Thursday, April 2, 2015

Roses are Red. . .Violet is Dead by Monica-Marie Vincent


Violet Sumner has a stalker.

Between her largely dysfunctional family of two and the friends she doesn’t feel particularly close to, Violet thinks he’s the least of her problems. What she fails to understand is that the guy is no prankster and soon people turn up dead or missing. Because of her.

Things change when Violet’s best friend disappears and realization sinks in that the stalker means business. Denial put aside, Violet has no other option but to accept the help of police Sergeant Willard Kelley and his rather sweet protégé, to come to terms with the seriousness of the situation.
Yet nothing could’ve prepared her for her close up with the psycho.

Who will survive in this tale of obsession and misplaced devotion?

"Can I get a tall black coffee to go, please?" he asked as he whisked past me to the counter. 
Jordan nodded and grabbed the cup, casting a worried look in my direction. She hadn't missed that I wasn't comfortable with Colton. Her movements were swift, but for some reason they seemed like slow motion to me. It took everything I had to glance up at Colton's face. Since when was he a fan of coffee?
Colton's posture was relaxed as he leaned on the counter, smirking in my direction. "Fancy meeting you here, Vi," he fired off cockily. He chuckled as he handed Jordan money with one hand and took the coffee with the other. 
"Well, I'm here every morning. What's your excuse?" I rolled my eyes as I put my hand on my hip, my spine straightening to my full height of five-foot-four.
"Decided I needed a little 'pick me up’. What's better than a nice steaming cup of coffee?" He held up his cup like he was going to cheers with mine. I clutched my cup a little closer to my chest.
"Didn't you have to drive out of your way to get here?" I refused to meet his gaze.
"Yeah, so?" He challenged.
"So? Coffee isn't even your thing." I stepped back and held my chin up defiantly.
"I wanted to come and see a friend. Is that OK?" He flashed his notorious megawatt smile.
"Colton, we're not friends. Shelby and I are friends. You and Blake are friends. But you and I, we're not friends." I gestured between us, emphasizing my point.
"Yeah, because you are the only reason in the world that I would come here." He licked his lips as he pushed himself into a standing position. A predatory smile emerged. "Aren't we a little full of ourselves this morning?"
I could feel all of the blood draining out of my face and into my feet. Feet that refused to move toward the door. Silently, I tried to will Jordan to say something, anything, but she had made herself busy behind the counter. My dry mouth couldn't form any words to rebut what Colton had said. All that was missing was for me to be standing there in my underwear like one of those nightmares where you go to school naked, only I was standing in the middle of Starbucks.
"It doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to be such a bitch to me. I'm your best friend's boyfriend. Maybe it's time you come to terms with that." A slow, smug smile spread across his face.
"Whatever. I'm going to be late." I tossed my hair over my shoulder, turned to wave at Jordan, and fled the store like he was chasing me.


Roses are Red. . .Violet is Dead is a mystery/thriller with twists and turns, creeps and chills, and a horror hiding behind the facade of an unknown face. The main character, Violet, is a 17 year old girl, who's been dragged through life's troubles, but she copes as best she can. She's a wonderfully strong character, but not the super-fighting type often seen in today's literature, Violet has an inner-strength, which reveals itself as the story unfolds. I really enjoyed following her as she learns that she can handle and battle more than what life throws at her.

The characters in this are well-developed and easy to love - even easy to love to hate. I think it's this character depth which really draws into the story and makes up for the smaller problems later on. Especially the main character has an impressive way of dealing with things, not whining over problems but facing and, in case of the first strange events due to a stalker, ignoring them as needed to keep her life going. Her strengths and flaws made her very realistic and easy to feel for.

This is a YA, but I'd recommend it for the upper end of the age group. The plot is tense, the language harsh and the sexual references raw, and although I found some of it a little disturbing at moments, it did fit reality. I enjoyed many of the little scenes and found the descriptions just enough to draw in without over-loading the plot. It was easy to fall into Violet's world.

The suspense did grab tight and kept me pinned to the pages. There were times where goose bumps spread over my arms, and I had to peek over my shoulder to make sure everything was all right. The plot is complex  and usually very well handled. There were a couple times I felt things weren't ironed out quite as nicely as they could have been, and a few twists were a little too predictable. Despite these moments, the story pulls through from page one, and I had no trouble enjoying it with all the delicious creepy chills until the very end.

Monica-Marie Vincent writes Young Adult novels about troubled teens and even more troubled parents. She currently lives in Sacramento, CA although she would rather be in her home town of San Francisco. Thanks to her very put upon husband Monica-Marie is always well stocked with coffee, Diet Coke, and Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos, so she wouldn't have to move away from her writerly lair to do mundane things like shopping.


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