Monday, June 23, 2014

The Safe Word / Karen Long

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
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Karen Long is a former teacher who took up full-time writing ten years ago. She has written numerous screenplays and is currently working on the second novel in ‘The Eleanor Raven’ series. Married to a film director she is fortunate to travel the world where she spends most of her time zealously flushing out and photographing reluctant wildlife. She lives in rural Shropshire with her three children, three dogs and a small but noisy collection of crows.


Detective Eleanor Raven investigated a serial killer who poses his female victims as gruesome works of art. 


In her private life, Eleanor Raven has a penchant for being the ‘sub’ in BDSM role play. In her professional one, she is a tough and highly intelligent detective. The story created an entanglement between her public and private personas which added a really interesting twist to the tale.

This novel was a mixed bag for me, though. On the positive side, the plot kept me engaged, as did the murderer’s back story and rituals. Raven’s BDSM leanings added depth to her character and created some interesting conflict. I can certainly see her as a character strong enough to carry a series. However, too often, scenes opened without enough setting. I got lost and had to read a few paragraphs in to work out where I was in time and place. Couple with this numerous minor characters cluttered the story and added to my confusion. These problems in execution threw me out of the story too often and spoiled my enjoyment.

Format/Typo Issues:

Too few to mention. English (UK) spelling.

Rating:  *** Three stars

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