Spotlight & Giveaway: Cheater by Karen Rose

Posted March 28th, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 20 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Karen Rose to HJ!

Hi Karen and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Cheater!

Thank you so much for inviting me!

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

CHEATER is book two in the San Diego series. Kit McKittrick must solve the murder of a former homicide lieutenant, Frankie Flynn, who was murdered in the living room of his retirement home apartment. Police psychologist Dr. Sam Reeves provides a special perspective to this case as he’s been volunteering at the retirement home for years and knows all the residents. They must work together to get justice for Frankie Flynn—and the growing list of victims of this killer—while Sam hopes Kit will give him a chance to win her heart. Kit, on the other hand, is terrified of needing Sam too much. Will their relationship progress? Will they catch a killer? Read to find out!

Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:

“The cause of death of the eighty-five-year-old while male was most likely the butcher knife still embedded in his chest. But she’d learned long ago not to assume. Still, a butcher knife to the chest was never good.”

“She hadn’t known Sam could play the piano like that. But of course he did it well. The man did everything well.”

Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • I listened to David Gates singing Goodbye Girl on infinite repeat while writing this book. Spotify now says I’m a top fan, LOL. I listened to that song over 1400 times. My daughter thinks that David Gates owes me a thank-you note .
  • The food craving answer is chocolate. The answer is always chocolate.
  • The inspiration was the true-life story told to me by a good friend and I can’t say any more because it would be a spoiler!


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

Sam is first drawn to Kit when he sees her interviewed on TV. He senses her commitment to getting justice for victims and trusts her. His attraction grows when he sees his trust was well-placed. Kit cares about people as much as he does.

Kit’s first exposure to Sam is his voice in an anonymous phone call. He sounds nervous and unsure and she’s not sure if he’s a Good Samaritan or a killer. When she sees his driver’s license photo, all she can think is “he looks so earnest.” She doesn’t want to believe he’s a bad person, a feeling which is so completely foreign that it terrifies her.


Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?

The death of one of the victims made me sob. I can’t talk about that scene because it’s a spoiler, but the death of that person was like a knife to my own heart. I considered sparing him, but the story demanded he die. I had to take a break after finishing that scene.

The scenes that made me laugh? Nearly any scene with Miss Eloise. She’s an octogenarian with electric-blue hair and she’s blinged out her walker with rhinestones. She wasn’t supposed to be a major character, but she came alive on my screen and I fell in love with her. Here’s a snippet of Miss Eloise:

Georgia pushed herself to her feet, grabbing the cane she only used when she was in a lot of pain.
“I keep telling you to smoke some weed,” Eloise said with a shake of her bright blue head. She gripped her rhinestone-studded walker and clicked her tongue at Siggy. Obediently, Siggy followed her. “I do miss a good bowl,” she added with a sigh.
Sam choked on a laugh. “You don’t smoke here, do you, Miss Eloise?”
“Oh no, not here. No smoking allowed here, plus my lungs can’t take it anymore. But in my youth? I was at Haight-Ashbury, you know.”
Sam grabbed the grocery bag. “I did not know that. But I can’t say that I’m surprised.”
Georgia sniffed again. “Hippies. In your case, old hippies.”
Eloise frowned. “I was twenty-five in sixty-four. Not exactly an old maid. There were all ages there, not just teenagers. It was quite a time. The summer of love in sixty-seven and all that. I got married and moved to San Diego before it got really crowded and the police started cracking down. But I learned to like weed and wasn’t going to give it up.”
Sam loved these women. “Did you grow your own?”
“Yes. Never got caught, either.” Eloise plodded along to the elevator, her step noticeably slower, but she kept the chatter up. Sam thought it was mostly a show for Georgia who kept giving her haughty glares.
“I take it that you didn’t smoke weed in your youth, Miss Georgia.”
Georgia lifted her chin. “I most certainly did not.”
“I do edibles now,” Eloise said as they entered the elevator. “I keep telling Georgie that she should try them, but she’s a prude.”
“I am not a prude, Eloise. You take that back.”
“I’m no liar, Georgia Shearer.”
“You shouldn’t pressure Georgia, Miss Eloise,” Sam said gently, trying to deescalate the argument. He was also very glad that he’d never accepted one of Miss Eloise’s homemade brownies. “It’s her business what she tries.”
Eloise pouted. “I know. But Frankie used to do edibles with me and now I have no one to share with.”
Sam gaped at her, ignoring the elevator doors which had just opened. “Frankie used pot?” It was legal, of course, but Frankie had always seemed so strait-laced. Ever the cop, Sam now realized.
“He did.” Eloise’s expression saddened again as she left the elevator, turning left toward Georgia’s apartment, Siggy at her side. “He learned to use it when Ryan was sick with cancer. Helped him sleep.”
“They didn’t find any in his apartment,” Sam said.
“No, they wouldn’t. He’d come to my place for his nighttime brownie.”
“Every night?” Sam asked.
“No, not every night. Only when he was stressed. He was pretty stressed the past few weeks.”
Sam nodded to the officer standing in the hallway outside Georgia’s room. True to his word, Navarro had given a guard to the people who’d been closest to Frankie.
Eloise stopped to bat her eyelashes at the man. “Aren’t you handsome?” she cooed.
Georgia rolled her eyes, but her smile was affectionate. “Leave him alone, Eloise. Officer Stern’s got a wife and a new baby.”
“Pics or it didn’t happen!” Eloise demanded.
With a smile, the cop took out his wallet and proudly showed them a photo of a woman with curly red hair. The child she held had hair just red and just as curly. “My wife, Savannah, and our daughter, Kristen.”
“They’re lovely,” Georgia said quietly. “I hope guarding us isn’t keeping you from them for too long.”
“They’re out of town at the moment,” Stern said. “Visiting family in Chicago. So I’m all yours, Miss Georgia.”
“But you’re married,” Eloise said with a dramatic sigh. “Too bad for us. I don’t poach.”
“Anymore,” Georgia added under her breath, earning her a scalding glare from Eloise.
“For that unwarranted dig, I get to pick the first movie,” Eloise declared.
“Oh God,” Georgia moaned. “Not Magic Mike again.”
Officer Stern coughed to hide a laugh. Sam opened his mouth to challenge Eloise’s movie choice, then shrugged. It wasn’t worth it.


Readers should read this book….

If they want to solve a mystery, get justice for the dead, and meet characters that will (hopefully) capture your heart.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?

I’m currently working on San Diego #3! More Kit and Sam, Harlan and Betsy, and Eloise and Georgia . My next release is BURIED TOO DEEP, the third book in my New Orleans series. Burke Broussard’s crew is back in Phin Bishop’s story. I hope readers love it!

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: One copy of CHEATER for a U.S. only winner.


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Is there a song that can cut through whatever you’re thinking or doing and take you back to a certain place and time?

For Kit, it’s Amazing Grace, the song played at the funeral of her murdered sister. For me, it’s Garth Brooks’s The Dance. It takes me back to a time when my kids were small and I’d get up early to take a morning walk when the air was crisp and the day was full of promise. That song was my cool-down tune. It was a peaceful time, moments just for me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt from Cheater:

CHEATER by Karen Rose
Berkley Hardcover | On sale March 26, 2024

Chapter One

Shady Oaks Retirement Village
Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California
Monday, November 7, 11:20 a.m.

Kit McKittrick allowed herself a moment to feel pity as she stood over the body of the elderly man lying dead on his apartment floor in the Shady Oaks Retirement Village. Then she squared her shoulders and proceeded to do her job.

The mood in the dead man’s living room was subdued. The ME was examining the body while CSU took photos and Latent dusted for prints, but there was little of the normal scene-of-the-crime chatter to which Kit had become accustomed in the four and a half years she’d been in Homicide.

Everyone spoke in hushed whispers, like they were in church. Because it kind of felt like they were. Haunting melancholy music from a single piano was coming from the speaker mounted on the victim’s living room wall. The music wasn’t loud, but it was overwhelming nonetheless. Kit wanted to turn it off, because the music was so sad that it made her chest hurt and her eyes burn.

But neither the speaker nor its volume controls had been dusted for prints, so she couldn’t touch it yet. Until then, she could only square her shoulders, ignore the music, and focus on getting justice for Mr. Franklin Delano Flynn.

The cause of death of the eighty-five-year-old white male was most likely the butcher knife still embedded in his chest. But she’d learned long ago not to assume. Still, a butcher knife to the chest was never good. It was a long wound, the gash in the man’s white button-up shirt extending from his sternum to his navel. Whoever had killed him had to have had a lot of strength to create such a wound.

The victim had been dead long enough for his blood to dry, both the blood that had soaked the front of his shirt and the blood that had pooled on the floor around his torso.

His eyes, filmy in death, stared sightlessly up at the ceiling. His arms lay at his sides, his hands slightly curved. Not quite flat, but not quite fists, either. It wasn’t a natural pose for the victim of a homicide who’d fallen after being stabbed. She wondered if his killer had repositioned his arms.

Mr. Flynn had been a hardy man, broad-shouldered, tall, and still muscular. Not in bad shape for eighty-five, she thought. He wore dark trousers, the pockets turned out, as if he’d been searched.

His shoes were black oxfords, buffed to such a shine that she could nearly see her own reflection. She wondered if he’d come home, surprising his attacker, or if he’d welcomed his killer into his home.

His living room had been ransacked, books knocked off shelves, knickknacks strewn on the floor. The sofa cushions had been slashed open, foam stuffing on the floor as well. The man’s bedroom was in a similar state. The drawers in the kitchen had been opened and emptied, their contents dumped on the counters. Flour and sugar containers had been dumped on the kitchen’s tiled floor. Someone had been looking for something and had left a terrible mess.

Kit wondered if they’d found what they’d been looking for. She wondered if Mr. Flynn had fought back.

Kit crouched on the victim’s right side, leaning in so that she could better examine his hands. The knuckles of his right hand were scraped and bruised, but his fingernails were what caught her attention. They were mostly gone, clipped way past the quick, down into the nail bed.

That he’d fought back was a decent assumption, then. His killer hadn’t wanted any evidence to be found under the man’s nails.

Excerpted from Cheater by Karen Rose Copyright © 2024 by Karen Rose. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

A shocking murder leaves an affluent retirement community reeling in this riveting high-stakes thriller from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose.

Death is not an unfamiliar visitor to Shady Oaks Retirement Village, which provides San Diego’s premier elderly support from independent retiree housing to full-time hospice care. But when a resident’s body is found brutally stabbed and his apartment ransacked, it’s clear there’s someone deadly in their community. Detective Katherine “Kit” McKittrick quickly discovers that Shady Oaks is full of skeleton-riddled closets, and most tenants prefer to keep their doors firmly closed to the SDPD.

A longtime volunteer at the retirement facility, Dr. Sam Reeves honors his late grandfather’s memory by playing the piano for the residents regularly. So it shouldn’t be such a surprise when Kit crosses paths with him during her investigation, after she’d avoided the criminal psychologist—and the emotions he evokes—for the last six months.

Sam’s rapport within the retirement village proves vital to the case, and the pair find themselves working together once again—much to Kit’s dismay. But she is determined to apprehend the shadow of death lurking around Shady Oaks…and equally determined to ignore the feelings she’s developing for a certain psychologist.
Book Links:  Amazon |

Meet the Author:

Karen Rose is the award-winning, #1 international bestselling author of more than 25 novels, including the bestselling Baltimore and Cincinnati series. She has been translated into twenty-three languages, and her books have placed on the New York Times, the Sunday Times (UK), and Germany’s der Spiegel bestseller lists.
Website |

20 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Cheater by Karen Rose”

  1. psu1493

    One in particular is Sara Smile by Hall and Oates that reminds me of my maternal grandmother.

  2. Texas Book Lover

    There are several but I can’t think of them off the top of my head.

  3. SusieQ

    One by Metallica. It’s inspired by the novel Johnny Got His Gun, where a soldier wakes up and is trapped in his own body after losing limbs, and his face. It came out around the time my mother was in a persistent vegetative state. That song takes me back to an awful time in my life.

  4. Amy R

    Is there a song that can cut through whatever you’re thinking or doing and take you back to a certain place and time? No

  5. Patricia Barraclough

    Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce is mine. It takes me back to the first years we were married and my husband served several tours in the Vietnam War. His first tour delayed our wedding. The second was five weeks after we married. The third was when I was 3 months pregnant, and the fourth was when our daughter was 3 months old. there were other separations over the years. You learn to cherish every minute you have together.