Cold Blooded Liar by Karen Rose #BookReview #Mystery #Thriller

Brace yourself for a scorching new series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose, where San Diego means sun, surf, sand…and serial killers.

Sam Reeves is a kindhearted psychologist who treats court-ordered clients. After one of his patients—a pathological liar—starts revealing plausible new details from a long-unsolved serial murder case, he’s compelled to report anonymously to the SDPD tip line, though his attempts to respect patient confidentiality land him facedown and cuffed by the aggressive (and cute) Detective McKittrick.

San Diego homicide detective Kit McKittrick loves the water. She lives on a boat, and when she’s not solving crimes with the SDPD, she’s assisting her foster sister with her charter fishing business or playing with her poodle. But there’s nothing that intrigues Kit more than a cold case, so when an anonymous caller leads her on the path of a wanted killer, she’s determined to end the decade-long manhunt.

Sam is soon released but goes home with both a newfound distaste for the SDPD and a resolve—not unlike Kit’s—to uncover the truth. Kit and Sam repeatedly butt heads in their separate investigations but are forced to work together to find one of the deadliest serial killers the city has faced in years.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free advanced copy of this book to read and review.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Cold Blooded Liar is a thrilling new mystery by Karen Rose and the first book in a new series that I can’t wait to see more installments of. In Cold Blooded Liar, Kit McKittrick, an SDPD homicide detective, gets a break in a serial killer case that has stymied the police department for years. The break comes from Dr. Sam Reeves, who provides court-ordered treatment to a pathological liar and calls in an anonymous tip that he isn’t sure can be believed considering the source. The stakes increase as Kit and Sam get closer to the killer in their separate investigations. If they aren’t careful, the killer will claim a victim close to one of their hearts.

My Reading Experience:

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I was intrigued by the tone, which kept the story on a surprisingly light level despite the dark subject matter. I still can’t put my finger on how Karen Rose achieved this, but I did enjoy it.

Romance potential is part of the story. I anticipate it will play out over a large part of the series, but it never dominates the plot. I always enjoy pairing psychologists and law enforcement, so I am definitely in their corner. The chemistry was apparent, so seeing how it plays out will be fun. I loved that they didn’t immediately dive headfirst into bed and/or a relationship. Instead, the reader is treated to a tease of things to come.

I also loved the family theme running throughout the story. Kit was in foster care and adopted by her foster parents, the McKittricks, who are the ideal foster parents. On one level, I had that too-good-to-be-authentic and believable feeling about them. Still, on the other hand, I couldn’t help but love the McKittricks for their generous spirit and their limitless ability to love all children unconditionally. Their characters are part of what helped to keep the story light while it tackled very dark situations.

You may be thinking, “how thrilling could this story be if it stays light?” And I will tell you, I was not disappointed with the thrills. There are more than enough thrills and spills, twists and turns, and red herrings to keep even the most hardcore thriller fan happy. Not to mention, the whodunit kept me guessing until the reveal.


Kit McKittridge got lucky as a foster kid the day she joined the McKittrick household, which changed her life forever. It took time, but her life took on new meaning once she let them in and allowed them to adopt her. After she lost her foster sister as a teen, she decided then and there that she wanted to spend her life putting killers behind bars. And with the support of her adoptive parents, she did just that.

Sam Reeves is a psychologist that dreams of working with police to put the guilty behind bars. When he finds himself in the crosshairs of a police investigation, he decides to investigate the murders to clear his name and ensure the actual killer is found. This puts him in danger, but he also finds that he has a knack for it.

The characters are so well fleshed out that you can imagine running into them on the street. They each are so distinctive, with layers and layers of experiences that make them feel authentic. Character development is indeed a strength of this story.

Narration & Pacing:

The pacing stays fast from start to finish, and I expect this book to be a one-sitting read for most. The narration is in the third person limited and focuses on Kit or Sam in alternating chapters throughout the book. I enjoyed the continuity of the third-person narration and the alternating focus. Hence, I learned everything possible about the investigation.


The setting is San Diego, but it was more the city’s outskirts. It was more rural and bucolic than expected, focusing on the McKittrick farm, the boat Kit lived on, and other areas outside the city proper. I loved that San Diego, a huge city, was made to feel so small and manageable.

Read if you like:

  • Fast-Paced Thrillers
  • Serial Killer cases
  • Wonderfully developed characters.

Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

23 Replies to “Cold Blooded Liar by Karen Rose #BookReview #Mystery #Thriller”

  1. I love the setting. I love San Diego, my brother lived on a large property on the outskirts of the city, so I can relate to this setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a promising start of a suspenseful thriller series. Like you, I hate it when the MCs meet and immediately fall into a relationship/bed. Let it play out in a more natural timeline is my opinion. Not that anyone asked for it, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, Tessa. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy reading. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful review, Tessa💜 I’ve fallen behind in her connected series (they’re all part of one long-running series and segmented by cities). I’m about four books behind and can’t wait to catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Her other series is more romantic suspense, isn’t it? This one was put in that category in Goodreads but it really wasn’t romantic at all. And Berkley Romance asked to use my photo of it on their IG feed which I found odd considering the lack of romance in the book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s connected to that series. She only has one big series where she switches focus by city. It’s not arranged in a linear way. I’ll bet there are characters from earlier stories in this one. She used to have a matrix on her website but it’s now gone.


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