Desert Isle Keeper
Say No More
With Say No More, the follow-up to 2019’s Say You’re Sorry, Karen Rose returns to a group of dedicated law enforcement officials determined to bring down the leaders of a powerful cult known as Eden. Joined by a couple of cult survivors, the FBI’s task force is doing everything they can to track down the cult’s mysterious leader, finding love and danger along the way.
Since this is the second book in the Sacramento series, you should make sure to read Say You’re Sorry before diving into this installment. You’ll have a much better understanding of the cult, its survivors, and the FBI agents working to disband it that way. This review will contain some spoilers for the previous book, so read on with that in mind.
Mercy will never forget the night she left Eden for good. She, her mother, and older brother arrived in Eden when Mercy was just a year old, and now, at nearly thirteen, life inside Eden’s walls has gotten pretty horrendous for her. So she feels relief mixed with terror when her mother manages to smuggle her out in the back of a delivery truck. As one might imagine, the escape doesn’t go off as planned, and Mercy’s mother is fatally shot just off a busy highway. Mercy herself is left for dead, but she is rescued and eventually adopted into a loving home where she does everything she can to put her life as a resident of Eden behind her for good.
Now, thirteen years later, Mercy has just survived a run-in with a dangerous serial killer, and much to her dismay, the notoriety of her rescue has put her on the radar of Eden’s leaders once again. Now that they know she didn’t really die all those years ago, they’ll do whatever they have to in order to get her back under their control. Desperate to remain safe, Mercy heads to Sacramento, where her brother Gideon, the hero of Say You’re Sorry, is now living. There, she hopes to help bring the cult down, thus ensuring her own safety as well as that of the other survivors who have managed to escape Eden’s clutches.
Detective Rafe Sokolov, Gideon’s closest friend, has been attracted to Mercy since he first laid eyes on her after her rescue from the serial killer, so he’s more than a little pleased when she comes back to town. More than anything, he wants to keep Mercy safe, and so the two come up with a daring plan to track down one of the cult’s most dangerous members, a man who considers Mercy his for the taking.
I loved getting to know Mercy as more than Gideon’s little sister. She’s smart and resourceful, but also quite scarred by the time she spent in Eden. She does her best to deal with her trauma, and the author does a fabulous job bringing her her journey to life on the page. She’s not one of those superheroic characters who never messes up and who always manages to come out on top. In fact, some of the choices Mercy makes, especially those relating to her relationship with Rafe, are pretty awful. However, they always feel authentic given the emotional wounds she struggles to heal.
Rafe’s family is one of the very best things about this book. They’re so warm and accepting, but not in a way that feels forced or fake. They’re genuinely kind, compassionate, caring people who will do anything for those they love. These strong interpersonal relationships are one of the hallmarks of Ms. Rose’s books, something that really sets them apart from the countless other romantic suspense titles on the market today.
As always, the romance and the suspense are perfectly balanced. Most of the focus is on discovering Eden’s secrets, but the growing attraction Rafe and Mercy feel for one another is woven seamlessly into the story. The beauty of these burgeoning feelings is a wonderful counterpoint to the sense of danger that permeates most of the novel, and I never felt distracted by the scenes devoted to the strengthening of their bond
Some readers might be intimidated by the length of this book – it’s close to 650 pages long, but they really do fly by. In fact, I was actually a little disappointed to reach the end. That’s how invested I was in what was going on with the characters, and in fact, if the third book in this series had been available, I would have probably gone straight into it without taking my customary break between series installments. The Sacramento series in general – and this book in particular – really is that good