Review: LoveMurder (Valerie Hart, #2) by Saul Black

31138734★★★★

Can I get a hallelujer, Lort?!

I’m not the religious type, but give me a book like this and I suddenly start worshiping the Gods of Literature. You know – Stephen King, Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling.

Six years ago Katherine Glass abducted, heinously tortured and killed young women all over San Francisco…until Det. Valerie Hart caught her and put her away for life. *cue the sound of prison gates slamming shut*

…But Katherine didn’t commit her crimes alone, and her partner – The Masked Man – who is probably even more deranged than Katherine, was never caught.

Now, the murders have started again, and left with each body is an envelope, addressed to Valerie, containing complicated clues and ciphers that will point the police to the next victim. Figure out the puzzle fast enough, save a life. But only Katherine Glass has the personal insight to decode the Masked Man’s clues, forcing Valerie to work with a killer.

Katherine promises she only wants to help – she’s never forgiven the Masked Man for leaving her high and dry. She just wants time out of her cell, maybe some mental stimulation. But can Katherine really be trusted? (I mean, obviously the answer is “probably not”, but let’s just go with it.)

LoveMurder has a very Hannibal Lecter/Clarice Starling feel to it, which is probably every serial-killer-thriller fan’s favourite thing ever…Amiright?!

lovedddd the first book in this series, and was fangirlingly excited when I saw a second novel was coming. I’ve been in line at my library for this for-fucking-ever, it seems like. And by the time I finally got my too-small-for-my-body hands on it I was overcome with dread. What if I had been too excited, building myself up only to be let down when this didn’t live up to the anticipation I’d been cultivating for months?! We’ve all been there. #BooknerdProblems

Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. I binge-read this in 24 hours. I just could not put it down, literally. I may have called in sick to work. Possibly. Maybe. Kind of.

Valerie is a beast of a female-lead, not as damaged as she was in The Killing Lessons, but still rough around the edges with a spine of steel. The killer(s) and their crimes (both past and present) were disgusting and depraved. There’s sex and passion in all it’s forms. The twists and clever moments abound, resulting in some big, jaw dropping events, and some smaller, smirk inducing moments that give you the warm fuzzies. Add in the action-packed scenes and realistic procedural work and this book was literally right up my dark and twisted alley.

I love, LOVE, lurve Black’s writing style – it’s crisp, clean, realistic, but edgy and dark. Though, I won’t lie, there were moments where I thought “too much detail, dude, pull it back.” There is the perfect mix of professional with personal, as Katherine got into Valerie’s head and we got to experience more of Valerie and Nick’s relationship in full swing. Really this novel just had so much depth, in terms of emotions.

My only complaint is that I knew who The Masked Man was, like literally almost immediately. His role in the novel is just so…obvious, that it felt amateurish in terms of plotting. So that knocked a star off.

Other than that…PRAISE BE!

PS. As an aside for the more sensitive readers among us, this novel is definitely gory and startling in its descriptions of the crimes, that even I, who literally loves being disgusted, was a bit squeamish a couple of times. It’s also jam-packed with oral sex and vivid descriptions of other adult things…so if that kind of writing bothers you, I’d suggest you look elsewhere.

But it worked for me!

*Migrated review, originally posted to Goodreads in September 2017.

🔪🔪🔪


Back of the Book:

When she’s called to the murder scene, the last thing San Francisco Homicide detective Valerie Hart is expecting is for Katherine Glass to walk back into her life. Six years earlier, revulsion and fascination had gripped the nation in equal measure, as beautiful, intelligent, charming—and utterly evil—Katherine Glass had been convicted on six counts of Murder One. But the freshly-mutilated corpse in the ground-floor apartment bears all the hallmarks of Katherine’s victims. And then there’s the note, with its chilling implications. Addressed to Valerie.

To stop the slaughter, Valerie has no choice. She must ask Katherine Glass to help her decipher the killer’s twisted message. But that means re-entering the pitch-black labyrinth that is Katherine’s mind, and this time Valerie isn’t so sure which one of them will survive. 

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