Published August 9th 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 0062114557 (ISBN13: 9780062114556)
Received a copy via NetGalley
A Serial Killer’s Lone Surviving Victim Turns the Tables and Becomes the Hunter
Amanda Stockton lost everything in a brutal attack by a fledgling serial killer. Forced to play his twisted game of chance, she watched in horror as he plucked the thorns from a rose, one by one, chanting, “He kills me”, “He kills me not.” Refusing to let a sick game of chance decide her fate, she escaped, but left her friend to die in her place. Haunted by survivor’s guilt and unable to bear the flinches and curious stares when others catch sight of her ravaged face, Amanda withdraws from the world around her.
Years later the discovery of another body signals the return of the killer. Forced to face her past or become the killer’s next victim, Amanda works with Police Chief Logan Richards to stop the killer before he kills again. As Logan begins to close in on a suspect, he’s horrified to discover the killer who attacked Amanda is the same one he once let go because of a rookie mistake. Can Logan forgive himself in time to save Amanda? Or will his guilt destroy her last chance to win the game?
This was a story where the beginning was full of promise. There was a creepy villain, there were harrowing dangers, a whodunit plot to solve and highly intriguing characters. Everything worked in grabbing my from the first chapter where the fear was protruding from the villains victim. As the plot opened with a bang there was also the introduction of Logan who was a commanding man and Amanda, a courageous woman battling her inner demons. I was hooked and settled for a thrill ride in the romantic suspense from Lena Diaz.
However, after that strong opening the story gradually faded for me in to a blend of niggles, irritation and a weakening presence from the villain. It even lead to a few moments where I had difficulties continuing reading and all in all it took me three weeks to finish this story. I think this was a huge indicator that Logan, Amanda and the plot failed to keep me invested.
Amanda Stockton is a survivor of a serial killer and ever since she’s ruled by her need for safety. She lives almost like a hermit, works at home and barely has a social life. Her personality was a combination of courage and terror. I think the author really did a good job of portraying her as a victim getting her life back after a horrendous ordeal. Amanda is likable in her personality, understandable in her fears and shows backbone in various decisions. I feel her characterization was the strongest in this story.
Then you have Logan; the smart, dependable yet commanding, sexy police chief. He is the blue print of a romance hero whom made me look forward to the electrifying attraction simmering between him and Amanda. He was very focused and charming to begin with but as the story continued he morphed in to this man who wallowed in his guilt and responsibility. I call it the ‘woulda-coulda-shoulda-syndrome’. At the start of the story the situation was explained why there was guilt but gradually the emphasis on this emotion was too much for me to bear. I love a flawed hero but I also want to see the progress and I didn’t really get that with Logan. In this case I wanted to slap Logan across the face telling him to grow a pair.
The romance was one with the ‘forbidden fruit’ theme. Amanda is a victim in Logan’s active case and it became a push-pull between his ethics and his warm-blooded nature. Because it took me so long to read this story I never got that love vibe. Attraction simmering just beneath the surface ready to ignite, definitely! Yet this did not evolve in to a romance, the love was “just there” at a certain point between Logan and Amanda. I must admit, this might be due to the long intervals between continuing this story that I didn’t pick up on it. As the author drives home in plot and romance there was an emotion rife moment which got nipped in the butt again by the wallowing of Logan. He was in a frame of mind that it was best to let her go and then a page later it was; ”Perhaps she really does love me?” That’s when I was so done with him.
In those initial chapters the mystery began with a murder and the villains point of view. I was fascinated and I wanted more. I love the unforgivable villain whom I could love to hate and it had all the signs but then the plot got beaten to death with dialogues, police procedures and more dialogues where they wondered whodunit. Besides the ending there was very little action which could’ve infused the plot with chills and thrills, keeping me more invested in the outcome.
So there you have it; characters who had their good and bad personality traits and shared beautiful or hot moments but just couldn’t completely pull me in to their story. A romance which only sizzled on occasion and a plot that fizzled after an exciting beginning. Add a three week period of picking up this book, reading a few chapters and then still failing to grab me… Well, the sum of all the components told me one thing; I truly struggled with Lena Diaz’s He Kills Me, He Kills me not.
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