Dead End

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a novel of sexy romantic suspense for fans of Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, and Karen Robards.

Bestselling author Mariah Stewart proved she can knock ’em dead with the best when she delivered the resounding one-two-three punch of her suspense “thrillogy”–Dead Wrong, Dead Certain, and Dead Even. Now, in her anticipated hardcover debut, she’ s back to finish off this stunning series ...

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a novel of sexy romantic suspense for fans of Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, and Karen Robards.

Bestselling author Mariah Stewart proved she can knock ’em dead with the best when she delivered the resounding one-two-three punch of her suspense “thrillogy”–Dead Wrong, Dead Certain, and Dead Even. Now, in her anticipated hardcover debut, she’ s back to finish off this stunning series with her hottest shot yet.

Two years ago, a major FBI undercover drug deal suddenly went south– and special agent Dylan Shields went down in a hail of bullets. When the dust cleared, his fellow agent (and fiancée) Anne Marie McCall was left alone with too many unanswered questions and nothing to do but hit the job as hard as she could to dull the pain. Only now is she beginning to ease up on her punishing routine as a Bureau profiler and starting to let some light in again. and. Detective Evan Crosby had a lot to do with drawing Annie back into life, and she’s not about to let her chance at happiness with him slip away.

But before she can embrace a bright new future, she must grapple with the dangerous past whose demons of doubt and suspicion won’t let her sleep at night . . . and whose dead will never rest in peace until someone digs up the truth and deals out the payback. That means going places where no one– including the FBI–wants Annie to be and cutting through a minefield of smoke and mirrors, politics and intimidation, dirty tricks and deadly threats, in order to make a cold case hot enough to get the right people sweating. The harder Annie squeezes, the more blood, lies, and betrayal she wrings out . . . and the closer she comes to connecting a face to the trigger finger that blew away her dreams–and Dylan Shields. What she doesn’t know is that the killer she’s closing in on is looking for closure too. The kind that only Annie’s death can bring.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Mariah Stewart

Dead Wrong

“Fast paced and intricately plotted, Stewart’s new novel combines engaging characters with a unique premise, adds an unexpected romance to the mix, and overlays it all with her singular knack for keeping readers up at night.”
–Library Journal

Dead Certain

“Crackles with danger and suspense. Great characterization and gripping drama make Stewart’s books hot tickets.”
–Romantic Times (four-star review)

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597221412
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 1/18/2006
  • Series: Anne Marie McCall Series , #4
  • Edition description: REV Large Print
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mariah Stewart
Mariah Stewart is the bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas. She is a RITA finalist for romantic suspense and is the recipient of the Award of Excellence for contemporary romance, a RIO (Reviewers International Organization) Award honoring excellence in women’s fiction, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she is a three-time recipient of the Golden Leaf Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey Romance Writers, and has been inducted into their Hall of Fame. Stewart is a member of the Valley Forge Romance Writers, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two rambunctious golden retrievers amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Lyndon, Pennsylvania August, 2005 What could possibly be going through a man’s mind at the moment he decides to take the life of a child?

Detective Evan Crosby stared down at the twisted body of Caitlin McGill and wondered.

The young girl’s blank eyes stared endlessly at the sun, her mouth open in its final scream. Her thin arms stretched outward, bent at the elbows, to form perfect Ls. Her feet turned in, toes touch- ing.

“Pigeon-toed.”

“What?” Evan turned his head slightly, though his eyes were still on the girl who lay at his feet.

“We used to call people whose feet turned in like that pigeon-toed,” one of the crime-scene investigators noted. “How old was this one?”

“Not even fourteen,” Evan replied.

“Just like the last one.” The CSI shook his head. “Crazy. Just plain damned crazy. She was a real cute kid.”

“They were all cute kids.”

“This is what, the third? Fourth? In the past two months?”

No one responded to the question, which was rhetorical. Everyone on the scene—from the Avon County, Pennsylvania, detectives to the CSIs to the local police to the medical examiner—knew exactly how many others there’d been since the first of May.

Four.

Jamie Kershaw.

Heidi Fuhrmann.

Andrea Masters.

And now Caitlin McGill.

All between the ages of twelve and fourteen. All pretty girls who attended one of the many private schools that flourished in the Philadelphia suburbs. All with dark red stains down the front of the white cotton shirts that were standard school-uniform at- tire.

All of them barefoot.

“What’s up with that, anyway?” Joe Sullivan, Evan’s onetime partner at the Lyndon Police Department, came up the hill from the playground and stopped three feet behind Evan. “Whaddaya suppose he’s doing with their shoes?”

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Poor kid.” Sullivan shook his head. “What’s your old lady say about it?”

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to her yet. She’s been away.” Evan let the “old lady” comment ride. He’d had that conversation with Joe on more than one occasion. It had never done any good—Joe was Joe and wasn’t about to change.

“Guess they keep those FBI profilers pretty busy, eh?”

“Never a shortage of psychos, Joe, you know that.” Evan nodded to Dr. Agnes Jenkins, the Avon County medical examiner, as she hurried past.

“Can’t remember anything like this, though. But at least he left them where they’d be found quickly.” Sullivan’s voice was flat, emotionless.

The M.E. bent over the body and began her ministrations. Evan looked away. Over the past eight weeks, he’d had more than his fill of young girls who’d had their throats slashed. He took a few steps back, then turned and went back to his car. The crime scene would be turned over to him once the M.E. was finished, but for now, he’d use this time to check his phone messages, return those calls he could. Start the paperwork on this latest homicide. Get as much work done as he could while he could. It had all the makings of another very long night.

It was well after three in the morning when Evan arrived at his townhouse in West Lyndon. Bone weary, he left his car parked out front, and bleary-eyed, let himself in through the front door. He ignored the pile of mail on the hall table—when had he put that there?—and pretended not to see the blinking red light on his telephone. Messages could wait. He was simply too tired to deal with anyone or anything.

Too tired, too, to make it up the steps, so he let himself drift backward onto the living-room sofa, fully clothed. He’d just closed his eyes when he heard the soft footfall on the stairs. Dismissing it as little more than wishful thinking on his part, he continued to sail toward sleep.

“Evan?” a voice called from the doorway.

More wishful thinking, surely.

“Evan.” The voice, gentle, filled with concern, drew closer.

Soft hands caressed his arm. He sighed and smiled in his state of almost-sleep.

“Evan, don’t sleep down here. Come up to bed.” The voice was in his ear now.

He reached out and touched skin.

“Annie.”

He felt her weight as she sat on the edge of the sofa and leaned over him, her lips pressed against the side of his face.

“When did you get here?”

“About nine.” She snuggled next to him, and he felt himself relax for the first time in days.

“Why didn’t you call me?”

“I heard on the scanner that another body had been found. I didn’t want to disturb you. I figured you’d be home when you were finished with what you had to do.”

“How long can you stay?”

“I’ll be in town through Tuesday. Have you forgotten that my sister is getting married on Friday?”

“Oh, shit. I did forget.” He stared up at the ceiling. How could he have forgotten that?

“It’s okay. I’m here to remind you. Thursday night, rehearsal dinner. Friday night, wedding. Saturday, sleep until noon. Satur- day night, just me and you. Sunday through Tuesday, I’ll be staying with my niece, until Mara and Aidan get back. Not much of a honeymoon for them, but at least they’ll have a few days to themselves.”

“Rewind back to Saturday. Saturday sounded real good.” It had been weeks since they’d had a night together alone. There’d been something every weekend for the past month. Four weeks ago, it had been Mara’s wedding shower. The past three, either Annie or Evan had been working.

Maybe on Saturday night they could have dinner at their fa- vorite restaurant, he was thinking, then catch a movie. Or maybe they’d just stay at home, just the two of them. That sounded even better.

She lay against him, her head on his chest. His fingers trailed lightly through her soft blond hair.

“How old was she?” she asked softly.

“Thirteen. Almost fourteen.”

“Same as the others?”

“Yes.”

She fell silent, and he knew that she was working it through. As a psychologist and one of the FBI’s most skilled profilers, Annie—Dr. Anne Marie McCall—couldn’t help but sort through the pieces.

“Shoes?”

“Missing,” he told her through a fog of fatigue. “Just like the others.”

“Odd trophy,” she murmured.

“I wanted to ask you what you thought about that.”

“Tomorrow.” She sat up. “We’ll talk about that tomorrow. Right now, you think you can make it up the stairs?”

“Doubtful.”

“Okay.”

She stood, and cool air replaced her warmth. His hand searched for her in the dark, but she had already moved out of reach.

“Where are you going?”

“I’ll be right back.”

Moments later she returned. He felt the soft flow of a blanket drift over him, the comfort of a pillow under his head.

Bliss.

“Move over.” She slid under the blanket and wrapped her arms around him, her body molded to his in the dark.

“Annie . . .”

“Shh. Tomorrow. There’s nothing that can’t wait until the morning.”

He wanted to say something, but his tired brain had stopped communicating with his mouth. Effortlessly, he sailed off into the darkness, where he dreamed of endless closets filled with small bloody shoes that frantic mothers tried to match into pairs.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    If you haven't read the first three books in Mariah Stewarts "DEAD" series--DEAD WRONG, DEAD CERTAIN, and DEAD EVEN--go pick up a copy today. Although not necessary to enjoy DEAD END, you'll get a much better feel for some of the main characters--plus just three really good reads--if you read the other books first. <BR/><BR/>That said, DEAD END centers around Dr. Anne Marie McCall, an FBI profiler, and her new love, police Detective Evan Crosby. At a mutual friend's wedding, Evan is surprised over the jealousy he feels by how close Annie still is with the Shields family. Her fiancé, undercover agent Dylan Shields, was murdered two years ago during a covert op. The Shields family, with its many children all in FBI positions, is a close-knit one who still has a place for the memory of what Annie and Dylan were to each other. <BR/><BR/>Evan, attempting to get over his jealousy but knowing that Annie will never be at peace until she knows what really happened to Dylan, suggests that they take one last look at the file on his death--hoping that maybe this one last shot might provide Annie with the closure she needs, and that a new set of eyes might come up with new leads in the investigation. <BR/><BR/>What they uncover are more questions, missing files, and situations that prove more and more dangerous. Who was really the intended victim that night? Does the locale of Dylan's death have something to do with the current case Evan is working on? Why are members of the extended Shields family ending up in questioning situations? <BR/><BR/>Ms. Stewart has written another winner. I'm sad to see the "DEAD" series end, but I was happy to see that with the release of DEAD END all the questions from the last three books were answered. A real winner, you won't want to miss this book. It's an excellent offering in the romantic suspense genre!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Exciting Ending to the 'DEAD' Series

    If you haven't read the first three books in Mariah Stewarts 'DEAD' series--DEAD WRONG, DEAD CERTAIN, and DEAD EVEN--go pick up a copy today. Although not necessary to enjoy DEAD END, you'll get a much better feel for some of the main characters--plus just three really good reads--if you read the other books first. That said, DEAD END centers around Dr. Anne Marie McCall, an FBI profiler, and her new love, police Detective Evan Crosby. At a mutual friend's wedding, Evan is surprised over the jealousy he feels by how close Annie still is with the Shields family. Her fiancé, undercover agent Dylan Shields, was murdered two years ago during a covert op. The Shields family, with its many children all in FBI positions, is a close-knit one who still has a place for the memory of what Annie and Dylan were to each other. Evan, attempting to get over his jealousy but knowing that Annie will never be at peace until she knows what really happened to Dylan, suggests that they take one last look at the file on his death--hoping that maybe this one last shot might provide Annie with the closure she needs, and that a new set of eyes might come up with new leads in the investigation. What they uncover are more questions, missing files, and situations that prove more and more dangerous. Who was really the intended victim that night? Does the locale of Dylan's death have something to do with the current case Evan is working on? Why are members of the extended Shields family ending up in questioning situations? Ms. Stewart has written another winner. I'm sad to see the 'DEAD' series end, but I was happy to see that with the release of DEAD END all the questions from the last three books were answered. A real winner, you won't want to miss this book. It's an excellent offering in the romantic suspense genre!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2005

    Good - but not her best.

    Although this book has the repeating 'Dead' in the title, it really has nothing to do with the story line of the first three books- (Dead Wrong, Dead Certain, and Dead Even) expept for the fact that most of the characters from the first three books are present. I was a little disappointed since I thought it was another book in the series but all in all it was pretty good. Not as good as the first three books but good. I like a little bit more romantic tension in my books. This one was just a little too predictable and too many 'cousins.' I had to keep going back to figure out who was who. And another problem I have with some of my favorite authors - the minute they put out a hardcover the stories go downhill. And all the other books in this so called series are about 350 pages, But this hardcover is less than 300 and costs 20 bucks. I love to read and have no problem spending on books but this comes as a disappointment to me.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A potent romantic suspense tale

    In Avon County, Pennsylvania, Homicide Detective Evan Crosby is sick when he sees the fourth victim in under a month. Each casualty was pretty young female, ages 12 ¿ 14, attending a private school, and left without shoes. His lover, FBI profiler Annie Marie McCall tries to give him solace, but knows how difficult coping with this case is.................... At the wedding of Annie¿s sister to a Shield sibling, Evan feels left out as the happy occasion is more a wake to FBI Agent Thomas Shield, who was assassinated. Upset, Evan leaves when another girl is killed without a word to Annie who is inside the Shield zone since Thomas was her fiancé, which bans the detective from entry. Not long afterward, knowing she needs closure, Evan offers a fresh pair of eyes in investigating the murder. As they work together on the Shield murder and the serial killings, an agency insider watches them very closely because he will have them eliminated if they get to close to him or his young girl black market ring................. The fourth Dead tale is a potent romantic suspense tale starring two likable protagonists in love yet struggling to form a relationship because of the ghost of her murdered fiancé. The Shield Zone is tighter than ever, denser than a black hole as no matter escapes this closely knit family to the chagrin of Evan. Annie is terrific as she balances her second strike of love¿s lightning bolt with her first hit, but still needs closure, which Evan knows means uncovering who killed Thomas. Mariah Stewart is dead on with this tale and series............... Harriet Klausner

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