Dead Ringer by Mary Burton

23 Nov

deadringerbartonFavorite Lines: “Listen, you bitch,” he’d hissed by her ear. “Open your goddamn eyes.” (ARC p. 46)

Richmond homicide detective Jacob Warwick is lead investigator on a series of murdered women cases with two things in common. One, the strangled women all appear with a charm. And two, they all bear an uncanny resemblance to news anchorwoman Kendall Shaw.

Kendall is having horrific nightmares that keep her up at night. She was victimized by the Guardian serial killer, but the nightmares have nothing to do with her near death experience that introduced her to Jacob. In her dreams she is a small child being stalked by a killer.

It is time for Kendall to look into her own past for answers. Answers that will either save her life or kill her.

If you’re looking for a romantic suspense story that will grab hold of you and drag you to its end, you’ll love Dead Ringer by Mary Burton. The story jump starts with a murder, then idles with information before rushing to the end with a bang. Kendall is a woman who asks questions about everything, but her past. She learned long ago that it hurt her adoptive parents to think about her birth parents, and let any curiosity lay dormant.

Kendall’s curiosity is piqued as her nightmares increase in quantity and intensity. So when her pregnant roommate considers giving her baby up for adoption, Kendall decides to look into her own past.

Jacob is a man chased by demons. After his natural parents proved to be worthless, he was taken in by a kind man who never gave up on him. His guardian ended up being the Guardian killer, and Jacob has yet to come to terms with the person he knew being a murderer. He has a lot to prove to himself and his opportunity to do so will come sooner than he believes.

Dead Ringer is full of suspense and hints of romance. If I didn’t know this was a romance, I might have thought it was straight fiction, because the romance is very light. Ms. Burton has wrote a story that is about a killer that just so happens to have a romantic thread.

The hero and heroine didn’t just focus on one another; they searched for a killer, dealt with the past, carried on their everyday lives before deciding there could be something between them. That’s what  I like. There was no instant “love” that made the killer go into hiding or that uncomplicated their lives. Two traumatized characters found love after facing the devil not once, but twice.

But the lead characters were not my favorites in Dead Ringer. Nicole and Ayden, drew my attention. The story of a woman impregnated by her abusive husband during a rape possibly hooking up with a widower with sons, reeled me in. Add in a couple of psychos and dang that’s a great story. Weave that tale in with the story of a bunch of dead women…well, you get my point.

Dead Ringer is on sale today and you can read an excerpt of it at Ms. Burton’s website. (Nicole’s story is in the anthology Silver Bells which I’ll be reviewing soon.)

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