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Monster In The Closet
Baltimore Series #5
Karen Rose

August 29, 2017/ ISBN 9780399586767

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Monster In The Closet by Karen Rose intertwines murder, relationships, secrets, family, and lies. Using her potpourri of characters she writes how close knit family and friends come together while fighting the dark and scary monsters.

Rose commented, “It was a different book for me. I wrote it in the beginning of 2016 when we lost three people in our family, within a three-week period. I was grieving and needed to write something with a REAL happy ending. Although I was contracted to write another book, the one that will come out in February, I needed to go back and visit with my characters, my old friends. The first parts written were the touchy, feely scenes and then I later added in the mystery/suspense.”

The cast of characters might have been a bit too much but it is the relationship aspect that spurred the story on. Rose delves into the darkest corners of humanity, while showing that there are people who will step up to make their world safe. Many of the characters in this novel went through some horrifying experience and had to face some kind of trauma. It is this common thread that binds the characters.

The plot begins with eleven-year-old Jazzie Jarvis witnessing her mother’s horrific murder at the hands of her father, Gage. Unfortunately, her five-year-old sister, Janie, is also traumatized when she sees her mother lying in her own blood. Jazzie has not spoken since the incident and Janie has nightmares. Trying to help the girls cope and heal emotionally they are taken to Healing Hearts with Horses that provide therapy to traumatized children. Their counselor, Taylor Dawson, also faces her own set of demons. Lied to all her life about her real father, Clay Maynard, she's constantly looked over her shoulder in fear. Now she's ready to face her past and find out if the man she's feared all her life is truly the face of evil her mother painted him to be.

The author noted, “I think the concept of Equine and Canine Therapy is catching on. I read an article put out on Twitter by the FBI where they talk about their victim programs. The canine units will go out to disaster areas and work with the First Responders who need an emotional outlet. These animals provide them a break. In another article I read about dogs that help children testify in court. A sexually assaulted child had to testify in front of her abuser. Having this animal in the court with her allowed her to keep her emotional control. A friend and I actually thought of starting a therapeutic riding program for children who were abused. Because of the regulations and legal issues we had to jump through we shelved the idea. I understood from my own experiences that taking care of horses could be a stress release and calming. I could go out to the pasture and comb a horse for an hour and it felt like I had relaxed the whole day.”

This story is tension filled. Rose delves into the backstory of many of her characters, each with their own horrific situation, whether having been kidnapped, abused, or shot. Readers will go through a gambit of emotions with these family and friends.

Reviewed 2017