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The Seventh Victim

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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… KILL Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a 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… KILL 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…


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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… KILL Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a 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… KILL 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…

30 review for The Seventh Victim

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton is a 2013 Zebra/ Kensington publication. Seven years ago Lara Church was attacked and nearly strangled to death by the Seattle strangler. She doesn't remember anything about the attack, even after being harrassed unto death by Mike Raines, a dectective on the Seattle police force, and after seeing countless doctors. Lara goes on the run and finally has settled in Austin, Texas. Her grandmother has passed away and Lara has inherited her property. Taking a job at The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton is a 2013 Zebra/ Kensington publication. Seven years ago Lara Church was attacked and nearly strangled to death by the Seattle strangler. She doesn't remember anything about the attack, even after being harrassed unto death by Mike Raines, a dectective on the Seattle police force, and after seeing countless doctors. Lara goes on the run and finally has settled in Austin, Texas. Her grandmother has passed away and Lara has inherited her property. Taking a job at the local university as a photography teacher she also does her own peculiar photography of crime scenes. Now there have been several murders that mimic the Seattle strangler exactly. The case goes to James Beck, a Texas Ranger. It comes to his attention right away that Lara Church, the only survivor of the strangler now lives in Austin. James wants Lara to see a doctor in Austin to see if her memory can be unlocked. The two clash because Lara wants to be left alone, but James won't let it go. James comes to believe that the killer will eventually target Lara and she is the key to catching the killer. Added to the mix is Mike Raines who has retired from the Seattle police force and started his own security company. He is also in Austin to help James find the killer, even if James doesn't initially welcome his input. This is a dark serial killer mystery thriller. Lara's obsession with crime scenes, the creepy serial killer MO, the ever present tension of waiting for something bad to happen to Lara and maybe to other characters we come to care about. There is also the tension from the relationship between James and Lara. James comes on too strong, often forgetting that Lara is a victim ,not just a person that could help crack a case. Although she wants to help, she simply can't remember anything, which is just as frustrating to her as it is to the investigators. Eventually, James begins to respect Lara a great deal and the ice between them begins to melt. There are a lot of twist and turns in this one. The last quarter of the book is really, really tense. The romance part of the book is reserved for the proper time and place in the book and is not the primary focus of the book. Overall this one gets an A. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stefani

    Let me tell you a little story about this book. I accidentally requested to get an ARC. I thought that the author was a different author whom I have read and enjoyed before and I jumped out of my chair in joy at thinking she had a new book. After I realized that I was mistaken about who the author was, I ended up not caring too much because the story still sounded really fantastic. Oh, how I was wrong! Despite having an excellent cover and an astounding synopsis, this book was just a mess. I bri Let me tell you a little story about this book. I accidentally requested to get an ARC. I thought that the author was a different author whom I have read and enjoyed before and I jumped out of my chair in joy at thinking she had a new book. After I realized that I was mistaken about who the author was, I ended up not caring too much because the story still sounded really fantastic. Oh, how I was wrong! Despite having an excellent cover and an astounding synopsis, this book was just a mess. I bring you, bullet points! ~ Predictable plot is predictable. By the second or third time we have the killer introduced into a scene, I knew who it was. It was so painfully obvious that it was…well painful. Also, by about the halfway point I had figured out what the twist was and by 70% I knew who the twist would revolve around. I don’t know whether to credit my obsession with the TV show Criminal Minds for this or maybe the plot was just that obvious and unimaginative. ~ Stubborn heroine who insists on protecting herself but seems to be incapable of doing so. Every time we talked to Lara she was insisting that she could take care of herself, but them proceeds to do completely idiotic things that seem to suggest otherwise. For example, going to a recent crime scene when it is nearly dark outside…by yourself…with just a camera…and a shotgun (that she left in a locked car). I mean, what good is a shotgun going to do you if it’s locked in your car 20 yards away? I’m pretty sure an assailant isn’t going to allow you to run 20 yards to the car, unlock the car, get the shotgun, load the shotgun, and then shoot him. She has a darkroom and leaves it unlocked while she is in there with her back to the door and in the dark. And then she ignores her dog when he starts barking at something from outside. Gee, that sounds smart! And don’t get your hopes up that the other female characters are any smarter, they aren’t. One notable moment is when one girl gets a flat tire, on an abandoned road at night, without cell phone service, hasn’t seen another sign of human life in at least a half hour, but is ever so grateful at the person who has been following her the whole time for offering his help! I sincerely hope that there are not that many stupid women in the world. ~ Cops who are either oblivious or inept. Anyone who has watched Law & Order knows that when a person is attacked, most of the time the attacker is someone they know. Yet, these cops mostly seem to sit around wondering which unknown stranger it could be without even bothering to look at people close to Lara. Their justification is, well it’s a serial killer so he probably doesn’t know the victims. That doesn’t hold water either. Criminal Minds has taught me that serial killers have their distinct signatures because the actions satisfy some need or fantasy they have. If a serial killer does not rape his victims and then suddenly a similar crime appears with a rape, it’s not the same guy. If a serial killer is going after prostitutes and homeless woman, and suddenly it’s a young blonde college student who was a big risk then it’s not the same guy! But all of this is overlooked too, despite the claim that a FBI profiler was advising them. Really? He must be inept too! ~ Lame romance. It was very cliche for the head cop to fall for Lara. And I just didn’t feel it. I knew that they had feelings for each other because the author told me they did, but that’s the only reason. Their actual actions and words didn’t lead me to that conclusion at all. Then they decide to have sex after the most traumatic and violent scene in the whole book? What? Nearly getting killed is an aphrodisiac for Lara? Yeah that was weird and made me feel like I needed a shower with bleach. Oh and let’s throw in another cliche, simultaneous orgasms. Has this honestly ever happened to anyone in real life? It’s never happened to me! The sex scene made me laugh though. In one paragraph Lara removed his pants and then on the next page she was undoing the button on his pants…when did he put them back on? *snicker* ~ Name a cliche, any cliche! Any cliche you can think of for a murder mystery/suspense/thriller and this book probably had it. Surviving victim becomes the obsession of the killer. Obsessed cop who couldn’t let this case go and is now sticking his nose into the current case. Lead cop falling for the poor surviving victim. Female characters with no sense of self preservation. The miraculous “ah ha!” moment that answers all of the questions surrounding the case just pages before the end. The police miraculously bursting in the door just in time to save the poor female victim with a few well placed bullets that never miss. I could name more but I think you get the idea. ~ Suspense? Where? This was supposedly a suspense novel, but I never once felt that rush in my veins that suspense novels usually give me. Mostly I just got bored. I started mentally counting cliches in my head and coming up with a scorecard for how well I predicted the book’s plot. There was no suspense, I knew exactly what would happen chapters before it actually happened. So, there we have it. If you want to read a serial killer novel that is exactly like thousands of other serial killer novels then this is a book for you. If you’ve never read a serial killer novel then this is perfect since you won’t have a clue about how cliche it is! But otherwise, give this one a pass unless you’re suffering from insomnia…because then it might help. I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Kensington books! This review is based on an uncorrected ARC of this book, certain things may differ from the final copy. This and other reviews at Stefani's World of Words

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    This one was pretty good. I liked Lara and Beck- I loved Lara’s dog! The mystery was really good!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    2.5 stars. This one follows the Mary Burton formula a little too closely. It reminded me of The Shark on many levels and the identity of the bad guy was easy to figure out. The twist at the end helped liven the plot up a bit, but by then I was ready for the story to be over. In general, I thought that the h took too many risks. Most of her actions were TSTL and I sighed deep sighs of frustration. It's one thing to stop living like a hermit rolling stone, and it's quite another to photograph crime 2.5 stars. This one follows the Mary Burton formula a little too closely. It reminded me of The Shark on many levels and the identity of the bad guy was easy to figure out. The twist at the end helped liven the plot up a bit, but by then I was ready for the story to be over. In general, I thought that the h took too many risks. Most of her actions were TSTL and I sighed deep sighs of frustration. It's one thing to stop living like a hermit rolling stone, and it's quite another to photograph crime scenes as your niche, knowing full well that some murderers like to return to the scene and relive their crime. Honestly. A dog doesn't protect you from ridiculous choices. As for the romance part of this romantic suspense, it was just meh. It didn't offend me and the H seemed like a genuinely good guy. However, this book would've been perfectly fine without it. I will continue to read Mary Burton's books, but I just can't binge read them. They're all too similar to enjoy serially. Safety (view spoiler)[ this book does have rape. It's mentioned from the pov of the rapist and the victim. None of it is terribly graphic, but I prefer my books without this element and I know many other readers do as well. (hide spoiler)]

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eyehavenofilter

    Well, at first I thought this was going to be a formula " mad libs" serial killer story. Theres a beautiful heroine, a survivor of an attack, who doesn't remember anything, unknowingly stalked for years, catches the attention of her local law enforcement officer who is hot, of course...blah blah blah, bodies start piling up. (Yawn!) oh there are a few holes in the plot big enough to drive a Bronco truck through, ( no college is going to hire an instructor who doesn't have an Masters Degree). Dis Well, at first I thought this was going to be a formula " mad libs" serial killer story. Theres a beautiful heroine, a survivor of an attack, who doesn't remember anything, unknowingly stalked for years, catches the attention of her local law enforcement officer who is hot, of course...blah blah blah, bodies start piling up. (Yawn!) oh there are a few holes in the plot big enough to drive a Bronco truck through, ( no college is going to hire an instructor who doesn't have an Masters Degree). Dispute the cookie cutter characters at the get go, they began to grow on me. Texas Ranger James Beck, grew on me, I liked him. He had depth, history, and morals. Laura our heroine in the other hand seemed reckless and put herself in harms way, at every turn, however at just the point where I was about to lose interest, this train went totally off the rails...say what? I had to read that first twisty paragraph again and again. I knew I was in for some skulduggery type fun and criminal high jinks, thank you! I had it down to 3 suspects... ( I read this genre all the time so I can't help myself) was i right? Close....You think I'm going to tell you? Absolutely not! It's worth the read if you are into this genre.

  6. 4 out of 5

    CD {Boulder Blvd}

    I checked out the Texas Rangers series (3 books) and read them on my vacation. Although the books stand alone, they do have characters from the previous books in them. I liked each of the books and the series. When you miss a series, it's nice to be able to quickly read the books as a set with no gaps of time. Each of the three books was good. As always in a Mary Burton novel the suspense/mystery takes center stage and the romance is a secondary/minor plot. For me this is how I like my romantic s I checked out the Texas Rangers series (3 books) and read them on my vacation. Although the books stand alone, they do have characters from the previous books in them. I liked each of the books and the series. When you miss a series, it's nice to be able to quickly read the books as a set with no gaps of time. Each of the three books was good. As always in a Mary Burton novel the suspense/mystery takes center stage and the romance is a secondary/minor plot. For me this is how I like my romantic suspense. I liked the plot and the characters in all three of the books.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nessa

    Brilliant book, but then anything by this author usually is. Was gripped from start to finish. Loved it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews

    Originally posted at: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/bo... It’s no use. Running from him hasn’t helped; he always finds her. Here she’s home in familiar territory and she has friends. If she’s going to fight back, this is the best place. It’s not safe but it’s best. Mary Burton is an established author. This is her thirteenth book. I’ve read her work before and was glad to get the opportunity to read this new book. Ms. Burton writes action packed stories with lots of tension and suspense. You Originally posted at: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/bo... It’s no use. Running from him hasn’t helped; he always finds her. Here she’s home in familiar territory and she has friends. If she’s going to fight back, this is the best place. It’s not safe but it’s best. Mary Burton is an established author. This is her thirteenth book. I’ve read her work before and was glad to get the opportunity to read this new book. Ms. Burton writes action packed stories with lots of tension and suspense. You don’t have time to be bored, she never gives away the bad guy early, and she generally packs a punch in her endings. This book lived up to all that hype. Lara is survivor. She was attacked by the Seattle Strangler and survived. She can’t help with the case because she has amnesia about the attack. Years have passed, she’s been to doctor after doctor trying to unlock those memories, and she still cannot recall anything. When the killer appears to have resurfaced in Austin, TX, the cops really want her to try to remember again. She refuses until the mother of one of the victims makes her own appeal. Then she tries… I had suspicions about who the killer was. I was half right. This author always manages to sucker punch me with her endings. I would never have guessed the Seattle Strangler’s identity. Neither did anyone in the story. This story winds around the past and the present and ties it all together as you reach the conclusion of the story. It’s a good thing Lara has a Texas Ranger in love with her; she’ll need him for more than her bed before the end of the story. When you sit down to read this, make sure you set some time aside to do it. You won’t want to put it down

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    If you are looking for a good suspense then this will work for you, but if you are looking for romance then you should probably give this a miss.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    Texas Ranger Beck is searching for the Seattle Strangler, a serial killer who has left his victims in wooded areas, their blond hair fanned out, clad in white dresses trimmed in lace. Each victim has a penny clutched in her hand. His last victim, Lara Church, narrowly escaped death at his hands. She fled the Seattle area and has lived out of the public eye ever since. Lately, she has chosen to live in Austin, Texas working as a photographer and college instructor. Now it seems that the strangler Texas Ranger Beck is searching for the Seattle Strangler, a serial killer who has left his victims in wooded areas, their blond hair fanned out, clad in white dresses trimmed in lace. Each victim has a penny clutched in her hand. His last victim, Lara Church, narrowly escaped death at his hands. She fled the Seattle area and has lived out of the public eye ever since. Lately, she has chosen to live in Austin, Texas working as a photographer and college instructor. Now it seems that the strangler has relocated to Austin as well, and is moving ever closer to finding her. Ranger Beck is convinced that the Strangler will not rest until he claims his seventh victim, Lara. Beck is determined not to let this happen, and tries to convince Lara to try to dredge up what he thinks are buried memories. She declines, claiming that there are no memories to resurrect. Both are headstrong and working at cross purposes. Enter retired Seattle detective Raines, who doggedly tried to solve this case back in Seattle. He has come to Austin, in pursuit of the strangler too. Three strong personalities, additional dead girls displayed with all of the Strangler's signature details at the crime scenes. Will Lara become the seventh victim? This was an interesting premise, with some unexpected twists. Mary Burton knows how to build suspense, and is willing to write characters that are not necessarily likeable. The plot kept my interest. Some of my suspicions were realized but I did not figure out the entire plot, but I was close! Watching Criminal Minds all these years has to have taught me a little about sussing out the bad guy. There are other Texas Ranger books by Mary Burton, but I do not know if they feature Ranger Beck. I will certainly give another Burton book a try. I thought she did a masterful job of showing what it must be like to narrowly escape death at the hands of such a deadly and determined killer, and to wonder when he would return for her. Her depiction of Lara and her mental anguish is at the heart of this novel.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mari (Smut Duchess)

    3.5 *** This was a RU listen and my first book by Mary Burton. Lara was the seventh victim and sole survivor of a serial killer called the Seattle Strangler. As much as she wanted to help and the police pushed her she simply couldn't remember what happened to her. Seven years later Lara's a photographer and living in the farmhouse her grandmother left her in Austin, TX. Young women are being murdered. They are dressed in white homemade dresses and a penny put in their hand after they are strangle 3.5 *** This was a RU listen and my first book by Mary Burton. Lara was the seventh victim and sole survivor of a serial killer called the Seattle Strangler. As much as she wanted to help and the police pushed her she simply couldn't remember what happened to her. Seven years later Lara's a photographer and living in the farmhouse her grandmother left her in Austin, TX. Young women are being murdered. They are dressed in white homemade dresses and a penny put in their hand after they are strangled. The Seattle strangler is back and he'll be looking for Lara, the only one who got away. Texas ranger James Beck is on the case and so is the detective from Seattle who was never able to let the case go. I liked the mystery and suspense of the book but nothing about the romance made sense. James was an ass to Lara. He never treated her like a surviving victim. From the start he behaved as though she was the criminal. He kept harassing her about her memory. It doesn't matter how much they were attracted to each other physically the Ranger was a jerk. So was the ex detective from Seattle. Lara needed a judge and retraining order against the cops more than her memory back.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Lara Church has no memory of the the Seattle Strangler who tried to kill her seven years ago. Left brutally attacked and with no memory, she spent her time adrift after Seattle finally making her way back to her grandmothers home in Austin. Trying to rebuild her life, the last thing Lara wants to is to be reminded of the victim she once was. When murders begin to share an uncanny resemblance to the ones in Seattle, Texas Ranger James Beck wants answers but Lara is adamant that no memories have r Lara Church has no memory of the the Seattle Strangler who tried to kill her seven years ago. Left brutally attacked and with no memory, she spent her time adrift after Seattle finally making her way back to her grandmothers home in Austin. Trying to rebuild her life, the last thing Lara wants to is to be reminded of the victim she once was. When murders begin to share an uncanny resemblance to the ones in Seattle, Texas Ranger James Beck wants answers but Lara is adamant that no memories have resurfaced. Beck won't back down on his relentless pursuit to find the murderer and he needs Lara's help. Hypnotic story, I thought this was an intriguing cat and mouse story. You are taken on a rollercoaster ride trying to figure out who is after Lara. Excellent read, will be picking up more from this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This dramatic thriller had nicely developed characters and exciting plot twists. The content was disturbing but that was basically specified via the plot description. Some parts were a bit slow but most of the time it was an action packed page turner with interesting characters. Lara is finding it hard to get over her past trauma haunted by memories she is at the same time trying to remember as well as forget. While the character of the Texas Ranger, James Beck has a bad ass attitude but a stron This dramatic thriller had nicely developed characters and exciting plot twists. The content was disturbing but that was basically specified via the plot description. Some parts were a bit slow but most of the time it was an action packed page turner with interesting characters. Lara is finding it hard to get over her past trauma haunted by memories she is at the same time trying to remember as well as forget. While the character of the Texas Ranger, James Beck has a bad ass attitude but a strong sense of compassion and duty. Note: I received this book from Kensington Publishing via Netgalley. Also on http://lrjohnson13.blogspot.com/2013/...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paula Brandon

    This is a standard romantic suspense thriller, and I would have rated it higher if it weren't for the main character. James Beck is a jerk! Lara Church is a rape survivor and he outright bullies her! Whether or not she might be a suspect - and by the very nature of this genre we all know she isn't - you need to show some respect! There's no doubting she was the victim of a violent crime, so why is James Beck such an asshat? That they then go ahead and have sex made it even more repugnant! I'm su This is a standard romantic suspense thriller, and I would have rated it higher if it weren't for the main character. James Beck is a jerk! Lara Church is a rape survivor and he outright bullies her! Whether or not she might be a suspect - and by the very nature of this genre we all know she isn't - you need to show some respect! There's no doubting she was the victim of a violent crime, so why is James Beck such an asshat? That they then go ahead and have sex made it even more repugnant! I'm surprised Mary started out in romance, because she's much better at the suspense.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lacy

    3.75 stars. Well-written suspenseful thriller with nicely developed characters, story, and plot twists. Some dark and disturbing content, but not overwhelming. The romance was secondary to the suspense, but also nicely integrated into the story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Levie

    DNF The characters were frustrating to a degree I couldn’t get past.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Nickolan

    After coming off having read 2 books that were underwhelming this was the boast I needed. This story starts with action and continues to be a page turner for most of the story. There was only one section towards the end between Beck and Lara that I could have done without. The story is about Lara, a woman that was the seventh victim of The Seattle Strangler, but managed to survive. Now 7 years later Lara returns to her hometown in Texas after her grandmothers leaves her her house when she passes After coming off having read 2 books that were underwhelming this was the boast I needed. This story starts with action and continues to be a page turner for most of the story. There was only one section towards the end between Beck and Lara that I could have done without. The story is about Lara, a woman that was the seventh victim of The Seattle Strangler, but managed to survive. Now 7 years later Lara returns to her hometown in Texas after her grandmothers leaves her her house when she passes. Killings are starting up again, just like the ones in Seattle, but who is doing them? Lara has never been able to remember anything about her attacker from 7 years ago. Who is the strangler? Why is he after her? Where was he for 7 years? Is the retired Det. Raines helping or hindering the case? How can Ranger Beck keep Lara safe when she keeps putting herself in situations where her safety is in question? I enjoyed this story and even though I felt confident I knew who the killer was, Ms. Burton threw a curve ball in there. Loved it and will look for another story by Ms. Burton in the future.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    I really enjoy reading MB's books and this one is no exception. I binge read it til 1am last night. Intriguing mystery/suspense, romance (slight), and serial murder. I had my suspicions, but was stunned toward the end. Very gripping!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Bermann

    Just recently discovered this author and loving her work so far! Lara is a survivor of a vicious killer but she cant remember the details. Seven years later the killing start again! I honestly didnt see the ending coming which i loved. Looking forward to reading book 2 in this series!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Even though the heroine was not as cautious as you would think she would have been after what she had previously experienced, it was a good and suspenseful book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heli - So Many Books - So Little Time

    3.5 stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Lots of fun. I was surprised with the last twist.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa - (Aussie Girl)

    3.5 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Kept me guessing as to who the killer was.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Nailbiter is the first word that comes to mind when I began to write this review. This book was energetic, mysterious and kept me guessing throughout. It started off in a really intense scene of a serial killer strangling his victim. And that level of intensity was carried throughout the book. The main character Lara Church is the only survivor of the Seattle Strangler and after her attack was thwarted by a bystander the strangler disappeared. Lara has no memories of the incident but has a bone- Nailbiter is the first word that comes to mind when I began to write this review. This book was energetic, mysterious and kept me guessing throughout. It started off in a really intense scene of a serial killer strangling his victim. And that level of intensity was carried throughout the book. The main character Lara Church is the only survivor of the Seattle Strangler and after her attack was thwarted by a bystander the strangler disappeared. Lara has no memories of the incident but has a bone-deep fear that this person will find her again. For most of her life after the attack she traveled and never settled in one place until her grandmother passes away and leaves her a house in Austin. Lara returns to the house and settles in deciding she is tired of living her life in the shadows. She gets a job as a teacher at a local university and puts her art (her photography) in a local art gallery. Texas Ranger James Beck is just returning back to work from being on leave. He's itching to get back into cases and is happy to respond to the local authorities who call him in on a case. Beck comes to the murder scene and sees a woman in a white dress with a penny in her hand and he realizes that the Seattle Strangler may have resurfaced. He begins to wonder if it's a coincidence that women are being strangled in the same area where Lara is now settled. Could Lara be the reason the Strangler has returned? This book was a fast-paced thriller that had me pretty captivated. It's a page turner and a pretty quick read. I liked Lara's character, although at times I wondered why she returned to dangerous areas to take her photographs. It seemed kind of a stupid idea considering what happened to her in the past. I liked her relationship with Beck - they were really quick to spar with one another and it provided a little relief from the intense story. I also really liked that part of the story was written from the killer's POV. This allows for the reader to better understand the killer's mind and it also makes the book a little more creepy. It's one thing to read about a cop chasing a criminal, but it's quite another to know just how depraved that criminal is. I also enjoyed the twists that the story took and have to say I didn't quite guess who the killer was. Let's say I had it partially right. There were a few moments that it was hard to suspend reality and some things in the story nagged at me a bit. Some things were wrapped up too easily and there was one particular scene that I just rolled my eyes and couldn't believe what was happening. It bothered me a bit, so I just couldn't give the book 5 stars. I think it's still a great book and if you are looking for a quick thriller to read this is probably a good choice for you. Thanks to netgalley and Kensington Publishing Corp. for providing me with this book to read and review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    A serial killer is stalking young women in Seattle, posing them in white dresses after their death. One woman got away seven years ago, with her life and only hazy memories of the attack. In those seven years, Lara Church has been on the move, never staying in one place too long, never feeling at ease. When she inherits her family home, she tries to settle down and resume a normal life. The killer has tracked her to Texas and her only salvation may be either a tough Texas Ranger, James Beck, who, A serial killer is stalking young women in Seattle, posing them in white dresses after their death. One woman got away seven years ago, with her life and only hazy memories of the attack. In those seven years, Lara Church has been on the move, never staying in one place too long, never feeling at ease. When she inherits her family home, she tries to settle down and resume a normal life. The killer has tracked her to Texas and her only salvation may be either a tough Texas Ranger, James Beck, who, in spite of his gruffness, is attracted to Lara or a retired cop from Seattle who can't let the case go. With James' help, Lara is trying to remember what happened to her the night she survived, all while facing more attacks from her killer, who wants to finish what he started. Lara is damaged, but she is determined to get her life back. The big question becomes who is really the enemy? Who can she trust besides her faithful German Shepherd? The story is gripping and intense right up to that big twist at the end! Mary Burton is a gifted story teller who does not disappoint with this tale! This ARC edition was provided by NetGalley and Kensington Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Pub Date: Jan 29 2013

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Seven years ago the Seattle Strangler had killed 6 women. By a miracle the 7th, Lara Church was found alive but had no memory of what happened. She went on to change her hair color and move around a lot finally settling in Texas when her grandmother left her house to her when she died. Then the killing start again a little to close to home. James Beck is a Texas Ranger who is just coming off of paid administration leave. Beck is a man that when he gets a feeling or idea he cant let it go and eve Seven years ago the Seattle Strangler had killed 6 women. By a miracle the 7th, Lara Church was found alive but had no memory of what happened. She went on to change her hair color and move around a lot finally settling in Texas when her grandmother left her house to her when she died. Then the killing start again a little to close to home. James Beck is a Texas Ranger who is just coming off of paid administration leave. Beck is a man that when he gets a feeling or idea he cant let it go and even though that solved a missing 10 year old girls case the higher ups didnt like his hot-dogging ways. His first case back from leave is a dead woman who's death is reminding the Ranger of the Strangler victims. Once the book takes off there are many twist and turns to find out who the killer is but these books are so much better when no spoilers are given. The shock and surprises are the best part.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paulette Gerkovich

    I love Mary Burton’s books; they’re my favorite guilty pleasure, and I almost always give 4 stars. While this story certainly held my interest, I almost stopped reading because of the abusive and bullying behavior of the Texas Ranger character. Thus the 2 stars. He spends a portion of the book aggressively pushing a survivor to remember her attack in order to get his case solved. And then they end up in a relationship?? No. Just no.

  29. 4 out of 5

    D.B. Reynolds

    3.5 stars. A good thriller with a chilling premise ... the serial killer who won't let go. The writing is good, and the main character is very sympathetic and admirable in her desperation and courage, while the male lead is strong, smart and very alpha. My main complaint is a twist at the very end ... it wasn't necessary, and it almost ruined the book for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bree

    Got the arc and really enjoyed the book.

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