There is a serial killer on the loose, preying on vulnerable women. The only identifiable mark the killer leaves are letters—sometimes one, sometimes two—all carved into the torsos of his victims. Together they spell “Sydney.”
When he grabs Daisy Dawson, he believes he has found his next victim. But despite her small stature, she fights back with an expertise that quickly frees her. Before fleeing the scene, Daisy also manages to grab what proves to be crucial evidence: a necklace from around the killer’s neck.
The necklace is more than a trivial item—it is a link to a cold case that Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has been tracking for seventeen years. With Daisy’s help, Gideon finally has the opportunity to get closer to the truth than ever before.
Say You’re Sorry is the first instalment in a new series set in the city of Sacramento, however it links with the Baltimore series as our main protagonist is Daisy Dawson who is the sister of Taylor from Monster in the Closet. Daisy is a troubled young woman who has been battling alcoholism for a few years and has moved to Sacramento for a fresh start, however Daisy is soon embroiled in a murder investigation after being attacked on her way home from an AA meeting. Managing to fight off her attacker, Daisy snatches a locket from around his neck which has a unique Biblical design relating to a cult known as Eden.
When Daisy tells her story to the police, the case immediately peaks the interest of FBI agent Gideon Reynolds who is very familiar with the design as he managed to escape the cult as a child and has been looking for them for more than fifteen years. Traumatised by his time at Eden, Gideon is anxious to get revenge for his mother’s death and the abuse he suffered at the hands of the elders, however he soon finds himself preoccupied by Daisy whose life is in danger. Daisy’s attacker turns out to be a serial killer who becomes fixated on her and he doesn’t like seeing Gideon anywhere near her.
As per Rose’s standard formula, the story is told from the point of view of both Daisy and Gideon as they both wrestle with their pasts and try to look to the future. Daisy and Gideon are attracted to each other from the moment they met but are reluctant to follow through since Daisy is part of an active investigation. The romantic leads always get together in a Karen Rose novel so you know the relationship is going to turn physical at some point, however I had a hard time investing in these two as neither lives up to their promise.
Daisy gets involved in the police investigation a little too readily and manages to solve puzzles any detective worth his badge should have seen a mile away. The problem stems from Daisy being one of Rose’s few main characters not involved in law enforcement in some way and since Gideon is not technically involved in the investigation either, their presence feels awkward. The investigating officer is actually Rafe Sokolov, Gideon’s best friend and surrogate brother to Daisy, and I’m sure his role will be more prominent in the second book as the cult comes more into focus.
The serial killer is also a narrator but I didn’t find his chapters interesting in the slightest and there really is not much of a mystery about why he was killing his victims as we were informed from the outset and just had to wait on everyone else catching up. Rose has written much scarier characters in her previous novels so this is disappointing.
The characters are rounded out with the larger than life Sokolov family who have a habit of adopting waifs and strays. Gideon has been part of their family since escaping the cult and Daisy already has a connection with them through her father, however both resisted Irena Sokolov’s attempts at matchmaking and their paths have failed to cross at family events. I suspect the Sokolov family are going to feature in future books as a support system for our various protagonists as they attempt to bring down the cult. Overall, this book just felt like an introduction to the main themes that are going to be explored later on.