The Seventh Victim: Texas Rangers, Book 1

The Seventh VictimAuthor: Mary Burton
Book Name: The Seventh Victim
Series: Texas Rangers
Order: #1
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Romance
Rating:  Good

Blurb:  If At First You Don’t Succeed

It’s been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city. His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a home-sewn white dress. But there was one who miraculously escaped death, just before the Strangler disappeared. . .


Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last. Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back. And this time, he’s in Austin. . .

And Kill Again. . .

He’s always craved her, even as he killed the others. For so long he’s been waiting to unleash the beast within. And this time, he’ll prove he holds her life in his hands–right before he ends it forever. . .

Review:  I normally like Mary Burton better than this one.  The story was decent, but in many ways, I had this one pegged early on.  It twisted a bit in a way I didn’t expect, which made this better, but I still kind of new, which made this a little less interesting.

The thing that mostly bugs me about this is the romance aspect.  There is so very little of it and what is there, really just doesn’t work for me.  There isn’t any believable chemistry going on.  That and the one intimate scene we get is really not all that good, topped with a bout of unsafe sex, which is kind of ridiculous considering the bad guy used a condom when he raped his victims.  What?  Safe sex is only for preventing DNA evidence at a crime?  I’m not sure what the point was in having any kind of a romantic line to the story as it did nothing to help or support the rest of the story.  If anything, it detracted from the rest of it and brought it down.

If you are going to have a romantic bent to a story, please put some effort into making that line of your story work well.  Otherwise, just leave it out.

I’ll Never Let You Go: Morgans of Nashville, Book 3

I'll Never Let You GoAuthor: Mary Burton
Book Name: I’ll Never Let You Go
Series: Morgans of Nashville
Order: #3
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Romance
Rating:  Really Good

Blurb:  Love Hurts

He promised to kill her. One night four years ago, Leah Carson’s husband almost succeeded. Phillip stabbed her twenty-three times before fleeing. The police are sure he’s dead. But fear won’t let Leah believe it.

And Sometimes

It starts with little things. Missing keys. A flat tire. Mysterious flowers. All easily explained away if the pattern wasn’t so terrifyingly familiar. Leah has a new veterinary practice and a new life with no ties to her nightmare. But Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent Alex Morgan suspects something. And when another woman’s body is found, stabbed twenty-three times, Leah knows her past has found her.

It Kills

As Leah and Alex untangle the horrifying truth, he watches her, ready for the perfect moment. Until death–that was the vow they made. And a killer always keeps his word. . .

Review:  So many times with a mystery/suspense novel you can pick things up along the way and have a pretty good idea of where it is going to end up.  I have to say that this one surprised me.  Not sure if it was that I just didn’t pick up on the smaller bits because I was so into this one, but I didn’t expect this to go the direction it did.

I’d have to say that this is my favorite book in this series so far.  Everything just sort of all fell into place well.  Through most all of this book I kept on edge waiting for something big and creepy to jump out at me.  Loved the level of suspense in this.

I liked Leah’s character.  We actually have a character with some serious trauma in her background that does effect her present life (so not common for authors to do, they normally gloss over it and treat it as nothing other than just background story).  She definitely has issues, but they don’t emotionally cripple her to the point where she can’t move forward or function.

Alex is a bit on the bland side for me.  I like him as the TBI agent, but don’t really get much at all out of him as a romantic interest.  I was relieved to see that we don’t have an insta-love situation here.  Sure, they get together, but we aren’t talking about them living together or getting married at the end of the book.  So glad about that because I didn’t get any kind of chemistry at all between Alex and Leah.  It is also good that the romance aspect of these stories isn’t a huge part of the stories.

I just really got into this one.  If the romance bits had been better I probably would have rated this even higher.

Be Afraid: Morgans of Nashville, Book 2

Be AfraidAuthor: Mary Burton
Book Name: Be Afraid
Series: Morgans of Nashville
Order: #2
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Romance
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  The Fear Is Terrifying

When police rescue five-year-old Jenna Thompson from the dark closet where she’s been held captive for days, they tell her she’s a lucky girl. Compared to the rest of her family, it’s true. But even with their killer dead of an overdose, Jenna is still trying to find peace twenty-five years later.

But The Truth

On leave from her forensic artist job, Jenna returns to Nashville, the city where she lost so much. Instead of closure, she finds a new horror. Detective Rick Morgan needs Jenna’s expertise in identifying the skeletal remains of a young child. The case jogs hazy half-buried memories–and a nagging dread that Jenna’s ordeal hasn’t ended.

Is Even Worse

Now other women are dying. And as the links between these brutal killings and Jenna’s past becomes clear, she knows this time, a madman will leave no survivors. . .

Review:  I think that this was even better than book one, mostly because the crime is actually solved with smarts and police work, which is so refreshing.

While we did get to see the characters from book one, they were very minor and we didn’t have to suffer through pages and pages rehashing everything that happened in the first book.  Either the author expects readers to have already read that book and know what happened in it so there is no need or that even if you haven’t read that first book, you still don’t need the rehash as it really has no impact on this story other than maybe having a slightly better understanding of those only briefly mentioned characters.  Either way, I liked it as that isn’t something you see too often.  As readers, we really don’t always need tons of backstory or reminders of other books, especially when those books are pretty much independent plot wise from each other.

As an artist, I’m in awe of what other artists do and talents they have that don’t happen to be one of mine, so getting a character in a book that has this amazing ability is going to be seriously interesting to me.  I really got into Jenna’s character because of that.  Rick’s character is interesting, but his personality kind of gets lots in this outside of his injury.  I absolutely loved Tracker and would have liked to see even more of him.  Seriously, who doesn’t love a hero dog that loses part of one of his legs in the line of duty and still gets out there to keep being that hero dog?

Like book one, the romance aspect of the story is on the light side and isn’t the total focus.  I wasn’t too convinced of the connection there, though.  It is one way to approach the lesser important aspect of the story by minimizing the amount of page time it gets, but for me there just wasn’t enough time spent to make me believe the next step in the relationship between Rick and Jenna at the end of the book is for her to actually move in with him.  They had one intimate moment before everything goes crazy and almost no time spent doing any personal type of conversation that wasn’t related to the case.  The way it was written came across as kind of an afterthought of “Oh, there is supposed to be a romance part to this, better toss one in”.

Because the romance thread of the story is minor, the fact that it is lacking for me doesn’t do a whole lot to bring down the rest of what is a good story.

Cover Your Eyes: Mary Burton

Cover Your EyesAuthor: Mary Burton
Book Name: Cover Your Eyes
Series: Morgans of Nashville
Order: #1
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Romance
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  Don’t Look

At first, they struggle to escape. Then a torrent of blows rains down upon their bodies until their eyes cloud over in final agony. The killer shows no remorse–just a twisted need to witness each victim’s last terrified moments.

Don’t Speak

Public defender Rachel Wainwright is struggling to reopen a decades-old case, convinced that the wrong man is in prison. Homicide detective Deke Morgan doesn’t want to agree. But if Rachel’s hunch is correct, whoever fatally bludgeoned young, beautiful Annie Dawson thirty years ago could be the source of a new string of brutal slayings.

Just Prepare To Die

Rachel’s investigation is about to reveal answers–but at a price she never thought to pay. Now she’s become the target of a rage honed by years of jealousy and madness. And a murderer is ready to show her just how vicious the truth can be. . .

Review:  This was a seriously intense read with lots of twisty and unexpected turns that left me constantly trying to guess where it was going to go next.  There were lots of different characters and it got confusing a couple of times, but there really weren’t any that didn’t end up being important in one way or another to the story.

Both Rachel and Deke were very well written characters.  Both having their own issues, neither being perfect, but they were both solid in the characters that were created for them.  While the romance between the two was far from the focus, it was given just the right amount of attention without taking shortcuts and giving it the quick, perfect, hearts and flowers ending in the last couple of pages.  It deals with their interest in each other and their willingness to explore that, but doesn’t force the idea that it was a romance story perfect relationship.  It showed the potential for a great relationship that was different and special, but it was also very real.

In the end, we do get a lot of the bad guy giving it all up kind of a situation, but not every last crumb of the mystery was resolved in those moments.  Some came earlier from good old fashioned observation and smarts, some came in the big reveal and some was shown to be discovered by connecting some of those loose strings after the fact, so it makes the revelation scenario a bit more believable.

Just really enjoyed this one all around.