I find I'm a bit at a loss for words as to what to say about this book...
Series Note: 13th, and likely final, book in the "Griffin PowelRating: 2.5 / 5
I find I'm a bit at a loss for words as to what to say about this book...
Series Note: 13th, and likely final, book in the "Griffin Powell" series of related books. Do you need to read the others? I honestly don't know. There's a large amount of backstory, including the fact that the H/H get together in another book. But the story may be independent enough to read...but I just can't really say.
Summary: Many years ago, Griffin Powell and his two best friends, Damar Sanders and Yvette Meng, were held captive by a sadistic billionaire. They were tortured, hunted, and mistreated in the worst of ways. But they escaped and killed their captor. But now someone has "resurrected" evil Malcom York with the sole purpose of bringing Griffin Powell to his knees.
To accomplish this, he kidnaps Griffin's beloved wife, Nicole and sets in motion of a chain of events that will have Griffin doubting everything and fearing that he will never see his wife again. He will not rest until he finds the man masquerading as York. Until he kills him again and brings Nicole home where she belongs.
Review: I find myself a bit speechless over what to say about this book (which obviously passes as I see how long this review is ;). That's a rarity, as anyone who has read my reviews knows. But wow, this book just...disturbed...me. Really and truly disturbed me.
I've read some creepy, disturbing books before (Karen Rose can creep me out like no other). But even at her most diabolical (Die For Me (book #7)), I was never as disturbed as this book made me. This book crossed a line into the realm of super dark and disturbing that just did not appeal to me.
I have to admit first, though, that I did a lot of skim reading in this book. Why? For several reasons.
* as discussed in my review for Dead By Morning, I've not been the biggest fan of Barton's recent books because of the shift away from romance in her books to more straight up suspense. I only decided to read these last two books because I wanted to know the last of Griffin Powell's story, which has been built up for a large majority of the series. So it was hard to muster up enthusiasm to read a book that I knew beforehand wouldn't quite meet my expectations. Really, all I wanted to know was what the rest of Griff's story was and how it all worked out. So I read enough to get the point of things and skimmed through other stuff.
* due to the author's unexpected and unfortunate passing last year, before this book was even published, this series will never be completed (I assume). We readers were fortunate enough that Ms. Barton had already finished this book and we were able to read it (even if I didn't enjoy it, exactly). But we are also left with the knowledge that there were stories left to be told that won't be. From reading the previous book, and this book, Barton had appeared to set up stories for Luke and Meredith, and Yvette and Rafe (maybe those pairings, maybe not). I found myself not wanting to get to invested in those characters or story set ups because I knew those stories would never come. So I sort of superficially skimmed through stuff with those characters.
* this book is unbelievably dark. I've read a lot of romantic suspense books that involve dark stories, books about serial killers that tell gruesome, creepy tales. But there is a separateness to those books. They usually involve some psycho killer the main characters are hunting down, who butchers random people you have no attachment to. Which is the key. They're just characters and though you're creeped out, you're not particularly invested in their deaths. That's not the case in this book. Everything revolves the main characters. And there is a whole lot of violence and death and disturbing graphic scenes involving them. It was too much for me. Having to read about the heroine being forced to kill an innocent person or the hero being only feet away from saving someone when they are murdered...I don't know, but the way this story was told went past a line into an area that I did not find "enjoyable." The amount of death and violence thoroughly disturbed me. I couldn't take some of the scenes and so I skimmed.
Was it fair to skim read at times during the book? Probably not. But it's what I did to make it through it. Some parts I read more thoroughly than others, but overall I got enough to take in the story being told. And, as my comments so far have implied, I didn't particularly enjoy the book.
Aside from what I've said so far, there were some other plot things I didn't particularly care for.
The basic plot revolves around the fact that someone is impersonating evil Malcolm York, the man who kidnapped Griff, held him hostage for years and tortured him in a myriad of ways. That man kidnaps Nic, Griff's wife. The rest of the story is then basically Nic being put through almost exactly what Griff did. And because you know a fair amount of what Griff went through, you feel like you're just reading a redux of Griff's experience, except in a more first person perspective. It just felt a bit repetitive in a certain way.
It doesn't help that the book doesn't really give you anything else new. There's no new romantic pairing for you to focus on. The romance revolves around Nic and Griff, who are already married (we read their story in The Murder Game). So you're not getting anything new there. And you get some Derek and Maleah (Dead By Morning) and some of Sanders and BJ (who are left hanging at the end of this book) but you don't get anything new. Maybe some set up for potential romances in future books (which, as mentioned, will not come). I would have liked a new romance for this book. Something just new and different instead of a sole romantic focus on two characters (Griff and Nic) who spend virtually no time together in this book.
Then there's the fact that there's a lot of dead air in this book. Times when you read Griff thinking the same things over and over, where you just keep getting the same introspective thoughts and actions. They're things you already know and understand so it seems pointless to keep reading scenes that give you the same thing.
I can see why some readers enjoyed this book. It's tense, detailed, different from what's out there. But for me, I just couldn't get into it for all the reasons I mentioned above. I'm glad to know the rest of Griffin Powell's story, but wish it could have happened a different way. I'd been straying from Barton's stories but I wanted to know the rest of Griff's tale. I hadn't planned on reading anymore of this series after this book but yet I still find myself sad that books for the other characters won't get to be written. That might make no sense, but it is what it is.
If you read this book, be prepared for the disturbing violence. Most of the readers of this series will probably want to read this book to get the wrap up on Griff, it's what I wanted, but it's not a book I'd recommend jumping into the series on.
And now I feel the need to read something much lighter with lots of romance and gratuitous sex in it...
R.I.P. Beverly Barton. I read a lot of you're books and even though your recent ones weren't quite to my liking, I have a lot of respect for you work and your ability as a writer. You'll be missed....more
Yeah...hard to decide what to say about this book...
Series Note: Second book in the "Dead By" trilogy and 12th book involving the character of GriffinYeah...hard to decide what to say about this book...
Series Note: Second book in the "Dead By" trilogy and 12th book involving the character of Griffin Powell. These books are romantic suspense usually involving a serial killer and Powell's security/investigative agency. There's a whole lot of back story to these books and there are probably others you should read first.
Summary: There is a killer who is hunting down killing agents of the Powell Agency and members of their families. Griffin Powell is convinced the killer an evil, sadistic bastard from his past, but he doesn't see how that can be possible since the man is dead. He sets two of his best agents, Derek Lawrence and Maleah Purdue to investigate every lead possible.
As Maleah and Derek try to figure out who is killing those connected with the Powell Agency, more and more people die. They have to unwind a twisted puzzle of leads and misleads before someone else loses their life. In the process, secrets are revealed that could destroy lives and Maleah and Derek realize they can turn to each other during these tough times.
Review: I debated quite a bit with myself over whether I wanted to write a review for this book. It seems almost disrespectful to write a critical review of a book whose author passed away not long after it was published. But I don't write my reviews to be malicious. I just give my honest opinion.
I've read a lot of Beverly Barton's books and she used to be a romantic suspense author that I eagerly awaited each new book. But then her books began to change, involving less and less romance and more straight-up suspense. What romance there was came off underdeveloped and forced. For me, that didn't work. I'm a fan of romantic suspense. I don't mind if the suspense part is the more dominant aspect but I still want a solid romance to go with it. And Barton's book started to miss on that point. It was very disappointing from an author who used to tell such great romantic suspense stories.
Honestly, I wouldn't have read this book (and wouldn't read the one that follows this one) if it were for the fact that I've read a number of the Griffin Powell books and really want to know the rest of Griff's story. That's really the only reason I bought this one. I would have passed otherwise because Barton's type of romantic suspense just didn't work for me anymore.
And even after I bought it I still held off on reading it because I heard there was a huge cliffhanger at the end and I wanted to have the next book first so I wouldn't have to read a cliffhanger and then wait for the next book. Of course, Ms. Barton passed away after this book came out and fans were left wondering if the next book would come. Thankfully, she had already finished the next book, the final one in the "Dead By" trilogy, Dead By Nightfall, which supposedly wraps-up the Griffin Powell mystery. So I bought that one, too, so I could read them back to back. And yet I left them sitting on my shelf because I couldn't muster up much enthusiasm to read them. I finally made myself get to them, though.
I can't say, after finishing this book, that my feelings changed on the way Barton had shifted the writing of her "romantic suspense" books. "Dead By Morning" came off pretty much as I expected it would. The suspense plot completely dominated and the "romance" came off more as a sidenote that was plopped in so the book could still be called a romantic suspense.
Since the suspense plot was the dominating part of the story, I'll start with that. It was an okay plot. A bit low key in some ways. Very procedural with interviews and traveling around, etc etc. I wouldn't have minded some more action to keep my attention focused.
One thing I didn't like about the suspense plot was that it made me think to much of "Silence of the Lambs," specifically the part about Clarice interviewing Hannibal Lecter and him requiring her to tell him personal details in order for him to help her on the case. You get a repeat of that in this book. It just struck me as rather unoriginal.
I also didn't like another detail, and it's something that's bothered me for a number of Barton's recent books now. And that's how she gives you character POV's for people who are soon to be off'ed. And not just little tidbits, but whole scenes of characters living happy lives, letting you get to know them, like them, and then they get butchered. I just have not liked that aspect of her recent books and I really didn't like it in this one. It's almost a bit cruel. There was one in particular in this book that I was very bothered by. It just really drops down my enjoyment of the story.
Then there's the fact that if you haven't read some of the other Griffin Powell books, especially the one about Griff and Nic, The Murder Game, you'll probably end up a bit confused about all the references to Griff's past. There's just a lot of backstory going on there. It wasn't an issue for me since I've read those books but I can see how others would end up confused.
In the end, the suspense plot is pretty average. I've read ones a lot better, and I've read ones a lot worse. It's a twisted story and when you finish, you don't have a lot of answers because the book basically continues right into the next one with a cliffhanger ending. Which makes me glad I have it waiting for me to read.
As for the romance...I'm tempted to say, what romance? But I can't because there is enough of one to say there is a romance, but for me, it was a rather flat and lackluster one. Maleah isn't entirely likable. She's very judgmental toward's Derek, getting offended by the smallest niceties, like opening a door for her. She's antagonistic toward him for a good chunk of the book. And when things shift between them, it comes off as weird and forced. I just didn't not feel the connection. When they jump to the next level near the end, things go at mach speed and I was left shaking my head, not believing the supposed romance between them. This part of the book could have been so much better and it's disappointing because Barton has written great romances in her books in the past.
On a technical note, I was also distracted at times by the over attention to detail. You'd get a whole paragraph over something as simple as opening a door or some other mundane task. It was irritating because it was overkill and unnecessary.
Yeah, not a very positive review, I admit. It was a book that didn't really do it for me. But I still feel bad for being critical when the author has passed away.
I can definitely tell you that if you read this one, you'll want to have the next book standing by because of the lack of answers you get in this one. And yet...I can't say I'm all that thrilled to read the next book. I know what I'm likely to get from it and know that I won't find it satisfying. I'm only going to read it to get those last answers about the mystery of Griffin Powell. I'm also wary of reading it because I know there are lead-ins and focus on supporting characters that Barton had planned to write books for and it'll be disappointing to know that those characters won't get their story told because of Ms. Barton's death. But I'll read it anyway to get the last of Griffin Powell's story.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars for the suspense 1 / 5 star for the romance
2.5 / 5 stars overall
It's hard to decide what to say about this book...in one aspect itRating: 4 / 5 stars for the suspense 1 / 5 star for the romance
2.5 / 5 stars overall
It's hard to decide what to say about this book...in one aspect it was well above average, but in another, it was well below average. And unfortunately for me, that below average aspect dominates my opinion.
Series Note: This book is the first in a set of books about this groups of characters. Barton states at the end of this one that the sequel will be out in 2012.
Summary: When a woman is found murdered, posed in a rocking chair and holding the skeleton of a long dead infant, Chattanooga, TN is set on edge. The crime makes cops and citizens think of the long ago Baby Blue kidnappings which left several toddlers missing and presumed dead. Then another woman is found dead the same way, and then another. Special Agent JD Cass is positive that the Rocking Chair Murders are somehow directly connected to the Baby Blue Kidnappings...but how? There are few clues and many possible suspects.
And in the process of dealing with the case, JD meets grief counselor Audrey Sherrod, whose little half-brother was one of the believed victims of the Baby Blue Kidnapper. The two run at cross purposes, but underneath, there's a strong attraction. First, though, there are a lot of secrets to be revealed and a killer to find before the two can explore their feelings.
Review: This book was a total disappointment to me, and maybe marks the end of Beverly Barton being one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. Barton seems to be another one of those RS authors who is moving more and more toward straight-up suspense with less and less romance. And for a romance reader like me, that's just not what I want to read. The romance in this book hardly qualified as a romance.
If you want to go for straight up romance-related facts...the book is 468 pages long. Halfway through the book, Audrey is dating someone else, and JD has a has a goodbye screw with his fuck buddy then promptly goes out with another woman. Totally not romantic. JD and Audrey don't even kiss for the first time until page 358. I mean, seriously? 358 pages in until the h/h KISS for the first time??? I understand the need sometimes to go slow with a romance, or in a romantic suspense to focus more on the suspense, but that's just way too long to make readers wait. Then they don't kiss again until page 437, after which they promptly fall into bed and readers get a few short paragraphs of nondescript sex...and then nothing but an pseudo-HEA ending.
And aside from that JD and Audrey were kinda ill-fitting. Audrey spends most of the book being judgmental and sanctimonious toward JD, constantly comparing him to her jerk father and just being rude to him. The two are constantly at odds and I didn't feel the romance between them hardly at all. Even at the end I felt like their HEA was more of an HFN. These two just seem too different. Barton states that there will be more of JD and Audrey in a sequel, but that it's not due out until 2012. Yeah, really...who wants to wait 2 years to get the continuation of characters stories in a romance type book like this?
All in all, the romance aspect sucked big time. I love romantic suspense book. They're my favorite genre and I don't mind if the suspense is the more dominant aspect of the book. But I still want a solid romance that's weaved throughout the book. This one didn't deliver that. The romance felt like a sidenote tossed in to appease readers. It was flat, boring, undeveloped, and so utterly slow in developing it nearly put me to sleep. That's very disappointing for an author who has written some really good romantic suspenses and romances.
On a positive note, the suspense in the book was above average. I don't want to say it was excellent because I wouldn't say it's one of the best I've ever read. It was just rather good. It kept me reading, was well-crafted and intricate. All pluses on for a suspense plot.
There are actually two intertwined storylines. One being the Rocking Chair Murders and the second being the resurrection of the Baby Blue Kidnappings in connection to the first case. Each is a separate story, but they become heavily intertwined. Barton did a great job weaving the story together. I did guess fairly early, though, how everything would turn out. It was a little obvious to me. One of those deals where the author tries maybe a little too hard to push readers in one direction that you know the bad guy can't be that person(s) so you figure out it's the one hiding in the background. So there weren't really any surprises in that sense at the end, at least for me. But it was still a good suspense plot. I enjoyed that part of the story.
If you're trying to decide whether to read this book...well, if you're a past Barton fan who hasn't liked that the romance has been getting less and less in her books, then don't try this one. Basically, if romance is you're focus in what you want out of a book, then this won't give it to you. But if you're a plain old suspense fan that doesn't mind a hint of romance, then you may like this one. Hard to say.
As for me, I was disappointed. Barton's always been able to deliver romantic suspenses that are a good mix of romance and suspense. That recipe was seriously lopsided in this book, and the new mix wasn't quite to my taste. I hope this is just an aberration for Barton and not a signal that she's moving toward straight up suspense. I don't know if I'll read the sequel when it comes out an eon from now. I'll probably wait and read some reviews first....more
I'm a little bit torn on this book. I thought it was a really good suspense story. Really kept me reading. But on the romance/romantic suspense front,I'm a little bit torn on this book. I thought it was a really good suspense story. Really kept me reading. But on the romance/romantic suspense front, it wasn't quite what I wanted. There were some things that bugged me and kept it from being a 5-star book.
Series Note: Hard to say whether this could be read as a standalone. There's a lot of backstory, a lot of continuing characters, a lot of running storylines and all that. It depends on what type of reader you are if you'd be able to read this as a standalone.
Summary: As high school sweethearts, Mike Birkett and Lorie Hammonds planned to get married and live happily ever after. But Lorie wanted more than staying in small Dunmore, Alabama her whole life. When Mike wouldn't leave with her, she went to Hollywood by herself and broke Mike's heart. Lorie tries to make it as an actress but ends up a Playboy centerfold, and later a porn actress. She returns to Dunmore ashamed and disgraced, and thoroughly shunned by the man she'd loved and lost.
Mike's never been able to forgive Lorie for what she did or get over her being in one porn film. Then Lorie starts receiving death threats, which are connected to several murders. It turns out that Lorie's past is coming back to bite her, big time. And Mike can't just stand around watching. He'll do anything to protect Lorie, and maybe finally find a way to forgive her.
Review: Great suspense plot in this book. It was interesting, different, and really kept me reading to find out what would happen next. Barton did an excellent job keeping me guessing on the bad guys identity. I kept going back and forth between several characters over who it might be and it wasn't until a little before the big reveal that I leaned strongly in one direction. I loved that Barton kept me thinking and wondering and trying to figure it out. It made the suspense part so much more powerful. Plus, the storyline itself was just rather interesting.
That was the best pat of the book, for me (the suspense plot). I did like the characters. You have to admire a girl like Lorie who monumentally screwed up her life but has managed to keep her head held high and make something out of herself. I liked that about her. And I liked that she was smart about the whole killer after her thing. I don't think she even once ventured into TSTL-land. Kudos for that.
And Mike was a good guy, too. If a little dense. On one hand I could see where he was coming from about Lorie. She broke his heart and then did something that was understandably hard for him to get over. He was rather mean to her, though.
The romance between them was so-so. Mostly just because it takes so freakin' long to get anywhere between them in the book. They spent about 3/4ths of the book dancing around each other and then finally hook up. They had great chemistry but I just thought the progression between them was too slow. And the resolution of their relationship was too abrupt (especially that part at the end). I felt like the two needed to sit down and have a serious talk, especially regarding the choices Lorie had made and why. But then never really seriously talked to each other. So the romance overall was just okay.
Two things that bugged me about the book...First, there are a boatload of characters in this book. And a ton who get POV scenes. Lorie, Mike, Maleah, Derek, Griff, Nik, Barbara Jean, the killer, another guy, 3 or 4 victims, a nurse, a couple suspects...it was a revolving door of POV scenes. The book is constantly jumping around from this character to that character to another character. It gave the book a bit of lack of focus. Whereas I wanted to read about Lorie and Mike and that specific suspense plot, you get a lot of other stuff getting in the way. To a certain point the variety is good, enhances the story, but this book had a little too much and it was a little distracting.
And I also hated how much focus was given to the victims before they died. There were all these scenes focusing on the characters, some on how good they were doing, how they'd put there lives back together and were finally , happy. Other scenes about how they were just getting back on there feet and all that. Just scenes that really attach you to these characters....then BANG BANG. Bye bye. Dead characters. And it bugs me. Why get readers (especially in a genre like romantic suspense) attached to a character then snuff them out? And it happens repeatedly in this book. Drove me nuts. Romance/romantic suspense readers don't really want to read about characters they are familiar with getting snuffed.
So those two things bugged me. I'm also mildly annoyed over the storylines left open...someone is killing people connected to the Powell Agency (3 deaths in this book), Maleah and Derek, Griff's secrets. Having those left open left a little dissatisfaction after finishing the book. Especially considering it will 1 year till Maleah and Derek's story, and 2 years until we will supposedly learn the rest of Griff's secrets.
I did like this book, though. It could have been a 5-star read if the romance had been more prominent and there hadn't been so much character jumping. I did enjoy the suspense plot a lot, though. Really kept me reading. I think most Barton fans will like this book and suspense readers may enjoy it. But some of you who are more hardcore romance might not enjoy it that much....more
This was a pretty good book. It's closer to a Karen Rose type of romantic suspense than say a Nora Roberts romantic suspense. I enjoyed the charactersThis was a pretty good book. It's closer to a Karen Rose type of romantic suspense than say a Nora Roberts romantic suspense. I enjoyed the characters a lot, and the storyline was fairly good. With a few tweaks, I would have probably loved this book.
Series Note: this book is part of the Powell Agency/Griffin Powell universe. There are sections of this book that relate directly to past storylines and if you haven't read those, you're going to be confused.
Eighteen months ago, Cathy Cantrell's preacher husband went to answer the doorbell and died because of it when gasoline was thrown on him and he was set on fire. Cathy watched her husband burn to death. After six months of trying to hold it together, she suffers a nervous breakdown when another religious figure is murdered. A year after that she is finally returning home to restart her life. But she's not the same person she once was.
Jackson Perdue has just returned to his hometown after a devastating war injury. He's taken a job with the sheriff's department and is given the task of looking into cold cases - which includes Mark Cantrell and another man's death. Jack planned to stay away from Cathy; they'd had a youthful romance nearly 17 years ago that broke both their hearts. But the chemistry is still there and the two can't stay away from each other. Then another religious man is killed and Cathy must find the strength to keep herself together. And Jack must help figure out who is murdered men who seemed above reproach.
My favorite thing about this book were the two lead characters, Cathy and Jack. I thought Cathy was a fantastic heroine. She'd been a bit meek and subservient for most of her life, but the tragedy she went through helped her find her true self. It was great to read about her taking charge of her life and not letting people walk all over her anymore. She made a great heroine. And I enjoyed Jack as well. He's a little bit dark and broody in some ways, but mostly just a nice guy.
The romance between them was great. There was instant chemistry between them the moment they saw each other again for the first time in seventeen years. And even though both told themselves they couldn't go back, they just couldn't stay apart. Their romance had a nice sweet edge to it.
So those two things were my favorite part of the book. There were a couple things I didn't quite like, or like as much. One was that there were a freakin' ton of characters in this book. Normally that doesn't bother me too much in other books, but in this one, the author gave POV sections to more than a few characters...the hero, the heroine, the heroine's son, the antagonist, potential victims, supporting characters (Maleah, Nic, Griffin, etc). The POV's kept jumping around and it got annoying. Plus it also took away time from the H/H.
There were also some POV scenes that I just thought were unnecessary or ill-fitting. For one thing, the POV scenes with Nic and Griff (an H/H from previous books) seemed completely extraneous to the story. I understand that the author was trying to convey that all is not well with them and that more of Griffin's secret past is coming to haunt him, but those part of this book just did not fit. At least in my opinion. I mean, you're reading the book...about the H/H and the plot then suddenly you jump to a different setting and different characters and read randomly about Nic being upset with Griffin. It was so out of place because that issue had nothing at all to do with this specific book. It was kind of obvious the author just plopped it in to further the Nic/Griffin storyline and set up upcoming turmoil. Which I get the need to do, but there had to be a better way to fit it in.
Also - and I've had this issue with Barton before - I hate it that she gives POV's for a secondary characters, letting us know all about them, how good they are, how much they've overcome, etc...and then they get whacked. It's such a total downer to think 'oh, what a nice guy!...damn, now he's dead'. What's the need for doing that?
Aside from that, the plot was fairly good. Might not have been the most original I've read. It's a theme I've read more than once before. I thought the suspense aspect could have been a bit stronger if the police procedural part was stronger (Karen Rose's books are much better in this aspect). Considering the hero was a cop, I didn't think the police aspect was played up enough.
I can't really comment on the whodunnit part because I cheated and peeked at the end of the book to see who it was. So sue me ;) I wanted to know. Even so, I did think that at a certain part of the book it because obvious who the antagonist was. I did wish Barton had included a scene at the end where the antagonist reveals to his/her hostages why each person was killed. I don't think Cathy ever got to know why Mark was murdered.
Anyway, this was still a good book even though some things bugged me. They mostly just kept the book from being really great but didn't make me dislike it in any way. It was still a pretty engaging read and I definitely look forward to the next book from Barton which will continue some storyline's from this book (Maleah, Jack's sister; Lorie, Cathy's best friend; and Nic and Griffin)....more
There were good points to this book, and bad points. I didn't exactly like it all that much, but I didn't really dislike. Mostly, I just thought it coThere were good points to this book, and bad points. I didn't exactly like it all that much, but I didn't really dislike. Mostly, I just thought it could have been written better.
Plot-wise, it was a good book. I enjoyed the storyline and the main characters; a fairly typical good vs evil / serial killer story. Barton did an excellent job of keeping you guessing about the bad guy. She gives you a number of suspects and I could never quite figure out which on it was because none were overly obvious. It kept you into the book and kept you wondering. The main secondary characters of Jazzy and Jacob were good too. I enjoyed the friendship between Jazzy, Jacob, and Genny.
The down side of this book was that - in my opinion - Barton spent too much time on the other numerous characters, at a sacrifice to Dallas and Genny. There were just so many characters she dumped into the book, some entirely inconsequential, and some as potential bad guys. Some were necessary, but Barton still spent too many pages on them. Because of that, I didn't feel like Dallas and Genny got enough attention. There wasn't much discovery time with them. It was like there entire romance was built on an intangible connection that both felt. I wanted more quality getting-to-know-you moments with them. All the asides just made the book a bit scattered and my attention kept wandering.
So all in all, The Fifth Victim is an okay read, something you wouldn't mind taking out from the library, but not something to rush right out and get. There are 2 connected books, but as yet, I haven't decided if I'm going to read them....more
The last book in Beverly Barton's popular "Protectors" series...which is rather sad. I haven't read all the books, yet, but I've enjoyed the ones thatThe last book in Beverly Barton's popular "Protectors" series...which is rather sad. I haven't read all the books, yet, but I've enjoyed the ones that I have read, especially the longer ones. This one included.
Anyway, Dying For Youfeatures not only the oft-requested couple Lucie and Sawyer, but also wraps up storylines for Cara and Bain, and Daisy and Geoff. Though you might be able to read this book as a stand-alone and not have many problems, it reads almost as a sequel to the last "Protectors" book A Time To Die - it's got many of the same characters and situations - and it also has obvious connections to other past books in the series.
The book starts off with Lucie finally getting fed up with Sawyer's treatment of her at Dundee's because of their past together. So she leaves and takes a job as Cara Bedell's personal bodyguard. On a trip out of town, Lucie is kidnapped because her abductors believe she is Cara. When he finds out, Sawyer comes riding to the rescue. It's soon learned that it may not be just a kidnap for ransom, but that someone wants Cara dead. And while all this is going on, Cara is trying to convince Bain they can make a relationship work despite her being filthy rich, and Daisy decides to go after her man, Geoff. Lucie and Sawyer must also dredge up the past and finally put their issues behind them...all the while trying to find out who wants Cara dead.
I liked Dying For You a lot, but I don't think I could say I 5-star loved it. It wasn't quite there for me, but it was still a solid 4-stars, maybe 4.5. I'd probably go with 4.5 if one thing at the end hadn't really annoyed me.
This is a very busy book, though. There are three romantic couples...and though Lucie and Sawyer are supposed to be the main one, Cara and Bain get a lot of face-time as well. Which I didn't mind too much since I grew to really like them in the last book. Daisy and Geoff have their scenes as well, but they're more in the background. I enjoyed all the relationships in the book, though. The characters were all great, lots of torturous emotional angst...and the requisite HEA's. I will say that maybe Lucie and Sawyer could have gotten a little more focus. After the build up they had, readers really wanted their story, and for them to have to share space with not one, but two other couples is just a smidge disappointing. But I don't think it ruined the story or anything. Their relationship just wasn't as full-bodied as it perhaps could have been.
As for the plot of the book...I had no problems with it, though it was a bit predictable. I had a good idea who the bad guy(s) were going to be. Still, it was an interesting story and because of it's close ties to story situation in the last book, everything is familiar and comfortable. I thought the ending (the plot wrap-up) could have been more solid. The bad guy is arrested, then there's like two more chapters to tie up the relationships, but no mention of what happened with the case. So you're left wondering what happened there (convictions, jail, etc). And I was ENDLESSLY annoyed by the fact that Barton neglected to resolve the fate of a certain character...who was seriously injured near the end. The last word was that the person was in serious condition and that if they survived the next 48 hours they should survive...and then there's nothing else. It's never mentioned what happened to the character. And it annoyed the hell out of me. I really hate it when authors seem to forget to wrap-up an issue.
That was my only major annoyance. Otherwise, I enjoyed Dying For You. Good romance, great characters, interesting storyline...an all around solid read. But I'm kinda sad that this is the last "Protectors" book. At least there will be more of Barton's Griffin Powell-related books....more
I don't think I've yet read a book by Beverly Barton that I didn't like. This one was no exception. I enjoyed Cold Hearted from the beginning to the eI don't think I've yet read a book by Beverly Barton that I didn't like. This one was no exception. I enjoyed Cold Hearted from the beginning to the end.
Though it's not considered an official series, this book is part of the Griffin Powell/Powell Agency universe - as are all of Barton's non-Protector's, full-length novels. Most of them (with the exception of the Game books) can be read as stand-alones, this one included.
Cold Hearted features Powell Agent Rick Carson, who had brief mentions/appearances in one or two other books. Rick has been assigned to investigate the death of Senator Dan Price. The police believe it was a suicide, but Price's family thinks he was murdered and as the Powell Agency to investigate. Heading up the top of the list of suspects is Price's widow, Jordan. From the start, Rick is torn between two emotions over the beautiful young widow - his relentless attraction, and his unrelenting suspicion. Because this isn't the first time Jordan has been widowed. Her first husband died in a hunting accident, and her fiance before that in a car accident. For Rick, there's no such thing as coincidence in a case like this. So he can't help but wonder if he's falling for a cold hearted murderer.
Barton did an excellent weaving this rather sordid tale. The scenes with the bad guys thought had me suspecting just about everyone because though the scenes give lots of clues, you never really know until the end who has been killing people left and right. It really keeps you head into the story trying to figure out who did what and why.
The romance angle, for me, was about the only place the book lacked a bit. Really, until page like 320 or so (out of about 400 pages) the H/H share only one kiss. Which in a way is understandable because Jordan is completely closed off emotionally, and Rick honestly thinks she's could be a black widow murderer. Still, it's disappointing to have so little actual romance in the book. So I wouldn't have minded a bit of a boost in that area. But I did like Rick and Jordan mostly even if it was a little hard to get a feel for them as a couple because for most of the book their relationship is so contentious and rife with suspicion.
I also enjoyed the "cameos" with Nic and Griffin. They are one of my favorite Barton couples and she gives up a couple nice scenes with them in the book. And I'm curious about the storyline Barton appears to be building up with recurring character Yvette Meng. Sounds like it will be an interesting one.
So for you Barton fans, or general fans of romantic suspense novels, I'd definitely recommend this one. It was and enjoyable book to read, even if a little low on romance. I look forward to more books from Barton in the Powell "universe."...more
Another good book from Barton. Not utterly fantastic five-star worthy, but a solid 4-star. Which is typical of her books for me. I usually enjoy themAnother good book from Barton. Not utterly fantastic five-star worthy, but a solid 4-star. Which is typical of her books for me. I usually enjoy them quite a bit, but they tend to be lacking...something...to give them that extra kick to make them really great.
To read this book, you really have to have read Barton's previous book, The Dying Game. You'll end up a bit lost if you don't. The plots are fairly heavily intertwined. Which relates to one of the minor problems I had with the book.
Despite the fact that timeline wise there is a year's space between the two books (plots), the beginning of The Murder Game has this feel as if I'd just turned the page from one book to the next. Barton jumps right into the new book full force. I ended up feeling a little disconnected from the storyline, but more so the characters. I read The Dying Game months and months ago so the details had faded quite a bit. Then this book throws you right into the plot and characters and I found myself stopping and trying to refresh my memory on the last book. A slower start to the book would have been better, in my opinion, with more introduction to the characters.
I think because of what I mentioned above, it wasn't until about 150-200 pages into the book that I really started to feel the Griffin/Nicole relationship and connect with the main characters. For a little while in the beginning, Nic annoyed me quite a bit with her attitude, but once I got into the book more, I liked her. And once the romantic angle picked up, I enjoyed it. Griff and Nic make an interesting couple.
Plot-wise...no complaints. I don't think the plot is quite as intense as the previous book, but it was still good. And creepy. The chase scenes were well done really engaging. One thing I didn't quite like, though, was how much Barton personalized the soon-to-be victims. There was one woman who Barton played up as a loving wife and mother, made us like her...then snuffed her out. And it was rather depressing. I just didn't think it was necessary to personalize them as much as Barton did. But that's a personal preference.
The most disappointing aspect of the book for me was how Barton dealt with Griffin's mysterious past and his "missing" ten years. I wanted more. She gives the basic details of where he was and what happened, and then a deeper detail here and there in short flashbacks, but it wasn't enough for me. I finished the book, and was like 'that's all I get?' His missing past has been this big thing, and I just expected a deeper explanation, more details. They didn't come. So I was disappointed in that aspect.
Overall, though, a good read. I wasn't bored at any point and I wanted to keep reading even when I was tired. If a couple of things had been done differently, it would have been a great book for me. ...more
A Time To Die is a great romantic suspense book. I'd give it a solid 4 stars, probably 4.5 if I could. But it's not quite a 5.
The story starts off witA Time To Die is a great romantic suspense book. I'd give it a solid 4 stars, probably 4.5 if I could. But it's not quite a 5.
The story starts off with young reporter Lexie in the African country of Gadi where a brutal tyrant is about to be inaugurated president. While she's reporting, an assassination team kills the president and in the crossfire, Lexie is seriously wounded, nearly paralyzed for life. She's saved by one of the soldiers, Deke...who just might also be the same man who accidentally shot her.
Ten years later, she's recovered as much as she ever will. But she's never forgotten the gray-eyed soldier who risked everything to save her. Deke, however, has never gotten over the guilt. He secretly kept track of her for 5 years, but stopped when she was better. Now he's an investigator/bodyguard for the Dundee agency...and is shocked when his new assignment makes him the bodyguard of Lexie, who has been receiving terrorizing death threats. There's instant chemistry between the two, but Deke can't get over what he did to her. And once Lexie finds out the truth, she doesn't know what to think or to do. Of course, none of that will matter if the psycho after her succeeds.
One of the things I loved about this book was the unique dynamic between Lexie and Deke. With Deke mostly likely being the man who fired the bullet that nearly severed her spine. You don't usually get such an interesting situation between characters. It was interesting to read how things worked out between them. They had a really great chemistry and I really wanted them to work things out(which of course they would).
I also really enjoyed the secondary couple of Bain/Cara. Now they had some serious chemistry. But I got the feeling as I was reading that they wouldn't work things out, which was disappointing. Then I read on Barton's website that they would be a secondary couple for her next book, the last Protectors book, Dying For You. So I'm excited to see how things go with them in that book.
Storyline-wise...Barton always knows how to draw me in with the plots of her books. She did a great job in this one casting suspicion onto the various suspects. I was pretty sure who it was, but she made me second guess myself more than once.
The only thing I would liked to have seen was a more thorough resolution between Lexie and Deke regarding the past and the shooting. I felt like she skimmed past that a little bit. I wanted them to have a serious conversation about what happened, and it didn't come. So that's really the only thing that seemed missing to me. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this one, as is usual with Barton's long romantic suspense books....more
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Mostly for the suspense plot than for the romance or the characters.
The summary/description on the book page gives aI enjoyed this book quite a bit. Mostly for the suspense plot than for the romance or the characters.
The summary/description on the book page gives a good overview of the book so I won't bother to write another summary.
At times during this book, Quinn isn't exactly my favorite character. Not that I disliked him. But he's a total man-whore player and it's a bit of a turn-off when the hero is someone who admits he just likes to fuck women whenever, wherever he can. During the book, he is even involved with another character, and almost yet another. Even after he develops an interest in Annabelle, he goes off and screws someone else because Annabelle had him so out of whack and he needed a release. When a guy acts like that, his ability to be monogamous is rather questionable. So I never quite developed an emotional attachment to Quinn, but he was likable enough.
The romance is okay. For 3/4ths of the book, it is pretty much non-existent. Then suddenly they are all over each other. I would have liked something a little more gradual. A few stolen kisses or whatever, instead of the lust explosion that within like a page has Annabell telling him she loves him.
So those two aspects of the story weren't the greatest for me. But the suspense plot was really good. It's not particularly intense. It's more of a winding mystery with a moderate level of intensity. Barton tries to direct suspicion onto various characters and it works to a certain degree. I had a fairly good idea in which direction the bad guy was going to come from. The plot and the way it was written kept me interested in the story.
I loved the use of connected characters in this book. For people who have read other of Barton's romantic suspense releases, you'll find a number of familiar characters. Griffin Powell (The Murder Game) is a secondary character, along with Judd Walker (The Dying Game), Jim Norton (Close Enough To Kill). And there are numerous mentions of Johnny Mack Cahill (After Dark). It's great to see those characters again or see another aspect of them.
If you're looking for a book with a solid romance, this may not be the one to read. But if you like a good romantic suspense plot where the suspense is more prominent, then this is a good one to pick....more
Sugar Hill is a pretty typical book for a category romance. Sweet and short and just a little bit hot. Because of the length restrictioRating: 3.5 / 5
Sugar Hill is a pretty typical book for a category romance. Sweet and short and just a little bit hot. Because of the length restriction, the story is a little bit underdeveloped at points. Things that could have been fleshed out weren't. But it wasn't a bad story. It was fairly good.
The storyline isn't all that original. It's a theme that I've read numerous times before - rich boy, poor girl, disapproving family members who scheme to separate them, and a secret that the heroine is afraid to reveal. A pretty common storyline that's a bit overdone. That was the only thing for me that counted against the book. I knew how it was going to go and there wasn't anything to make the book stand-out against others like it.
It's a nice short read though when you want some pure romance. For Barton fans who like her more recent full-length romantic suspense novels, this is nothing at all like them so you should only read this if you also like standard category romance books....more