Kill for Me
Karen Rose
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Buy *Kill for Me* by Karen Rose online

Kill for Me
Karen Rose
Grand Central Publishing
560 pages
June 2009
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Monica Cassidy thinks that she's meeting a nineteen-year-old college student, someone with whom she anticipates her first sexual encounter. She trusts this digital persona; after all, she spent months online chatting with him. Instead of falling into the embrace of a college boy, however, she falls into the pawns of a corrupt deputy who is part of a sinister cabal of perverts who prey on teenage girls. She is trapped in a hellish dungeon along with other girls and endures unspeakable acts of cruelty.

Dutton, Georgia, is home to a manipulative, depraved monster known only as Charles. Like a spider, he weaves an intricate web of deception and manipulation, moving in shadows and beyond reach of law. Charles's current protégé, Bobby, is in charge of the lucrative human trafficking operation fueled by teenage girls lured away from the safety of their homes via the Internet. But his plans are complicated when the location of the dungeon comes to the attention of law enforcement and he has to evacuate in a hurry. In the chaos and confusion, one of the girls survives and becomes the focus of Bobby's efforts to silence her. He has at least three people working for him, people he controls and manipulates through fear and money, individuals trapped in his grip who have no choice but to do his bidding.

Dutton is also the home of Susannah Vartanian, and her memories of home in Dutton are just as dark as the lives of the enslaved teens. The source of this darkness was her brother Simon, leader of a rape gang of rich-boy thugs. Simon victimized her, drugging and raping her along with his buddies, even taking pictures - pictures that she has returned to Dutton to retrieve. After thirteen years, she hopes to close the dark chapter of her past and somehow deal with the guilt that she feels about her silence regarding Simon, silence which caused thirteen girls to be victimized. Accompanying her on this difficult return home is Agent Luke Papadopoulos, partner of Susannah's other brother, Daniel.

It is clear that Luke wants Susannah, but she has emotional problems that stand in the way of their having a good relationship. Luke deals with guilt issues, too. Both are scarred by the effects of abuse: she as victim and he as a law enforcement agent who must wade through the tens of thousands of gruesome pictures of teens being victimized by shadowy players whom he can't reach. Karen Rose gives us a glimpse into the terrible world of the flesh trade and into the lives of the people involved in it, both victims and those who want to protect them.

Kill for Me brims with emotion and suspense because at its core lives a monster named Charles. Like Hannibal Lecter, he is adroit at mind games, deriving enormous levels of thrill from seeing people do things for him - including kill - despite the fact that they do not want to. His skill also makes him hard to catch, something that generates a great deal of energy and tension in the story. Before you know it, you will be pulled along by the narrative, anticipating eagerly the justice that Charles so sorely needs meted out.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © A. Jurek, 2009

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