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I bought Watch Your Back along with Broken Silence (which I’ve just reviewed here) by Karen Rose a few months back, but due to the many books on my TBR mountain to catch up to, only now I got a chance to read it. And glad I did!
Karen Roses’s books are not new to me, I’ve read pretty much everything by this author so far (see all the Karen Rose books in order listed here). So when I finally started to read Watch Your Back, I was really excited because I knew I’d be in for a great ride. And the book didn’t disappoint even for a bit.
It’s quite a large novel at close to 600 pages, so it took me the weekend to get through – enjoying every single minute of it!
In Watch Your Back we meet again detective Stevie Mazzetti who finally has her spotlight in a book as well. She’s been through the wringer since she’s lost her husband Paul, and her small boy Paulie some eight years ago during a convenience store burglary gone wrong.
Stevie can’t help but feel guilty all this time, thinking all the what if’s and could and should scenarios that take a small piece of her life every single day. Her only ray of sunshine is her daughter, Cordelia, who is the only reasons she’s still alive and pushing through.
And even this is now threatened when Stevie is once again hunted by evil. After the horrible deception from her ex-partner (from which her daughter Cordelia is still trying to recover, with almost nightly nightmares), Stevie is working on uncovering all the cases that her dirty partner worked on by putting innocent people in jail only to let free the real guilty ones. She is determined to right a wrong, which sadly makes her a constant target by so many who want their evil past stay hidden.
Enter the picture Clay Maynard who has fallen in love with Stevie from the moment he first saw her, back in December when he saved her life. He wants nothing more than take care of Stevie and her daughter, and love them, however, Steve has such a troubled past that she doesn’t want to let Clay enter her life, so she gives him the big slip, much to the horror of everyone who knows both of them. How can she let such a great guy go?
I’ve been actually wondering myself that and been angry with Stevie for the first half of the book. She’s just too irrational when it comes to Clay, even when every cell in her body tells her to accept him and his life.
The only reason Clay is still around is that he can keep her and her daughter safe, becoming their impromptu bodyguard, who simply wouldn’t let them out of sight. Working not only as a PI but also at a security company (his own company), he has all the toys he needs to keep his loved ones safe from anyone who wants to harm them – and boy, there are many of those around.
Especially one evil man who’s been after Stevie for the last 8 years, ever since…but I won’t disclose more of the plot, it’d be a real spoiler.
The problem is Stevie has no idea who is after her – it could be anyone, and it takes quite a long time to figure out the truth, even when we the readers know all along. It takes all of Stevie, Clay and her friends’ dedication to figure it all out.
Clay is working non-stop with Stevie. He takes bullets for her, saves her several times, dotes on her, does everything that an adoring guy would do. Yet Stevie is relentless in pushing him away. There are times when I wanted to shake her awake to the truth of it. She’s such a stubborn lady, and yes, I understand that she only wants to protect herself and her daughter, but really, it took almost half of the book for things to start resolving somewhat…
And then Clay got acting weird, just when things started to go better between the two of them. At some point, I felt he just expected too much from Stevie way too soon.
Nevertheless, with all this irritation with both main characters (and boy it was a lot of irritation going around), the book worked on my emotions non-stop. While reading the book I felt a whole range of emotions, from anger, sadness, joy, love, heck even lust – it’s an amazing author who can involve its readers so much with her writing, and Karen Rose is one such lady, no doubt.
I love Cordelia and loved how mature she acted for her years – actually, at times I thought no way I small child could act so maturely. Sometimes I had the feeling that she had the most sense of all three of them.
The mystery aspect was there, but not quite so much as in her previous novels. I think the reason is that we knew all along who the villain is, knew his thoughts and moves every step of the way, so there was no major surprise there really. Still, for a romantic suspense novel, while the romance was prominent, there was enough suspense and mystery to go around in the story with a couple of nicely placed twists that I didn’t see coming.
Overall I loved this book a lot, just like any of her previous novels. Karen Rose definitely knows how to keep our attention throughout even in such a long book as this one. There was not one moment of boredom, my heart was pounding hart pretty much all the time. One heck of a story!