Dying Scream

( 30 )

Overview

No One Will Find You

An aspiring artist. A high-school senior. A stripper. Three women who seemed to have nothing in common except their sudden disappearance. But one man knew them all. Wealthy, privileged Craig Thornton even claimed to love them. And for that, they paid the ultimate price.

No One Will Save You

When Adrianna Barrington receives an anniversary card from her husband Craig, she assumes it's some ...

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Overview

No One Will Find You

An aspiring artist. A high-school senior. A stripper. Three women who seemed to have nothing in common except their sudden disappearance. But one man knew them all. Wealthy, privileged Craig Thornton even claimed to love them. And for that, they paid the ultimate price.

No One Will Save You

When Adrianna Barrington receives an anniversary card from her husband Craig, she assumes it's some crackpot's idea of a joke. After all, Craig is dead. But then come phone calls, flowers, messages. . .all reminding her how much Craig misses her. While Adrianna begins to doubt her sanity, grisly remains are found on the Thornton estate. Detective Gage Hudson is convinced the bodies are linked to Craig. But the biggest shocks are yet to come.

No One Will Hear You Scream

A psychopath has taken up his chilling work again, each death a prelude to the moment when she is under his control at last. And the only way for Gage and Adrianna to stop him is to uncover the truth about a family's dark past--and a twisted love that someone will kill for, again and again. . .

Praise for the novels of Mary Burton

"Taut, compelling. . .Mary Burton delivers a page-turner." --Carla Neggers on I'm Watching You

"A chilling thriller." --Beverly Barton on Dead Ringer

Prologue

Sunday, September 24, 10:00 p.m.

Time had degraded the videotaped image of the cowering woman.

A line skimmed down the center screen now peppered with electronic snow, and a sallow haze paled the image's once vibrant colors.

As he'd made his movies over the last twelve years, he'd expected them to last forever. He'd never realized excessive viewing coupled with time would degrade the tapes of his three actresses and their final performances. The first tape wasn't a great loss. He didn't understand lighting, costumes, or camera angles. He'd been rushed and nervous. But as time passed, he'd gained experience and confidence and by the last tape, he'd honed his moviemaking talent.

Remote in hand, he leaned forward and directed his attention to the most recent tape in his collection. He tuned out the annoying technical distractions and focused on the woman.

A pale satin slip, the shade of forget-me-nots, skimmed her full breasts and slim body and pooled over long legs tucked under her round bottom. A blond wig covered chestnut hair and accentuated a pale face and listless brown eyes underscored by smudged mascara. Blue-black bruises darkened her cheeks. She stared sightlessly toward the ceiling, cradling the hand he'd broken the last time she'd resisted.

Off-screen a door opened and closed. Keys jangled. The woman straightened and tried to stand, but a waist-hugging chain forced her to remain on her knees.

"Hello?"

He'd never stepped in view of the camera lens.

"Sorry I'm late. I didn't mean to be gone so long."

The woman's chest started to rise and fall in rapid, short breaths. "I thought you weren't coming back."

He'd been gone eighteen hours. "I couldn't leave you forever."

Over the last two weeks, he'd left her intermittently.

Each time he made his exit, he threatened never to return as he shut the door. Then from a closed circuit television he watched as she begged him not to leave and yanked at her tether. Then after three, five, or ten hours, he'd return. Each time she wept, her expressive features reflected relief, horror, and flickers of anger. Slowly he'd been breaking her down, teaching her that her world revolved around him alone.

Now as she glanced up, she offered a smile both pleasing and desperate. "Now are you going to let me go?"

"Not just yet."

Her smile faltered. "You said next time when you came back I could leave."

"I've changed my mind." He zoomed in the video

image. "I've enjoyed your performance so much I find I can't say good-bye."

The close-up vividly captured expressive eyes that mirrored disappointment and a terrifying understanding. "You're never going to let me go, are you?"

"Didn't I promise?" He sounded defensive.

Fresh tears rolled down her cheeks. Her lips quivered. She seemed to sense that this was the end. Game over.

Hysterically she started to yank the chain. Her breasts bounced delightfully as she struggled. "Let me go! Why are you doing this to me!"

"I love you, Adrianna."

"Let me go!" She all but howled the words.

"I told you that I loved you. What are you supposed to say?" The words dripped with annoyance. How many lessons would it take for her to play her part correctly?

"No, no, no! My name is Rhonda." The silk under the chain had frayed and turned brown from the iron in the links. "My name is Rhonda!"

"You are not Rhonda!" He snapped his fingers. "Say the words like I taught you. Or I will get the cattle prod."

Mention of the prod drained the fight from her eyes. "Please. Please. Please." The plea wound down to a hoarse whisper.

"Say it." This would be their final scene together. And he couldn't hide the desperate anticipation from his voice.

The woman closed her eyes. "I love you." The faint whisper, void of feeling, tumbled out like rubbish from a bin. All the spirit and fight she'd had in the beginning was gone.

The words left him wanting. "Say it again. And look at me when you speak."

The woman looked directly at him. "I love you."

Better.

Nervously, she picked at the chipped red nail polish on her toenails. A ladybug tattoo framed her right ankle. "Can I leave now?"

He ignored her question. "Why do you have a ladybug tattoo?" These last two weeks he'd loved touching it. Kissing it.

Tears streamed down her face as if she realized her words had no effect on him. "I told you a million times."

"Tell me again."

"It's a sign of good luck."

His laughter rumbled rich and genuine. "For me, it's good luck. Not such good luck for you."

Her eyes flashed with sudden hot anger. "Why do you keep doing this to me?"

"Doing what?"

"Playing games. Why don't you let me go? I've sworn that I'll keep this secret. I just want to go home. I want to forget. I want to live." The camera zoomed and caught the beads of sweat on her forehead. "I have done everything you asked."

She tipped her head back and he could see her dark hair peeking out from under the wig. She was ruining the moment.

"Say it again." His voice projected the annoyance he'd felt that day. "And say it like you mean it!"

The woman dropped her gaze and fisted the fingers on her left hand so tightly her nails drew blood. For several long seconds, she remained silent.

The snap of the prod had her meeting his gaze.

"I love you."

"What is my name?"

"Craig. Your name is Craig. I love you, Craig."

"Again."

This time she looked directly at the camera and nearly screamed the words. "I love you, Craig!"

His erection hardened and finally he was able to take her. Though he'd been driven by powerful emotions, he was mindful of the all-seeing lens and careful to keep his face turned away from the camera.

She'd lain under him, the slip bunched around her waist, her body as still and cold as a lake in winter. His climax had come quickly, violently. He'd never felt so alive, so in the moment, and for those fleeting seconds the voices that always stalked him--told him he wasn't good enough--went silent.

Now as Craig viewed the tape for the hundredth time, the exquisite feelings he'd once enjoyed, like the tape, had faded.

The indefinable hunger that had tracked him for so many years had returned and the heavy weight of anticipation bore down on his chest. Lately, no matter how much he watched the tape, his darkest appetites clawed at his insides, begging to be satisfied.

"Damn." He hit REWIND and replayed the last few seconds, his thirst desperate to be quenched. "I love you, Craig. I love you, Craig. I love you, Craig."

Craig leaned toward the television and touched the image of her face. He traced her eyes and then her lips.

From the edge of the screen, the camera captured the tip of a gun barrel. The woman shrank back, trying to press herself through the wall.

Crying, she tried to crawl away, but the chain stopped her as he grabbed the wig and tossed it aside. He wrenched her upward. Her fingers clawed at his hand as she screamed and struggled to get free. He held on tight and raised the .38 to her temple.

He whispered, "I love you, Adrianna." The revolver's bullet tore through her brain. Blood splattered his face. She slumped forward, dead. His heart raged in his chest like a tornado.

Then he released her, stepped back, and watched as she crumpled to the floor. A second passed before the recording ended and the image turned to static snow.

Now Craig understood how much he'd fed off her terror. Her panic and those of the other two had invigorated his blood like a narcotic.

"I shouldn't have listened. I never should have let you go." He could have kept her tucked away down here for years.

If he'd known three years would pass until the next kill he'd have stowed her away and savored her all the more.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Frustrated, he shut off the television and turned his attention to the new digital camcorder he'd bought last week. It fit in the palm of his hand and had cost him a fortune but the kid in the electronics store had promised it would produce crystal-clear images guaranteed to last a lifetime.

"So clear you can see the pores on a face," the kid had said.

Craig palmed the camera, amazed at its compact size. Technology was a wonderful thing.

Pointing the camera toward the empty basement corner with the wood panel and loosely coiled chain, he hit RECORD. The red light clicked on. He taped for a few seconds before stopping and replaying the image on the camera's view screen. The kid had been right. The clear picture caught the grains in the faux wood and the threads in the brown carpet.

Craig glanced at the newly purchased pink silk slip and blond wig. He set the camera down and picked up the wig. He stroked the strands of real human hair dyed just the right shade of blond.

Imagine what detail he would capture when he filmed the next one. This camera wouldn't miss anything, and the images would surely satisfy him for years.

This time, this time, he'd not be in such a rush. The next one, he'd savor.

Craig glanced at the pocket calendar taped to the side of his filing cabinet. Twenty-four red X's marked through most of September. Anticipation burned like fire.

In just three days, it would be time again for hunting season.

In just three days, center stage would host a new actress to play his sweet Adrianna.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781420129083
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 178,354
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 30 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Dying Scream is a taut serial killer investigative thriller.

    The DUI shattered Adrianna Barrington's life as she lost the baby she was carrying and her husband Craig Thornton never came out of the coma. Although the other driver drunkenly caused the accident, Adrianna went bankrupt to pay the medical bills; finally leading to her selling her family estate.

    However, the buyer demands the family graveyard be relocated, but when the extraction begins, more bodies are found than should be there. Detective Gage Hudson investigates. Soon afterward three females who knew Craig vanish while Adrianna receives calls and cards from allegedly her dead husband claiming he misses his wife and will soon come for her.

    This is a tense romantic suspense that grips the audience from the moment Adrianna receives an anniversary card from the grave. The story line is fast paced throughout with the "required" romantic subplot taking a needed back seat to the thriller elements especially that of a serial killer who either is her husband whom the beleaguered heroine interred though he is not in his coffin or something or someone else playing Craig's life, but motive remains elusive. Dying Scream is a taut serial killer investigative thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Boo

    What a surprise that good old harriet kkausner once again ruins anither book with her excessive plot reveals. Come on bn, ban this pister already.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mary Burton Does it Again

    Mary Burton is showing true style and panache for the mystery/suspense/romance genre... Keep it up and Mary Higgins Clark will need to take a lesson or two....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    Like any other book that Mary Burton writes, this is a thriller that keeps you reading. Even though the plot that has a framework equal to her other thrillers, there is enough variation and diversity to read each book again as if totally new.
    This book is for people who are avid readers of detective novels.
    Yes I would recommend this book for club discussions.

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

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Roxanne

    I love rob zombie. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Chord to Rayne

    Thanks. I &hearts Muse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Great Series!

    Great Series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    Die screaming

    Very good reading

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  • Posted June 19, 2012

    what a terrific author

    I read the first book and liked it so much that I want back and have been buying all of this books. Really well written with twisted endings.

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  • Posted August 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    It is quite a thrill ride, but the ending bothers me

    Adrianna Barrington is a hard-working woman who owns an interior design business on the verge of selling her home to a doctor for more revenue, and to find another place. The home she is willing to sell is the old Thornton home, a home with much legacy to its name, and in order to sell, she must have graves removed from the private cemetery on the lot of the home. In this transition in her life, she receives menacing messages from her deceased husband, Craig Thornton, and she enlists the help of Gage Hudson, the hard-nosed detective of the story, to bring to light a couple unknown bodies in the cemetery and find out who is behind the eerie reminders of her husband. Meanwhile, a madman is going around kidnapping women of the past who had hurt both Craig Thornton and Adrianna Barrington, and making snuff videos with them.

    From the beginning of the book, it is a total thrill ride. Throughout the book, there's a mystery that lingers in the pages that makes the reader wonder how Craig, Adrianna's deceased husband, could be sending her threatening messages. The relationship between Gage and Adrianna is an intriguing touch to the story, Gage and Adrianna once dated while she and Craig had split up and she dumped the detective to go back to Craig. Now they are crossed once again on the case of the missing women found in the Thornton cemetery and their chemistry is always fascinating to observe, as is the chemistry between hard-as-nails forensics expert Tess Kier and Dr. Alex Butler. There are many twists and turns throughout the story, which keeps up the excitement for the duration of the novel, and the excitement never slows, making it an enjoyable read for thrills. One thing that bothered me about the novel was how the story tried so hard to make the reader believe that Craig Thornton had possibly faked his death somehow, fooling everyone he knew, when that wasn't the case at all. I understand that a good twist can be nice to catch a reader off guard and ignite a sense of amazement in the story, but the way Burton sets it up makes the reader believe that Thornton's death was faked the whole story only to have the end result be something not even remotely imaginable from any viewpoint. Twists are most effective when one can think of a time back in the story provides some kind of subtle, subliminal clue as to future events, such as The Usual Suspects when Verbal Kint is in the detective's office staring at the billboard on his wall. I won't divulge more of that for the sake of those who haven't seen the movie. But in this book, there is absolutely no clue, subtle or otherwise, that could make one even remotely think about the twist ahead. It just hits like an unexpected brick and that is bothersome. Aside from the bad, Shyamalan-esque twist, the novel is pretty enjoyable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful Read

    This book was great. It reminded me of all the reasons I love Mary Burton. I started reading and was immediately drawn into the story of Adrianna Barrington and couldn't wait to see how Ms. Burton was going to resolve the story. She is an incredible talent and I love to read her novels. I love her characters and who storytelling ability.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

    First Mary Burton book I've read

    This book made me want to read more of her novels. I loved the thrill and suspense. The characters were entertaining and interesting. However, I was sad that Alex and Tess (secondary characters) did not get their own story or at least more of their story told in this novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 24, 2011

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    Posted May 15, 2012

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    Posted November 6, 2010

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    Posted February 6, 2010

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    Posted January 8, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted June 1, 2011

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    Posted July 16, 2010

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