cover image Into the Dark

Into the Dark

Karen Rose. Berkley, $7.99 mass market (624p) ISBN 978-1-984805-28-7

Rose (Say You’re Sorry) combines heart-stopping suspense and scorching romance in this taut contemporary thriller. Cincinnati IT pro Elvis “Diesel” Kennedy spends his free time coaching kindergarten sports and hoping to change his “just friends” status with Dani Novak, a doctor who runs a free clinic. Dani reciprocates Diesel’s feelings, but avoids acting on them because she’s scared to tell him that she has HIV. Fourteen-year-old Michael Rowland, who is deaf, witnesses a man murder his pedophile stepfather. Michael’s five-year-old brother, Joshua, plays for Diesel’s team, and Dani and Diesel, who was himself sexually abused as a child, team up to keep the boys safe both from the cops, who think Michael is responsible, and from the real killer, who hopes to eliminate the witness. While trying to clear Michael’s name, Dani and Diesel uncover a human-trafficking ring. The danger of their amateur investigation forces them closer together, and they learn to rely on each other. Rose has a gift for creating animated characters and charged situations, and though she handles heavy topics with care, the frank discussion of sexual abuse may trigger sensitive readers. Tight plotting and ripped-from-the-headlines subject matter make for a high-octane page-turner. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Dec.)