Author: Cynthia Eden
Published on: February 12, 2013
Genre: Mystery, romance
Published by: Montlake Romance
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible
She thought her fiancé was the perfect man—until he turned out to be the perfect killer…
Katherine Cole is running for her life, desperate to escape the Valentine Killer—so-called because he stabs his victims through the heart and leaves them holding a telltale single red rose. Still he tracks her to New Orleans and begins carving a bloody path to her door. But this time, Katherine refuses to run any farther. This time, she’ll do anything to stop the madman she once loved, even trust the sexy cop promising to keep her safe…
Detective Dane Black never lets his emotions interfere with his job, even as the Valentine Killer surfaces in New Orleans to stalk his prey. But when Dane agrees to protect the killer’s ex-fiancée, Katherine Cole, he can’t ignore the passion kindling between them. After a single unforgettable night binds them body and soul, Dane knows he won’t rest until Katherine is safe in his arms—and the Valentine Killer is dead. Dark and intensely sexy, this romantic suspense novel from USA Todaybestselling author Cynthia Eden is sure to leave readers breathless.
Die for Me was great, although by the time I read it I was getting a little weary of reading variations of “male cop protects female crime victim and ends up falling in love with her” type novels. What’s fresh to me about Die for Me is the villain. Michael O’Rourke is a twisted psychopath who takes pleasure from torturing women and then stabbing them in the heart. He always leaves them with a rose, which earned him the nickname Valentine Killer, though he’s mostly referred to as Valentine. This guy became a criminal via nurture: he had a pretty rough start in life.
When the Valentine Killer met Katelynn Crenshaw, he fell in love with her (in his own way). Their relationship was quite happy–until Katelynn witnesses a dreadful scene, resulting in Valentine going into hiding and Katelynn being put under Witness Protection. Thanks to the help of U.S. Marshall Anthony Ross, Katelynn moves to New Orleans and changes her name to Katherine Cole. In three years, Katherine only makes a couple of close friends. She became warier about getting close to other people.
Just when Katherine thought her life was back in order, the Valentine Killer surfaces again. At first, the authorities think they’re dealing with a copycat. They’re doubtful that Valentine would have come to New Orleans all the way from Boston. Katherine learns that her old fiancé is at large once again. This time, she decides to stop running away and confront Valentine. Katherine goes straight to the police, offering her help to catch the Valentine Killer.
Detective Dane Black is at first suspicious of Katherine. He wonders how she knows so much about the killings. Thinking that Katherine could be useful, the police captain asks Dane to keep her around. Ross was about to uproot Katherine and build a new life for her elsewhere. Only, she is determined to stay. Detective Black, who slowly grows to care for Katherine, decides to be her protection detail. He also wholeheartedly accepts the task of stopping one of the most notorious serial killers in the country.
As I read the book and learned more about Valentine, I couldn’t help but feel that he’s quite similar to the Joker from The Dark Knight. Such an agent of chaos, always two steps ahead of everyone else. Unlike the Joker, who just wants to watch the world burn, Valentine secretly hopes for the chance at a better life. That’s what Katherine inspires in him. No one is able to guess why Valentine cares so much for her, when he’s killed several other lookalike women. Valentine is one of the most interesting villains in a book that I’ve come across. He’s also a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde case, but Valentine is so overwhelming that Michael O’Rourke almost never shows through.
Apart from the suspense, there are a couple of unexpected twists without the book. Even after reading Die for Me for the second time in over a year, I was still surprised. I’d forgotten one of those twists, so it was almost like reading the book for the first time again. The reader also gets to spend plenty of time inside Valentine’s head. He’s not, however, the only danger threatening Katherine. Will Dane Black be able to protect her, or will they both die trying to capture Valentine?
This is a great novel about the dark sides within us and the notion that it’s our choices that make us good or bad. A few of the main characters had a rough childhood, and they each turned out differently. This occurrence intrigues the Valentine Killer in particular. I was intrigued, too. I enjoyed reading (and re-reading) Die for Me. If you like compelling mysteries with carefully woven plots, you don’t want to overlook this one.
This book is recommended for readers 17+ due to some steamy scenes. Violence level: Medium High.
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