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Friday, 1 April 2016

Review: The Safe Word by Karen Long

I was lucky enough to meet Karen at the Author / Blogger Shenanigans in London a couple of weeks ago, and after a long chat about books and writing, I couldn’t wait to read one of her novels- so was thrilled when Karen sent me through a copy of her fist book, The Safe Word, for review.

The Safe Word, the first book in the Eleanor Raven series, tells the story of a killer who is motivated by a strange, artistic need- torturing and displaying his victims as a public art installation. The killer is tapped into Toronto’s underground scene- a scene that D I Raven has a unique link to- one which both makes her the best person for the case- and the one in the most danger from it.

Initially, having read the first chapter, I wondered if I was going to be able to stomach this book. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is fantastic- so good, in fact, that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be this present at such uncomfortable scenes. But I pushed on and I’m so glad that I did.

D I Raven is a seriously complex character, and it’s refreshing to have found an author that isn’t afraid of mixing dark and light in a female lead- making her unapologetic, unrelenting, but ultimately a character you find yourself rooting for. Laurence Whitefoot, as Eleanor’s new, fumbling, bumbling partner, is her perfect foil – and the rest of the team are brilliant and believable in their mismatched lovableness (is that the word? I just really cared about this bunch by the end of the book and would quite happily read novels about any of them!)

Karen Long keeps the tension mounting, and as the story builds in intensity and gruesomeness, it becomes impossible to put down- and has one of the best ‘third-reels’ I’ve ever read. I can’t say that I enjoyed this book – it’s too grim for the word ‘enjoy’ - it was gripping, gruesome and affecting enough to stop me getting to sleep. But I can say that I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Maybe after a quick bit of romance to give my nerves a break!

The Blurb:

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision. 
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement. 

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival. 

Grab your copy and start losing sleep now!...

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