Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Review: Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose

by Karen Rose
Release Date: August 2, 2022
2022 Berkley Books
Kindle Books: 594 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593336298
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Romantic Suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher
3.75 / 5 Stars
Gabe Hebert saw the toll that working for the NOPD took on his dad and decided instead to make a name for himself as one of the best young chefs in the French Quarter. But when his father's death is ruled a suicide after a deliberately botched investigation by his former captain, Gabe knows his dad stumbled onto a truth that someone wants silenced.

Gabe goes to his father's best friend, Burke, for help. Burke assigns the toughest member of his team, Molly, to the case. Molly can't believe she's being asked to work with the smoking hot chef whose chocolate cake is not the only thing that makes her mouth water. Sparks fly as they follow the leads Gabe's dad left them, unraveling a web of crimes, corruption, and murder that runs all the way to the top.
My Thoughts
Quarter to Midnight was an amusing contemporary romantic suspense romp through New Orleans. There was danger, a lot of action, secrets and betrayals, romance, and suspense, all thrown into one long week of hell for our heroes. However fun this was, it was still too long and I think it could have been shortened up as some parts of it dragged on and interfered with the suspense and tension.
First of all, I did enjoy the diverse set of characters in this book.  I like how Gabe and Molly are attracted to each other, but want to keep all of their dealings professional, so when Molly is hired to help Gabe solve his father's death, you learn more about them as people rather than just jump into the romantic side of things.  Gabe is a local celebrity so trying to do her job was quite difficult for Molly, and it was fun watching her navigate that whole minefield trying to keep him safe. Most of the characters though, were quite likeable and I enjoyed them for different reasons. I thought the author did a great job giving them distinct voices so you could keep them straight. However, no matter how much I wish otherwise, I didn't feel any chemistry between Molly and Gabe, none. Felt forced.

I thought the plot was interesting, but there was nothing really new to it. The themes of dirty cops has been around for a while so it was just a matter of waiting to see who else would be involved. Unfortunately, the many and varied POV created a problem with the tension and the secrecy, creating a disjointed story line that did impact the overall suspense of the story as well as gave away the identity of the top culprit which irked me quite a bit.  And then there was the body count, so high. I just couldn't believe that that many people would disappear, or that many people would die around a certain someone, and no one else would be suspicious?  The book was long for a romantic suspense novel, and while this slow-burn thriller has some great moments, I do think it has some moments that could have been edited out to enable a faster pace and keep the tension going.  

Quarter to Midnight has good character development and overall, I thought the story was fun. I did find the plot to be predictable under all of that drawn-out character development and action, and think the book is way too long with too many bodies that were overlooked without explanation as if people going missing are unimportant, or readers won't pay attention to such details.  This is really a mystery with a forced romantic suspense thrown in between the two main characters simply because the genre is labelled romantic suspense.  When you separate it all, it looks really good, when you put it all together, something was missing and it just became ok. I think if you are looking for a half decent mystery that is somewhat predictable, but has good character development, you will enjoy this, but if you are looking for steamy romance, pass. 



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