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Review: Blood Red Roses by S.J. Coles Leave a comment


Rating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Rick Bennett wanted to be a musician, but never got the break he needed. He and his sister are desperately trying to make ends meet, but the family bills are becoming insurmountable. Rick’s good at financial analysis though and gets hired as a junior analyst brokering a deal that has all eyes in the company on him.

Cecily Swanson, whose family owns the business, hired Rick. Everyone knows that on paper he’s not the most qualified for the job and everyone can see the interest Cecily has in Rick, even though Cecily is engaged. While Rick has no interest in Cecily, he does have interest in Kim Bailey, the man Rick meets at the company New Year’s Eve party and the two of them start a relationship. But Kim is evasive and although Rick is taken with the man, he wonders why Kim will never invite him to his home and doesn’t answer questions directly.

When a man is murdered in Rick’s new home, the victim ties back to the company. But while Cecily and Kim assure Rick that they think he is innocent, the police are starting to think otherwise. And Rick is starting to wonder about everyone around him. When Rick finds himself in the middle of conspiracy and betrayal, the new life he was building for himself could be gone just as quickly as it started.

As this book opened, the storyline and characters drew me in. Rick has just accepted a job as a financial analyst, a job he wasn’t the most qualified for, but one of the owners, Cecily, took a shine to him and made sure he was hired. Cecily pays special attention to Rick, even including him in the family New Year’s Eve party where Rick meets Kim, a seemingly mysterious man. Rick is closeted where he feels he needs to be and he hasn’t let his employers know he is gay and he and Kim start a quiet affair.

The book then never regained the initial spark for me as the murder and supposed intrigue plotline took over and wasn’t put together that well. Rick is said to be smart and as a new hire is working on the company’s biggest project. Yet, he comes across as fairly clueless. He has lots of suspicions between his employer and Kim, but just keeps pushing them aside. Even when he finds a dead body in his apartment, he still isn’t connecting the visible clues.

The mystery aspect was incredibly obvious and the reveal lacked any kind of sophistication and read as a long list of plot points. The relationship with Kim sends up all kinds of warnings and, because of this, I wasn’t even sure if I was supposed to be rooting for them as a couple. The ending then tries to fit pieces together that hadn’t been explored enough to make it feel like a cohesive story.

There were moments early on that I enjoyed and I might look to try this author again, but maybe not in a murder/mystery atmosphere.



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