I'm a huge Charlaine Harris fan, I love her Sookie Stackhouse, Aurora Teagarden, Harper Connelly and Lily Bard series. This was her second published book, and if you read her first, "Sweet and Deadly" then you have a pretty good idea of the tone of this book. A former model, Nickie, returns to her small, Southern town to attend college and become roommate to her long-time best friend. Everything is going well until a serial rapist strikes incredibly close, and Nickie's world is turned upside down and almost every man she knows becomes a suspect.
A big reason why I love Harris's work is her humor, she injects true comedy into very real characters. I guess she had not found that voice yet, and there isn't any levity in this story. While it's a very short book, I was not aware of how heavily rape factored into the storyline and it was hard for me to read more than a little at a time. The book is still well-written and I did get drawn into the characters and their lives, but do not start this book expecting the "usual Harris", as this book is very dry and takes it's subject very seriously.
UPDATE: I read an interview with Charlaine Harris in a mystery novel magazine, and in it she reveals she is a rape survivor. After that tragedy she wrote "A Secret Rage", and suddenly the book made complete sense to me. It's a heartbreaking fact that many of us women (and men, actually) deal with the effects of sexual abuse in our lives- if not directly then with family members or friends being victims. Writing this book helped Mrs. Harris cope, and she published the book hoping to help other survivors. She says many readers wrote in and thanked her for writing this story, so on top of her literary skills I give her big kudos for writing this dark story and I'm glad it was re-printed in this edition.
P.S. I see there are some tags such as "paranormal romance", "vampire" and even "werewolves." I can only assume some misguided soul put that there because Harris has written about those subjects, but this book is NOT a romance (paranormal or otherwise) and contains NO vampires or any other such creatures.