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The Heart of a Killer (The Killer #1)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  1,926 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part
Mass Market Paperback, 407 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by MIRA (first published January 1st 2011)
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Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of RS with an emphasis on the suspense
Not bad. Not exactly what I'm used to from Jaci Burton, so it took me some time to adapt and lower my expectations (romantically, that is). While this is a romantic suspense, it's very heavy on the suspense. Don't expect a heck of a lot of romance in this one. It's strictly a police procedural/who-done-it with a few twists and turns (and surprising killings) along the way to make it interesting. It takes a while for the author to introduce any suspects,and once she does, you pretty much know par ...more
They were a matched set. Two screwed-up souls who gravitated toward each other like magnets.

The Heart of a Killer is one of the most engrossing suspense novels I've ever read. Even at its weakest points, I couldn't put the book down. Pretty much the only issue I had with the story is that the dialogue felt too hollow at times, but on the other hand, the narration was good enough that I actually got goosebumps.

That said, I loved the romance and action. Dante and Anna were both wholesome and re
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review posted: Happily Ever After - Reads
Blog rating: 3.5/5

She arched a brow and pulled his shirt off, then raked her nails down his chest. “You’re an asshole.”

He unhooked her bra and removed it, tossing it to the floor. “I love when you whisper sweet words to me. Gets me all hot and hard.”

The prologue really hooked me into this story, which is always a win. The beginning takes us back to Anna at 16, Dante at 18 and they’re in young love. Dante and his 3 foster brothers come by Anna’s work as
That I love reading romantic suspense is not a secret but for quite some time I haven't read a really good one or read a really promising new to me author but Jaci Burton is all that and more and I loved The Heart of a Killer.

The book opens with sixteen year old Anna welcoming four of her closest friends in life, that included her boyfriend Dante. She is almost ready to close up at the place she works and when she goes out for the trash she is attacked. The guys come to her rescue beating the ma
As a fan of Jaci Burton's erotic romance and a new fan of romantic suspense, I knew I had to read this one. And I must say, not a bad first attempt at RS.

Anna Pallino stuck up for 4 misfit boys in school. Foster kids that have finally found a steady home, love, and support through their new foster parents and a new friend. For Dante Renaldi it was love. Until a fateful night when they were teenagers and Anna was brutally attacked behind where she worked while her guys were inside waiting for he
Crystal ♥ RBtWBC
4.5 Stars

Twelve years ago was the worst night of Anna Pallino’s life. Attacked outside of her after-school job, Anna is nearly raped and killed when her boyfriend, Dante Renaldi, finds her. Pulling the monster off of Anna, Dante and his three foster brothers accidently beat the man to death. Fearful that the police will go after the four boys for their prior juvenile records, Anna convinces them to leave while she calls her father, a local police detective, who hides their involvement. Little di
The Heart of a Killer is the first in The Killer series by Jaci Burton. Once upon a time, Anna was in love with Dante and life was wonderful. Until one night everything changed and Dante leaves town. Now, twelve years later, Dante is back and people are being killed. Anna is a detective with the police department and isn't sure how much she can trust Dante.

Another one of those reunion or together again theme stories. One of the better ones in my opinion but I think it was the mystery/suspense p
Sixteen year old Anna Pallino is attacked in a dark alley and a heart carved on her chest, an assault that haunts her by the sheer brutality and unexpectedness of it. It is only by the intervention of her then boyfriend Dante and his foster brothers Jeff, Roman and Gabe that she escapes with her life intact. But that dark dreary night changes Anna and the relationship she has with the guys she considers as her brothers apart from Dante. When Dante ups and leaves without looking back, Anna is lef ...more
Cindy ~ SnS Reviews
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Dante, Gabe, Roman, and Jeff were all foster brothers who in there teens lived with George and Ellen Clemons. They were all friends with Anna Pallino. Anna and Dante were dating and in love. One night Anna is assaulted and the 4 guys beat on the attacker and kill him. Anna's father is a police officer and she tells the boys to run and that she would handle it with her father. Twelve years later we find Dante coming back to town for the first time since that fateful night for George and Ellen 25t ...more
Anna, Dante, Gabe, Jeff and Roman had accidentally killed a man 12 yrs ago when they were kids. The man had attacked Anna and carved a heart over her breast with a knife. Luckily the guys were around to help her and had unintentionally killed him. They fled from the crime scene and kept it secret.

And now at present time a man was on a killing spree killing off people closed to them all, in the same manner by carving a heart on their chests. So now they must find that other person who must have
Christi Snow
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My Review:
It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Jaci Burton's Play-by-Play series, but I haven't ever read any of her other work, so I wasn't sure when I saw that she was writing romantic suspense, whether it was going to be for me or not. Well, it's official...Jaci Burton simply writes books that I LOVE! OMG, this book was good!!

Twelve years ago, Anna was attacked while taking out the trash at the ice cream parlor where she worked. Inside were the gang of 4 foster boys that were her closest fr
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

Expected Release Date: October 25, 2011 (Available Now!)
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Mira
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Killer series
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Twelve years ago, sixteen year old Anna Pallino was attacked in an alley behind the ice cream shop where she worked. Her boyfriend, Dante Renaldi and his three fo
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-arc
The Heart of a Killer was an enjoyable romantic suspense by Jaci Burton. It was quite a departure from the other books I have read by her, and I was impressed with her suspenseful storyline. I liked the main characters, Dante and Anna, and some of the secondary ones as well. I'm glad that this is going to be the start of a series, and I look forward to the next installment.

After he and his friends fend off and accidentally kill a man who attacked his girlfriend, Anna Pallino, Dante Renaldi leave
It looks like I might be coming out of my romantic suspense funk. I really enjoyed this. It's a gripping tale filled with twists and turns. I suspected the killer early on but enjoyed watching the rest figure it out.

The main - and secondary - characters were well written. Anna annoyed me at times, but then so did Dante.

Burton balanced the suspense and romance perfectly. Fans of her more erotic romance titles might be disappointed - there isn't a lot of sex here. Personally I think that worked i
Two and half stars. The author pulled the second book in this series before publication and abandoned the series which should be enough for most potential readers to decide not to bother with this one. Too bad I didn't realize that before reading it as I don't like spoilers so I avoid reading blurbs on sequels.

The prologue was compelling and the murder story set up had real potential. Unfortunately the author's writing style did not work with the intended tone. The events that unfold should have
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Last night did not want to put book down by 1:00 AM had hard time keeping awake, so I cheated and went and read the last chapter than I could sleep and not think this guys bad oh maybe this is what happens. Than first thing this morning read the rest of the whole book. Still not guessing all of it even though I knew ending. So it has a lot of suspense, mystery that keep you guessing all the way to through.
The story opens with Anna Pallino just closing the ice cream parlor she works
at. An
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
This is a brand new series by Jaci Burton called The Killer series. The heart of a Killer is book one. On her website she doesn't have any info on the next book so I'm not sure how this series will go. If the characters from book one will be in book two and so on. Time will tell. For this book I have to say I have not read anything like this from Jaci before. I am only familiar with some of her contemporary books. This one was good but here and there i got kind of bored. Just a smidge though. In ...more
Lisa Filipe
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Review to come

Firstly, I want to give Ms. Burton props for stepping out of her comfort zone and making a go at the Romance Suspense Genre. WOO HOO!!

With that being said, I will say that I thought the PLOT had soooooo much potential. It could have went anywhere with all of the choices we had for the killer. BUT, it just didn't do it for me. The story kind of fell flat. The plot just flopped somewhere after a few chapters and after a while I just didn't care WHO the k
Vera Maslow
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
It started out really good. The glimpse of the past to pave the way for so much in the story and the intensity of the scene. Dante comes back to town and I get a feel where the author comes from writing contemporary romance, but adding the whodunit suspense part. Throughout the book I did want to know who the killer was and had some guesses and thoughts.
Now what dropped my rating so much. The characters started out great, plot promising, but....
There were many parts that didn't come across as
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton’s latest book, The Heart of a Killer, is a suspense thriller that will have you biting your nails from the very first page. The prologue, which tells of a horrifying incident involving five teens, effectively sets the scene and the pace for the entire book.

After twelve years have passed, the five are reunited to face one of the most sinister villains to grace a story line, who is apparently stalking each one of them. Check your windows and door lock
Twelve years after a horrible attack leaves Anna with physical and mental scars, Dante, one of her rescuers and her then-boyfriend, returns and sets off a killing spree that appears related to that long ago attack. The suspense was fairly well set up and there are several twists and turns. I had thought I'd figured it out and talked myself out of it and then turned out I was right. There certainly appeared to be another book in the offing, but the author has decided to go a different way. There' ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks-i-own
Well, that was unexpected.
I'm very picky and apprehensive about trying out new-to-me authors. This was my first Jaci Burton book and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. There was just something about Anna and Dante, given all their history and the hardships they'd been through. It was good to see them finally find their way back to each other.
I do wish the author had written the next book in the series; I would definitely read that because there's so much more to Gabe's story.
All in all, it w
Cyn Mistress Kitty
This was a good suspense story but not a lot of romance. I was a little surprised since Jb's books are usually very steamy. There were some good scenes in this but not like she usually does.
I really didn't like Anna through this book and it pissed me off that right at the start she was mean and accused Dante of being a killer. She was way too harsh to him all the time and he deserved much better than her.
Overall though a good suspense.

***I received this as an ARC from NetGalley***
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
For those who love a romantic thriller or a second-chance-at-love, it's a must read. If you liked Pamela Clare 's I-Team series, you'll like this one too.

Nail-biting suspense, hot as hell male protagonist, even fierce female lead and sizzling chemistry all wrapped up in one.

Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Very different from any other Jaci Burton book I've read!! The suspense was good, but predictable and I figured out who the villain was pretty early on. There were some hot moments in this, and overall a decent read. Full review to come closer to release date....
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was great! I have to say though, I was kinda bummed about who the baddie was. I mean that sucks. But I loved the story. Loved all the drama and suspense. I was totally wrong on who did it. Oh well. Cant wait for the next one.
Doina Condrea
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know what to write about this book and I still kind of don't. It was the perfect balance of thriller/suspense and romance. I loved it. It was heartbreaking but hopeful. It was exhilarating and calming. I was enthralled from start to finish.
Linda Strong
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
This is re-read .... excellent book. Romantic Suspense at its best.
Sep 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Review to be posted closer to release date
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J.D. Robb : The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton - March 2016 BOM 48 31 Apr 09, 2016 04:44AM  
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Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 70 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline (which is often), she can usually be found wrestling with her uncooperative garden, wrangling her dogs, watching an unhealthy amount of television, or completely losing track of time reading a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the hap ...more
More about Jaci Burton...

Other Books in the Series

The Killer (2 books)
  • Killer Decision (The Killer, #2)

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“She threw her hands in the air. “Of course I was tense. You were kissing and touching me and I was turned on like crazy. Also, I haven’t had a decent orgasm in like six freaking months. Are you reading my lips here? Six. Months. You’d be tense, too, wouldn’t you?”
Dante gaped at her. Anna threw him a murderous glare.
“Are all men this dense or just you? Jesus, Dante, do I have to draw you a road map to my vagina, or are you grabbing a clue?”
“She hated that he was here, messing up her life, making her want things she’d wanted for a long time, then pushed to the back of her mind, forcing herself to forget.
She inhaled the scent of him. Big mistake, because God help her, she wanted to put her hands on him, and in that moment she realized the feelings she had for him weren’t dead.”
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