I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
In the sizzling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards, Dr. Charlie Stone must prove the innocence of a dangerously sexy condemned man, or lose her one chance at true love.
In this world, Dr. Charlotte “Charlie” Stone skillfully probes the twisted minds of incarcerated serial killers to better understand what makes them tick, and to help nab those who remain at large. But in the next world, Charlotte’s ghostly lover—convicted killer Michael Garland—is facing death yet again. It seem the only way Charlie can snatch Michael from the jaws of oblivion is by proving his innocence. And this dead man’s dead ringer may just be the key.
A mysterious stranger has turned up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and Charlie is shocked to realize he could be Michael Garland’s identical twin. But she suspects the resemblance is only skin deep—and that behind the handsome face may lurk the perverse mind of a killer. While using all her keen profiling gifts, Charlie risks her life to discover the shocking secret that will clear Michael’s name.
Then a breakout at Wallens Ridge State Prison forces Charlie to contend with a sudden swarm of psychopaths bent on spilling blood. No one has a better chance of tracking down the deadly fugitives than Charlie—unless the rampaging killers manage to find her first and make this case her last. But Michael will move heaven and hell—and even make a devil’s bargain—for the chance to save Charlie’s life, and feel her touch once more . . . if only for the final time.
I have read all these books, and the verdict is in! I am thrilled by this serious. This is my one truly crazy sauce series that I simply must keep up with. And Karen Robards definitely did not let the crazy sauce levels abate. Seriously, this book is the biggest head trip of the series, which if you’ve read the previous books is truly saying something.
Charlie Stone is depressed since her lover was sucked back to Spookville. She is trying to get through each day one day at a time, without much success, when in walks Michael Garland’s doppelgänger (or maybe his evil twin) with a subpoena for her files on him. In the midst of her meeting with him, and while a Scared Straight group is touring the prison, the serial killers she has been studying stage a prison break and kidnap her, the kids, and the doppelgänger. Charlie’s terror drags Michael back, and so starts our story.
Michael spends a good bit of his time in the doppelgänger’s body, so him being corporeal makes for a nice change, but at times the ethical considerations of utilizing another person’s body like that kind of gave me the heeby-jeebies. But once I put that to rest it was all hot and sweet. But seriously, don’t ponder that aspect too much it completely ruins the rest of the vibe. This was much more of a relationship book than a romantic suspense book. I mean there was plenty of action and mystery to go around, but it happened to them more passively than being an active mystery they were trying to solve this time. WHich was probably just as well since there was SOOOO much relationship angst. A serious eff-ton of relationship angst all piled on top of the crazy sauce train. It was the express train too.
We also got some more Lena and Buzz time, which was as always a delight, though their page time was short.
When it comes to the ending and the resolution of the Michael thing though, that is where the real head trip comes in. What? Did anyone reading this review seriously think that a ghost seeing forensic psychic who is in love with a serial killer and whose best friend is an honest to goodness psychic would be enough for me to call this a head trip at this point? Lets be real, it certainly was not. But this ending came right out of left field. I did not see it coming and I can not quite decide if Robards went into this series not quite knowing where she’d end up and how she’d get out of the set-up, or if she is simply brilliant. It was just about the most novel way out of the ghost hero trap that I think is possible to dream up, anad I have read a few ghost heroes. A bit of a deus ex machina I suppose, but a fun way out nevertheless.
Seriously, if crazy sauce is your thing this is a don’t miss series. Looking back, at previous reviews, I think I was maybe not as consistent of a grader as I am now. So honestly, while this isn’t a perfect series, and sometimes it felt like we readers were being jerked around, now that the payoff is here it was absolutely worth it and I am so glad I stuck around.