To Read or Not to Read?

Black Rose by Kris Thompson

Note: I received a free NetGalley copy of “Black Rose” by Kris Thompson in exchange for an honest review. And this review will get slightly spoilery.

I chose “Black Rose” to read especially for the Halloween season because it was creepy and horrifying. Not in an unbelievable “oh my gosh, vampires” kind of way but in a “this is something that could really happen. I mean look at the guy who kept the women hidden in Cleveland for years.”

So if you aren’t familiar with the Cleveland, Ohio man who abducted several women and stored them in a house for years this book definitely parallels that story. (Women held captive, raped with at least one pregnancy). Only in “Black Rose” Lillian, aka Lee, aka Lilly knows that the abductions are happening, she just doesn’t think it could happen to her. And then it does.

Lee soon finds herself chained up in an underground room with nothing but a mattress and a bucket for human waste. Only she’s not alone. The other missing girls are in rooms all around her and they share their stories. They were kidnapped months before and have faced various forms of torture including physical beatings, being lit by fire, and rapes.

The story flashes back and forth between Lee’s perspective and that of her boyfriend Richard who is close to Lee’s friends and family. He refuses to give up on his girlfriend until the end.

So content wise I both liked and did not like this. Of course it was kind of graphic (no overly gratuitous rape or torture scenes but descriptive enough to make me a little squeamish). And there were parts that I felt didn’t make sense. As another reviewer mentioned, one of the first scenes where the captured girls talk they end up talking about sex even though they are being repeatedly raped. I’m not so sure that’s believable but then again I have never been in, and hopefully never will be, in that kind of situation. So who knows.

I did like that the story went farther than I thought it would. I thought the book would end with the girls escaping. But instead it carried on through the escape, the hospital stays of the survivors, and the trial and verdict for the captor.

But even though I read it quickly, mostly because it was an easy read (not content wise but style wise) and because it was suspenseful enough that I wanted to know “what happens next” I wouldn’t say I loved the book. Sure that might have something to do with the whole distastefulness of the situation but it was also because the characters didn’t really come alive for me. Sure I rooted for Lee but I would have rooted for anyone in her position.

So this is not on my top rated shelf. It just felt like so much more could have happened and that it could have been written better but it didn’t and it wasn’t.

And I’m going to complain about something else…something very spoilery. So here goes…

If you are abducted and raped and tortured and you knock your captor out (especially if you can’t save all your fellow captive girls) why wouldn’t you make absolute certain that the guy was dead?

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