder by Saul Black

Valerie Hart and her boyfriend Nick Blaskovich are adjusting to a new dynamics where she is a homicide detective, available at all hours, and he transferred to forensic technology with consistent hours. They are trying to have a romantic weekend when a murderer who hasn't killed in 6 years strikes again out of nowhere. His accomplice Katherine Glass was given the death penalty and waits in jail. The mystery killer demands the she be released or he will continue to kill. With each murder, they get closer and closer to Valerie and her loved ones. The only clues sent are ones that Katherine can decipher due to shared memories and references. Can Valerie catch the killer before he does irreparable damage to her family?

Lovemurder is the second book in the Valerie Hart series. The first was good, but I had some problems with it. This second one is so much better. Valerie is in a much better place. Her relationship with Nick is stable and she's even thinking about having kids. They're adjusting their dynamic since Nick transferred out of homicide. He's the househusband, cooking dinners, making plans, and being left alone when she has to rush off on an investigation. Since he's done the job, he completely understands her and there's really no conflict there, just a bit of guilt on her part for becoming so absorbed with her job. I love their relationship. They fit together so well and there's no hidden resentment or grudges. It's heartwarming and balances the dark parts of the book.

On the other side, Katherine Glass captured public hatred due to the brutal nature of crimes she committed that contrasts with her beauty and intelligence. She knows how to get under someone's skin and enjoys mind games especially with Valerie. I liked seeing how their dynamic had changed since the first time they interacted with Valerie beocming much less easy to shake and Katherine a bit cowed by her time in prison. Katherine's relationship with her murderous partner looked so similar to a loving relationship in the videos they made while they raped, tortured, and murdered women that it's grotesque. Working with her is a nightmare since she enjoys making everyone as uncomfortable as possible and it gives her leverage for getting things she wants. You never know if she's just bored or if she has some sort of plan going on underneath it all. The only think known about her partner is that he's amazing with technology and as well educated as her. I didn't know who he was at all and I was pretty surprised when it was revealed.

Lovemurder has a bit of a silly title, but contains lots of twists and turns that I didn't expect. Black's writing kept me reading for hours and replicated a Lecter-Starling-esque relationship that wasn't a carbon copy. The tension builds as it goes along and gets more intense. I found it far superior than the first in the series and I would love to see where it goes next. There's no sequel listed anywhere, but I'll have my eye out for it.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

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