Revenge is sweet, one saying goes, and another from Shakespeare says that it’s “a dish best served cold.” But, what about the people that it hurts? I’m sure they would have a far different opinion about revenge, that it more often than not hurts not just the person who you perceive has done you wrong, but frequently, everyone around that particular person. Best Served Cold, the superb, tension-filled thriller by Karina Dolehide, is about what happens when revenge by an ex- wife becomes all-consuming, and leads her to a scheme involving kidnapping her own son, and to murder. We’ve all felt wronged at one point or another in our lives; and have contemplated revenge, but most of us have not acted on our feelings.
What happens when we act on our impulses? Does it make things better, or worse? Does the act of revenge really also hurt the person who attempts it, as much or more than the victims of it? These are the types of themes and questions that the talented author Karina Dolehide explores in her novel, Best Served Cold. Maureen, the ex-wife of the successful businessman, Alex Sanders, felt that she deserved more from her divorce settlement than she received, despite the fact that she frequently cheated on him while they were married, and she seemed to think of her son, Shawn, as more of a burden than a blessing. To remedy this, she hatches a plan with a thug called Gerald to kidnap her son and hold him for ransom, knowing that her ex loves Shawn and believing he would pay any amount of money to get him safely back.
Alex works out of his house, and at the beginning of the novel, he is searching for someone to hire as his personal assistant. This person would help him with his business and his busy schedule, and make sure to also arrange for his schedule to allow time with his son. The person he eventually hires is Rose Watson, an attractive young woman with a troubled past. Alex is somewhat afraid that he might fall for Rose, but she seems to be the right person for the job, better than anyone else he’s interviewed, and his relative and Gal Friday, Patty, also gives him her opinion that he should hire Rose.
Rose Watson is the main character of the novel, though the author also writes parts of the novel giving us the points of view of the other main characters, like Alex and Patty. Rose is excited and believes that she’s found the job of a lifetime, though she knows that her new boss has told her that the hours would sometimes be long, and that the job involves becoming almost a member of the family, in that she’d need to spend time with Shawn and Patty and be accepted by them. There’s no problem with that, and Patty even invites Rose to rent an apartment above her house. Rose jumps at the chance, as the place is closer to Alex’s house, and Patty is such a nice lady.
The relationship and friendship that Rose establishes with Patty is one of the best parts of this highly entertaining novel. I really enjoyed reading about their friendship, and when I read that Maureen and Gerald were spying on them, as well as Alex’s house, as a part of their scheme to kidnap Shawn, I hoped that nothing bad would happen to either Rose or Patty, and that Maureen’s plans for revenge would fail. Karina Dolehide successfully created characters that readers would find very likable, and that makes the villains, Maureen and Gerald, seem even more villainous as a result.