Review: Cheater by Karen Rose

Posted April 25, 2024 by Sophia Rose in Rating B, Reviews, Romantic Suspense Tags: , , ,

book cover of CHEATER by Karen RoseCheater
Karen Rose
Sophia Rose
Rating: B-

What I’m Talking About:

After devouring Cold-Blooded Liar last year where Kit and Sam are introduced, I was eager to see what came next for them and what new case with a gritty, intense tone would be introduced.  Karen Rose has long since become one of my top go-to authors for the thriller romance and police procedural genres.

Cheater is the second installment of the San Diego Case Files and part of the greater over-arcing Romantic Suspense series.  Now, I did read the first book, but I felt the way Cheater was written with plenty of explanation for what happened previously (of the non-spoilery kind) that it could easily be picked up as a standalone.

As I stated in my opening thoughts, I go to Karen Rose books for a gritty suspenseful police procedural with some sizzling romancing on the side.  I noticed in Cold-Blooded Liar that there was some deviation from all that. Oh sure, it was a riveting suspense, but the romance was more a hint than actuality. And, that didn’t move further along in Cheater nor did the case get as dark and gritty as the author’s norm. All that to say, the San Diego Case Files are a bit of something different so expectations must be altered if one is to enjoy it.

The murder at a high-end nursing home several months after the Cold-Blooded Liar case brings Kit and her partner detecting into Dr. Sam’s sphere once again. He works and volunteers with the elderly now. Kit and Sam are uncomfortable around each other because Kit is denying her feelings still, and Sam isn’t sure what do with his feelings in the mean time. after the last book, I really didn’t want a long book full of Kit’s emotional stagnation and her issues because she was a foster kid (no, I’m not being insensitive – Kit is being overly sensitive, or rather fearful with little reason by pushing Sam away, and it bugs me).

Most of the book put the romance off to the side and focused on the case. I really enjoy how much Karen Rose puts into making the police procedural side and the law enforcement world really come alive and feel authentic even while the plot paces forward without the need for info dumps.  It’s all so organic and I can follow along with the investigation team as if I were there. That said, for the first time, I did feel the page count at times and was impatient for things to get going (there are moments of going over the same ground) and the early part of the book rehashed more than necessary with what came before.

But, for all that, I was into getting to end with all the puzzle pieces in place to show the whole picture. Perhaps because this was about the vulnerable elderly, I did feel outrage at them being the victims and being victimized. Kit was a fab detective, and I enjoyed seeing her work one end while Sam used his inside track to help on the case from a different angle. This wrapped up strong and felt complete with some series plot threads regarding Sam’s foster sister’s cold case and the relationship left for the next installment.

In summary, I was glad to have read this one, but wouldn’t recommend it as a book for first-timers to Karen Rose. The series is loaded with a good balance of romantic suspense, but Cheater is definitely a middle of a series book with mostly suspense. Instead reach for the first in the overall series or for the first of the San Diego Case Files.

My Rating: B- Liked It — But I had a few small issues
Sophia Rose

About the Book:

A shocking murder leaves an affluent retirement community reeling in this riveting, high-stakes second installment of the San Diego Case Files, from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose.

Death is not an unfamiliar visitor to Shady Oaks Retirement Village, which provides San Diego with premier elderly support from independent retiree housing to full-time hospice care. But when a resident’s body is found brutally stabbed and his apartment ransacked, it’s clear there’s someone deadly in their community. Detective Katherine “Kit” McKittrick quickly discovers that Shady Oaks is full of skeleton-riddled closets, and most tenants prefer to keep their doors firmly closed to the SDPD.

A longtime volunteer at the retirement facility, Dr. Sam Reeves honors his late grandfather’s memory by playing the piano for the residents regularly. So it shouldn’t be such a surprise when Kit crosses paths with him during her investigation, after she’d avoided the criminal psychologist—and the emotions he evokes—for the last six months.

Sam’s rapport within the retirement village proves vital to the case, and the pair find themselves working together once again—much to Kit’s dismay. But she is determined to apprehend the shadow of death lurking around Shady Oaks…and equally determined to ignore the feelings she’s developing for a certain psychologist.

Release Date: March 26, 2024
Romantic Suspense #29, San Diego Case Files #2
Romantic Suspense
hardcover (465 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)