Sunday, May 17, 2015

She Can Scream (She Can...#3) by Melinda Leigh

Book Blurb:

In one moment, high school teacher and single mother Brooke Davenport interrupts a vicious assault, saves a young woman’s life, and attracts the attention of a serial killer.
Sixteen years ago, Brooke lost her roommate to a brutal murder. Now she teaches women’s self-defense, still trying to heal from the guilt and grief that plague her. Convinced the predator knows his victims and is stalking his prey online, she is determined to find him before he strikes again. Her brother’s friend, Luke has the computer expertise to help. But Brooke’s unexpected desire for Luke complicates her investigation, and her fixation with the case provokes a deadly reaction from the killer.

Injured in terrorist bombing overseas, computer expert Luke Holloway is still haunted by flashbacks of his young assistant’s death in the explosion. But Luke can’t refuse the request of a deployed friend to look after his sister, Brooke. Taking on responsibility for Brooke’s safety threatens Luke’s tenuous recovery, especially after he develops feelings for her that transcend a promise to a friend. When Brooke saves a young girl from a brutal assault and becomes a killer’s obsession, Luke vows to protect her at all costs.

My Review:

I really like that She Can Scream is a very modern story.  The potential dangers of social media are highlighted and are very real.  This added a whole other layer of believability to the plot.
Brooke is the heroine, and she's still struggling with a tragedy that occurred years ago.  I like how she's trying to keep her friends memory alive, but at the same time it seemed like she was punishing herself and unable to move forward in a lot of ways. 
Luke, the hero, is Brooke's brother Wade's friend and he's in town for a week to visit with his Grandma.  Luke is broken inside too.  He has his own hauntings that make moving on and living life difficult for him.
These two come together first out of a sense of protectiveness on Luke's side when he promised Wade he'd look out for Brooke and her kids, but as danger gets closer, things start to heat up between Luke and Brooke also.  I liked these two main characters.  On the surface they are very different, but once I got to know them better the more and more it was like they belonged together.  Can he help Brooke stay safe even as she tries to investigate what the police are already investigating?  And what about the future?  Present day circumstances and being together force Brooke and Luke to take more steps away from the past and into the future, but will they have a chance together?
At times Brooke was frustrating because she was so entrenched in survivor's guilt, then guilt through association with what is happening now...and she is determined to find out who the attacker is, even when it's not safe for her to be digging into the investigation.  It was back and forth a lot for me with how I felt about Brooke because at times I felt like she needed to think about her and her kids safety first and foremost instead of thrusting herself into the eyes of a crazed person.  I really liked Luke, something about him just pulled to me.  He's protective but not over the top protective, and he takes things seriously.  I liked the relationship he has with his Grandma.  I liked how through She Can Scream both characters really grew and were strongly developed.
The intense and suspenseful plot of She Can Scream had great build up, it was thrilling, and Melinda kept me guessing.  I could not figure out the 'who'!  Melinda held my interest and made me want to stay in the pages of the book.
Melinda writes She Can Scream in 3 POV's which was fascinating!  She gave brief glimpses into a madman's mind...enough to certainly give me chills but not enough to turn me off of reading.  I liked having both Brooke and Luke's POV, this really helped me get into their minds.
The secondary characters are all very relevant to the plot, and I liked how we got a few glimpses of Brooke's ex-husband but weren't overwhelmed by their past.  I also really liked her kids, they are a good side part of the story, with no drama from them which was a relief for me as a reader.
She Can Scream is fast paced and dangerous.  I liked the slow growth of the relationship between Brooke and Luke, the uncertainty of the future for them as a couple, and how this is subtly woven into a suspenseful, edgy plot.  She Can Scream is part of a series but can definitely be read as a stand alone (like I did).  I'd recommend She Can Scream to any romantic suspense reader.

4/5 stars

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