Terror enters psychiatrist Tess Ciccotelli's life when a crazed killer begins driving her patients to commit suicide one by one while setting up Tess to take the fall. She wants nothing more than to keep all her patients safe, but at the same time, she must uphold her oath to maintain their privacy, meaning that she can't give the police everything they want, and need, to investigate the case. At first this makes her look even more suspicious, and after declaring a man who murdered both children and a cop insane, the police aren't exactly on her side. But eventually detective Aidan Reagan and his partner believe in her innocence and work tirelessly to find the real killer and prevent more lives from being lost.
When Aidan first meets Tess, he isn't inclined to like her even though his partner is friends with her. The way he sees it, she let a murderer who was guilty as sin off the hook and her steely control makes her seem more like someone who has ice-water in their veins. Not to mention, his first impression is of a woman not unlike his ex who is high maintenance. Therefore, despite being physically attracted to the beautiful doctor, he's more than happy to nail her to the wall for driving one of her patients to commit suicide. However, as he follows the evidence, Aidan soon realizes that Tess couldn't possibly have been the culprit, and when they discover that someone has been surveilling her apartment and she needs a safe place to stay, he doesn't hesitate to offer his own home. Having her so close quickly sends his desires into overdrive, and he's pleased to find that Tess actually isn't as cold as she seemed at first glance. But as the bodies keep piling up and the police seem no closer to determining who hates Tess enough to pull off such an elaborate scheme, it becomes apparent that her own life is in grave danger as well.
I'm pretty sure that nearly every time I read a Karen Rose book I'm kicking myself for waiting so long in between them. Such was the case with You Can't Hide, which was a great read. In this one, we have psychiatrist Tess Ciccotelli whose patients begin committing suicide. It's pretty obvious to police detective Aidan Reagan right away that they were deliberately driven over the edge, and it looks like Tess is the one who did it. Tess isn't exactly loved by the police department, so at first, Aidan is all too eager to nail her to the wall. But as more evidence comes to light, he realizes that she couldn't possibly have done it, and the more he gets to know her, he finds that he actually likes her. When they discover that her apartment is being surveilled, he offers her a safe place to stay, which makes things heat up between them even faster. In the meantime, the bodies keep piling up, and neither the cops nor Tess have any idea who hates her so much that they would go to such lengths to ruin her life. This book ended up being a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat, suspense story that kept me guessing right up until the reveal. Of course, the icing on the cake was the deep, emotional romance between our two protagonists that was slightly steamier than most of this author's other books that I've read to date, making this one sheer perfection for me.
Tess is a smart, talented psychiatrist who cares very much about her patients. However, she has a troubled relationship with her family, not having spoken with any of them except her brother, Vito, in five years. After handing down a medical opinion that a man who killed three children and a cop was mentally unfit to stand trial, she also has few fans in the police department. She does, however, have a number of friends and allies, including Aidan's partner and his sister-in-law. So when it looks like she might have driven her patients to commit suicide, they're squarely in her corner, making it a bit easier for Aidan to swallow her innocence, even though he isn't eager to let her off the hook. Tess is a deeply layered character who has many facets to her personality. Because she tends to hold her emotions in check, especially in professional settings, Aidan and many of the other cops think she has ice-water in her veins, but nothing could be further from the truth. She's actually a kind, caring person who feels responsible for all the deaths that are occurring around her even though she isn't the one who killed them. When she and Aidan begin to grow closer, she also proves to be a very passionate woman. Yet she wasn't always that way. Her relationship with her ex was rather reserved and at times strained, ending with him cheating on her, shaking her confidence as well as her faith in men, but Aidan proves to be everything she's looking for and more.
Aidan is a bit more of a hot-headed alpha than his brother, Abe. He begins the story with a chip on his shoulder when it comes to Tess. He was the person who found one of the girls who was murdered by the man she declared insane, and he simply can't forgive her for what he feels amounted to "letting the guy off the hook." Because of this, I wasn't sure at first if I would like him, but I ended up loving him. He might get a bit heated at times, but he does prove to have self-control over most situations. He also shows himself to be more open-minded and reasonable than I thought he'd be. In contrast to Tess, Aidan has a close relationship with his family and is always playing the protective big brother to his much younger sister, Rachel. Even after he believes in her innocence, Aidan is a bit reluctant to get involved with Tess, when he first realizes that he's very attracted to her. Because of her job and where she lives, he thinks she's probably a snob who would be a high-maintenance woman. As it turns out, his perceptions are colored by a bad experience with his own ex, and he's surprised to find out he's wrong about Tess. But all this just made him a more interesting character, and one that I could still respect because he was willing to admit his own faults.
You Can't Hide has a plethora of supporting characters, so many that it's almost hard to keep track of them all. I say almost because I did manage to keep them all straight, and that alone is a testament, IMHO, to Karen Rose's writing skill. Some of them we've seen in past stories, like Lieutenant Spinnelli who wrangles all the detectives to keep the investigation moving along, and Jack, the CSI guy, and Julia, the ME, who are a couple and had a side romance in a previous book. Then there's Aidan's brother, Abe, who helps with parts of the investigation, and his wife, Kristen, who is a prosecutor and a very good friend to Tess. They were the hero and heroine of I'm Watching You. Readers will have already met most of Aidan's family in Abe's book as well. Then there are a couple of characters who get future books. Abe's partner, Mia, will become the heroine of the next book, Count to Ten, and Tess's brother, Vito, who is also a cop in a different city, becomes the hero of the book after that, Die for Me. Then there are all the doomed characters, of which I believe there were thirteen, who end up in body bags. There's also Joanna Carmichael, an overly ambitious young reporter, who gets some of her own POV scenes, and I can't help wondering if perhaps she'll turn up as a supporting character in a future book. Last but not least, Aidan's dog, Dolly, and Tess's cat, Bella, added a bit of extra flavor to both the story and to their respective owner's characters.
Overall, I was completely blown away by You Can't Hide. It was a masterfully plotted psychological thriller with murder and mayhem aplenty that kept me totally engaged throughout. As I tried to discern who the killer was, I bounced around from one character to another, but I never did figure it out until the reveal. I'm also absolutely in awe of Karen Rose's ability to keep all her characters straight and to wrangle them into submission while giving each of them the perfect motivation for their actions, which also made each of them stand out to me. Despite the huge character palette, I'm pretty sure I could pass a quiz on who each of them were. The story itself was completely phenomenal and one of my favorites by this author that I've read so far. I loved Aidan and Tess's relationship and felt like they were the perfect match in intelligence, temperament, and sexual chemistry, all three. I loved them together and felt like their romance was spot-on with the emotional connection. Everything about this book was sheer perfection and I wouldn't have changed a thing. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book and will have to try to keep the momentum going so that I pick it up sooner than I have been.
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