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Monday, August 8, 2011

He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not by Lena Diaz

He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not by Lena Diaz
Publisher: Harper Collins/Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (313 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Four years ago, Amanda Stockton was forced to play a serial killer’s twisted game of chance. Since then, she has retreated from the world, bearing the scar from her ordeal and the burden of a terrible secret. But when another woman is found dead, clutching a long-stemmed red rose, Amanda knows she can hide no longer.

If there were any other way, Chief Logan Richards would never ask the only surviving victim for help. But it’s clear this killer will not be stopped and Amanda is the only link. Torn between catching a madman and winning the trust of the woman he’s come to love, Logan is caught in a dangerous game with Amanda. And there’s no guarantee they’ll come out on top.

He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not is absolutely gripping.

The novel opened with a chilling account of the serial killer positioning the body of his latest victim. Even more distressing, Ms. Diaz hinted that the killer is someone in law enforcement. I love a good mystery and was hooked instantly. I had to discover the killer’s identity and how he would be caught. Ms. Diaz created a sense of urgency that had me racing through the pages seeking the answers.

Ms. Diaz certainly knows her way around a good mystery. The list of suspects was small. I was constantly evaluating and reevaluating several of the secondary characters wondering if their pleasant demeanor was merely a mask hiding a killer. Ms. Diaz left tantalizing clues throughout the story, and I was able to piece some of them together. However, I can honestly say I was surprised when the last piece of the puzzle clicked into place.

Amanda is easily one of the strongest heroines I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. After facing the serial killer years ago, Amanda’s physical injuries have healed, but her emotional and mental wounds are still bleeding. I admire the courage it took for her to agree to help the police. As if facing the nemesis of her past wasn’t enough, Amanda also finds herself falling in love with Logan. Ms. Diaz did an excellent job of depicting Amanda’s desire for Logan as well as her fear of being vulnerable. As Amanda and Logan explore their feelings for each other, it was a pleasure watching Amanda’s wounds begin to heal.

Logan is the perfect hero for Amanda. He’s strong, caring, protective, and loyal. Despite his tough exterior, Logan has some scars of his own. He made a terrible mistake when he was a rookie cop that still haunts him. Logan is determined to never make a mistake on the job again. His drive is certainly admirable, but his single minded focus blinds him to the simple pleasures in life, including Amanda’s obvious affection for him. Logan and Amanda had some truly tender moments, but they also had some bitter arguments stemming from their stubborn streaks. I found myself wanting to smack both of them at times. Logan and Amanda were talking to each other, but neither was really hearing what the other had to say. The push and pull of their dynamic relationship added an interesting dimension to the story that was every bit as compelling as the mystery Logan was trying to solve.

In addition to weaving an excellent mystery and creating well rounded characters, Ms. Diaz also made excellent use of descriptive language. “The sweet music of her screams echoed in his mind as he inhaled the lavender-scented shampoo he‘d selected for her. He sat cross-legged on the carpet of pine needles, stroking her hair, his fingers sliding easily through the silky brown mass he had washed and brushed.” After reading these two sentences, I had goose bumps. The crimes of the serial killer are truly gruesome, and it would have been easy to go over the top with the description of his atrocities. However, Ms. Diaz did a great job of providing just enough detail to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, but stopped short of revealing so much that I felt sick. It is a fine line that Ms. Diaz walked very well.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not. The characters are well rounded, the romance is spicy, and the mystery is riveting. I highly recommend He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not to fans of romantic suspense.