Review: Red by Kate Kinsey


Red by Kate Kinsey
Thriller / Erotica
2012-09-06 (eKensington)

Rating: C+
Heat: Sizzling

Hero: Tom Hanson – Detective, Ex-Partner
Heroine: Gina Larson – Ex-Detective, Dominatrix 
Setting: USA



I have to say, I went into this thinking it was going to have a stronger element of romance than it ended up having. I had expectations of an erotic BDSM romance with a thrilling murder mystery weaved throughout… But what I read was a thrilling murder mystery set in the BDSM community with hints of the erotic and brief moments of romance. A slight distinction, but important nonetheless.

Expectations set aside, I found myself engrossed by and engaged in this BDSM thriller. Red is a film noir (book noir?) set in the bible belt that explores the darker, seedier side to the kink lifestyle. And Miz Kinsey doesn’t hold back on anything. Anything. There are parts I can only describe as… morbidly fascinating. Fascinatingly morbid. Which I think fits perfectly for a story that follows a detective as he struggles to catch a serial killer with a proclivity for mutilation.

Said Detective, and primary point of view, is Tom Hanson. Detective Hanson is still reeling from the loss of his ex-partner and ex-lover, Gina Larson. Gina was forced to quit the force after being outted as a Dominatrix and then harassed by her co-workers. Hanson has guilt and unresolved feelings when it comes to Gina—things he didn’t do, things he didn’t say. When he realizes he’s going to need her help and insight into the BDSM community, well, it’s not going to be easy. Especially since Hanson has yet to accept his own dark tendencies.

Hanson is currently partnered with Griggs, a man I can only think to describe as utterly un-PC and clearly missing a filter from his brain to his mouth. He is an interesting counterpoint to Hanson. And the things he says, well, you’re often left thinking: ‘No. Just no.’ and ‘OMG, man, someone needs to muzzle you!’  Still, he does make you laugh… and I think he means well. But I couldn’t help being overjoyed when Gina finally put a leash and collar on him.

My biggest complaint comes at the end of the novel. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will only say that something Gina does, and Hanson discovers… it’s a HUGE something… I don’t feel like it was handled properly or resolved in any way. It was a real WTF moment and Hanson is all, ‘So, you did this.’ and Gina is all, ‘Yeah, I did.’ It needed to be expanded on and discussed and dealt with. Not swept under the rug.

All in all, I really did enjoy Red quite a lot. I don’t think I ever set it down for any long period of time. The mystery and the different viewpoints and each victim’s stories really kept the story rolling and the pace going. The resolution was terrific and done very well. Kept me guessing throughout.

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