Type: Romantic Suspense
My Copy: Sent
In death, they are purified. Holding his victims under water, he washes away their sins as they struggle for their last breath. Then he stakes their bodies to the ground, exposing them for what they really are. Witches, sent to tempt and to corrupt. No one knows about defence attorney Charlotte Wellington’s murdered sister, or about her childhood spent with the carnival that’s just arrived in town. For Charlotte, what’s past is past. But others don’t agree. And as a madman’s body count rises, she and Detective Daniel Rokov are drawn into a mission that’s become terrifyingly personal
Charlotte has come a long way since her carnival upbringing. After the death of her older sister she ran as far from that lifestyle as she could. Now it’s coming back to haunt her. Her stepfather and owner of the carnival has shown up asking for help for the only family Charlotte has left, Sooner. Sooner wants nothing more then to escape the carnival as well and though her plan on how isn’t well thought out, she makes up for it with tenacity.
The past has a way of circling back though and now a serial killer is stalking women that have ties to the occult. Little does he know that the woman he killed years ago wasn’t Charlotte but her stand in sister. Now that he knows the truth he will stop at nothing to finally get the woman that got away, and the way to her is through her family.
Daniel and his partner Sinclair know they are racing against the clock before another body turns up. As they slowly piece together the puzzle of their killer Daniel is also making strides in getting Charlotte to open up to him. In bed she is a fiery as they come and out of it she is the polar opposite. Perhaps the killer isn’t the only one with secrets.
Before She Dies is a wonderful, suspenseful read that will keep you coming back for more of the evil lurking in the dark. Mary Burton has created a nasty villain in the witch hunter/serial killer that would make even the most nonchalant woman quake in her boots.
I found that I instantly liked Charlotte and her see through tough facade. She is your typical woman that has risen from nothing to achieve what most only dream about. She has become more then the carnie and the environment she was raised in. Having to put the past behind her but still not ever truly shaking her roots. She keeps herself hidden from everyone around her. A product of the grief of losing her sister and her mother. I was rooting for her to open up to Daniel and realize that who she was may not be an integral part of her life now, but it did shape her into the strong woman she became. I did have to snort at one point when she reveals she stripped her way through law school. I thought that was so cliche and that Charlotte would have been better served to hold down 3 jobs then to do something that seemed far and gone from her character. For his part, Daniel was a incredibly devoted and talented detective who was willing to do most anything to make his city safe again. I loved the way his mind worked and the thought processes he went through to come to his conclusions about the killer.
My problem came with the connection with each other. I didn’t feel it and even though this is listed as a romantic suspense I’d say the actual romance part was lacking. Both Charlotte and Daniel were so busy with their own story lines that we didn’t get much of a combined one. As a suspense I’d say Before She Dies was spot on. As a romance, it definitely faltered.
The array of secondary characters really revved the book up for me. Daniels Russian grandmother was such a great addition. I loved her being a seer and thought she really fit in with the essance of the book. So many people claiming to have the sight and yet the only one that truly does is a unassuming Russian grandma. She was as mysterious as she was loving and for that I feel she stole the show.
Sooner was a great addition as well. She kept me guessing for a lot of the book and in the end I was surprised with the outcome with her character. She took me by surprise and a million scenarios about her went through my mind while I was reading. While I found her to be a typical teenager in many ways she was also wise beyond her years from having to grow up way to fast. The other carnies looked out for her and typical of most families, guarded their secrets with their lives. Carnival workers seen to have a hierarchy all their own, and in the head position was Charlottes stepfather, Grady. He was creepy and while I never got on board with the doubt Burton was trying to shadow him with I knew he was much more then he seemed.
The ending of Before She Dies in which the source of the killers hatred is revealed felt too much like Burton was trying to neatly tie up all the ends. Sometimes a killer is just crazy, no ulterior motive. I felt a bit let down with the entire back story and thought it seemed like Burton was just trying way to hard.
Before She Dies is a twisting and turning ride through a demented killers mind that is sure to leave you checking your windows and looking behind you as you walk. The characters will stay with you long after the last page and as a suspense, it holds its own.
I give Before She Dies by Mary Burton 3.50 stars!
Thanks to Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting I have a copy of Before She Dies available to one lucky follower! This is open to US and Canada residents only. I will leave this open until 2/17/12 at 11:59pm EST