The Last Kiss Goodbye

Karen Robards
The Last Kiss Goodbye
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Publisher
Ballantine
Release Date
August 2013
ISBN
9780345535849
Series
Book 2 of Dr. Charlotte Stone
Genre
Contemporary Romance, Lawyer/FBI Romance, Medical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

SUMMARY
When New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards brought her irresistible brand of hot passion and chilling suspense to the paranormal romance scene with The Last Victim, it was just the beginning. Now her all-new series cranks up the deadly danger and intense desire to the next level, as sexy serial killer hunter Charlotte Stone returns to action in her thrilling second adventure.

THE LAST KISS GOODBYE

Dr. Charlotte "Charlie" Stone has dedicated her career as a psychiatrist to exploring the darkest territory of all: the hearts and minds of serial killers. It's a job she's uniquely suited for, thanks to the secret talent that gives her an uncanny edge—Charlie can see dead people, whose tormented spirits cry out to her for the justice only she can provide. This blessing—or curse—gives Charlie the power to hunt down and catch madmen and murderers. It's also turned her love life upside down by drawing her into a hopelessly passionate relationship with the lingering ghost of charismatic bad boy Michael Garland.

But there's little time for romance with her supernatural suitor when murder comes pounding at Charlie's door in the form of a terrified young woman fleeing a homicidal maniac. Saving her life places Charlie squarely in the cross-hairs of a sadistic predator nicknamed "the Gingerbread Man," notorious for manipulating his victims like pawns in a deadly chess game. And now the queen this psychopath's bent on capturing is Charlie. Refusal to play will only put more innocent lives in danger. Matching wits with this cunningly twisted opponent will require all of Charlie's training and expert skills. But even with her devilish "guardian angel"—not to mention her favorite flesh-and-blood Fed, Tony Bartoli—watching her beautiful back, the Gingerbread Man's horrifying grin might be the last thing Charlie ever sees.


Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Aug 12, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
126 people found the following review helpful
Chillingly Good! 5 "blended genres" stars! I don't even know how to describe this book, as it's unlike anything I have ever read before. It's in a genre all of its own: equal parts paranormal, thriller, mystery, romance and even a touch of humor! I had recently listened to one of Karen Robards' historical romances (Dark of the Moon) and loved it so much, I knew I needed to experience more of her writing. When I was lucky enough to get a copy of THE LAST KISS GOODBYE, little did I know that I would stumble upon a new must-read series! I can't wait to read the next installment, Her Last Whisper, which is scheduled to be released this month (August 2014)!

Although this is book 2 of the Charlotte Stone novels, Ms. Robards does a fantastic job of describing the background of the prior book in the series. As a result, even though the events in this series occur in chronological order, and involve the same main characters, THE LAST KISS GOODBYE can be read as a standalone. All that said, I enjoyed this one so much that now, even knowing the history, I want to go back and read book 1, The Last Victim, just to fully experience how it all began!

Dr. Charlotte Stone, once targeted by the depraved "Boardwalk" serial killer who killed Charlie's best friend and her family, is no longer a victim. Instead, she became a psychiatrist who researches serial killers and now she is the hunter who hunts down these madmen. The fact that she has a gift, which allows her to communicate with the newly dead, particularly those who have experienced violent deaths, only makes her even more suited to help protect society from their deviant behavior.

There is one spirit, however, that of convicted serial killer, Michael Garland, who has become quite a problem. For her heart, that is. She studied him in life and never doubted his guilt, but it wasn't until he saved her life, giving up his in the process, that she began to question Michael's crimes. Torn between her knowledge of how serial killers operate, and her unmistakable attraction and heartfelt feelings towards Michael, she doesn't know what to do. Never mind that his time in a spiritual plane where she can still be with him is no doubt limited. Meanwhile, there is a real, living and breathing man, Special FBI Agent Anthony Bartoli, who specializes in apprehending serial killers, who wants to start a relationship with her.

But Michael is not the only serial killer who has her in his sights these days. The Gingerbread Man, a serial killer who's known for teaming up three victims and forcing them into a match to the death, has killed again and this time he forced the sole survivor to leave Dr. Stone a message: "You can't catch me." How can she resolve her love quandary when she knows the clock is ticking before The Gingerbread Man kills again? Moreover, her best chance of finding him means teaming up with Agent Bartoli and his team again, further complicating her matters of the heart.

Wow, everything is intense in this novel. From the steamy, passion-filled scenes to the spine-tingling suspense-filled ones! Just when you think you know which way Dr. Stone's heart is turning, or the identity of The Gingerbread Man, guess again, because Ms. Robards takes you on another thrilling twist and turn.

I highly recommend this series to not just paranormal romance lovers, but also to readers who enjoy thrillers, even those who do not ordinarily read romances. The psychological aspects of this novel, including the dissecting of the criminal/serial killer mind is so clever and profound, that I believe its appeal is likely to be appreciated by fans spanning many different genres.
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Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Oct 06, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
114 people found the following review helpful
So scrumptiously, thrillingly good!

Charlie is enmeshed once again in a murder mystery, when the Gingerbread Man sent her a letter saying "You can't catch me." Along with Special FBI team composing of Tony Bartoli, Buzz Crane and Lena Kaminsky from the first book, they set out to catch the villain before he kills anymore. Meanwhile, Charlie still has her sexy ghost to contend with, who didn't like seeing her with Tony or the reminders that he has no place in her future...

The fabulous thing about this book, the second in the Dr. Charlotte Stone series, is that things move forward. Sure, there are developments in the romance between Charlie and Michael (and Charlie and Tony), and Michael's serial killer status, but we also see Michael evolving as a character, even if we don't see or know his thoughts as we are firmly in Charlie's point of view. Hence, the last scene from Michael's POV is a definite treat! Ms. Robards is definitely taking the paranormal aspect to a higher level, and while I don't really like ghost romances, Michael more than bowled me over, and I can't help but want more of him!

Speaking of romance, if you think the intimate scenes between Charlie and Michael were hot and sexy in the first book, it's WAY HOTTER here! From the angry sex to the passion-filled, desperate sex scenes, you'll want to jump your special someone, so keep him close! Or some cold water to douse your Kindle when it catches fire. But in the midst of all that sex, there was some bittersweet feeling, too, because, well, at the end of the day, Charlie's human and Michael's a ghost.

Can readers jump in here? Sure (with caveat)! THE LAST KISS GOODBYE is a standalone, in that the mystery murder is solved, and Ms. Robards did a good job keeping readers up to date on the characters' status at the beginning of the book without giving away the villain of the mystery murder in the first book. In fact, I thought there was some info dumping there, but that's only because I'm reading the books one after the other. I'm sure that if there was some gap in between, I'd appreciate all the reminders.

The caveat is: However, in the first chapter, Michael was flickering until he disappeared. And what Charlie went through when that happens--that's what heartbreak would be like. I thought my own heart would break. And if you haven't read the first book, well, I think it would be hard to appreciate what she was feeling.

Definitely, pick up this series! There's plenty of snark and humor, too, to balance all the angst. Start with the first book, The Last Victim. Meanwhile, I'm off to read the next one, Her Last Whisper.
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