The Smallest Mistake
Three went in; one came out. For five years, no trace has been found of two high-school friends who went hiking in the woods near Nashville. The third teen, Amber Ryder, was discovered at the bottom of a ravine with a broken arm, head traumaand zero memory of the horror that put her there.
Will Put You
What started as a cold case has become a fresh hell for forensic technician Georgia Morgan. Another woman's body is found in the woods, and it leads to the missing teens' remains. But while Georgia works with Amber to try and reawaken her memories, her gut tells her the worst is yet to come.
At A Killer's Mercy
Homicide Detective Jake Bishop can't be sure whether Amber is an expert manipulator or the killer's next target. Either way, he's determined to protect Georgia. Because the deeper she digs into the past, the deadlier the secrets that emerge, and a nightmare years in the making is about to come to a bloody, terrifying end…
Praise for Mary Burton's You're Not Safe
"Burton once again demonstrates her romantic suspense chops with this taut novel." Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Mary Burton lives with her family in Central Virginia. She is an avid hiker and enjoys the occasional triathlon. She can be reached by e-mail at www.maryburton.com.
Read an Excerpt
By MARY BURTON
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Mary Burton
All rights reserved.
Monday, October 2, 1:05 A.M.
Wrapping her hand around the microphone, the musical notes moved inside of Georgia Morgan's head and heart as she closed her eyes. Her voice caressed the melody of "Blue Velvet" and a hush fell over the thinning crowd in Rudy's, a honky-tonk on South Broadway. She transfixed them all with the smooth melodic words infused with layers of feelings few saw when she wasn't on the stage.
In these moments, Georgia wasn't simply singing but reaching out to her birth mother, Annie, whose single legacy to her only child was her golden voice. There were a few photographs, but no memories of the blond songstress who vanished thirty-two years ago, leaving behind an estranged husband, a secret lover, and a wailing infant.
Georgia gripped the microphone, angling her mouth close as moody emotions entwined the words, sculpting fresh angles and adding layers of dimensions. In her mind, the music became vibrant shades of reds, blues, and greens exploding like fireworks.
Georgia's salute to Annie in no way diminished her love for the Morgans, the clan she joined when she was five days old when her late father, homicide detective Buddy Morgan, carried her away from Annie's bloody cinderblock home. Buddy and his wife, Adele, threaded her easily into their family already bustling with three active boys. They never hid her past. Georgia knew about Annie, understood her roots. She and her family considered her a Morgan. Period.
But when she sang, the music so rooted in her soul took hold, and for a few minutes, Annie came alive, not only for her daughter, but for all those who still remembered her.
The song slowly wound down and the guitarist played the last delicate chords. The room was silent, still gripped by the music. Georgia waited a few more beats and then she opened her eyes. Her vision focused. And she was back.
Georgia settled the microphone in its cradle, and rolled her shoulders, breaking the tension. She shouldn't have stayed so late tonight for the extra set. But the allure of the music had been strong.
As she stepped back from the microphone, the crowd clapped, whooped, and hollered. A few rose to their feet and applauded. She swept her hand toward the grizzled guitarist behind her and smiled as she said into the microphone, "Y' all give a big thanks to Freddie for letting me sit in on his set."
The audience cheered and both Georgia and Freddie stood side by side as the applause settled.
"Nice set, Georgia," Freddie said, as he stuck his pick into the guitar strings. He wore torn jeans, scuffed boots with a hole in the sole, and a faded black T-shirt he'd worn for years. To look at the guy, few would realize he played with some of the best country music artists in Nashville.
She brushed a long thick lock of red hair away from her forehead and tugged at the edges of a black silk top that hugged full breasts and caressed designer jeans that molded her figure. "Thanks, Freddie."
"It's always fun when you sing. Like having Annie back," he rasped. "You should stop by more often."
"You're a charmer, Freddie." She slid her hands into pockets trimmed in rhinestones as she glanced at the metal tip of her red ankle-high cowboy boots. "I could hear the lack of practice in my voice tonight. I was all over the place."
He shook his head, the single gold earring in his left ear catching the light. "A few times I closed my eyes and I could hear your mama. Like she was standing right here."
She winked at the guitarist whom she suspected had been half in love with Annie. When Annie's murder case was reopened two years ago, the media had elevated the singer to the likes of James Dean or Patsy Cline. Beautiful, talented, and stolen from the world before her star could fully rise. Dozens still approached her to share their stories of Annie, who was loved by so many. Georgia always smiled and thanked them.
Freddie patted his flat palm over the inlaid wood of his guitar. "Don't be a stranger. Everyone likes having you here."
Laughter rumbled in her chest as she reached behind an amplifier and grabbed her purse. "Flattery wins my heart every time. But I'm not a singer. Catching bad guys is what charges my batteries. See you, sugar."
Georgia was a forensic technician with the Nashville Police Department. She had been on the job nearly a decade and had proven herself to be detailed and driven. The consummate professional in the courtroom whom defense attorneys could not rattle.
She cut through the crowd, pausing to accept a couple of good wishes. She was never good with receiving compliments or attention, so she smiled, thanked everyone like her parents taught her and kept moving with no real need to strike up a conversation.
She moved up to the bar where KC Kelly, a tall, bald, broad-shouldered man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, polished a set of whiskey glasses fresh from the dishwasher. KC had been her late father's partner in homicide for over twenty-five years. When he retired, he bought Rudy's from the previous owner who had created a place where tourists and locals flocked to hear the up-and-coming talent. When KC took over the honky-tonk, cops initially came to show support for one of their own. Many discovered they liked Rudy's and that KC could really run a bar. And so the tourists, locals, and cops kept returning to the safest South Broadway bar in Nashville.
"Did good tonight, kid," he said. "The crowd loved you." He pushed a fresh glass with ice and diet soda toward her.
She took a long sip. "Thanks for letting me share the stage. The day job has been crazy lately, and I haven't had much time. It was fun."
"So I hear big brother gave you a cold case," KC said.
Big brother was Deke Morgan, who now ran the Nashville Police Homicide Department. He was joined by her other brother, Rick Morgan, who also worked in the same unit. Third brother, Alex, was the outlier. He worked for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, or TBI.
"I should be more careful when I ask for extra work." She scooped up a handful of nuts from a bowl on the bar and popped them in her mouth. "It's taken me weeks to read through the files."
"Deke tells me Dalton Marlowe is putting the squeeze on everyone," KC said.
Dalton Marlowe was a very rich man whose son was one of three teens who went into Percy Warner Park five years ago. The students, from an exclusive high school called St. Vincent, went hiking in the southwest Nashville park that covered twenty-six hundred acres of wooded land crisscrossed by a dozen backroad trails, bike paths, and dead end roads. Their plan was to collect data for a science project and return home by dark.
When the teens had not reported in that night, search crews had been dispatched. At the end of the second day, volunteers found one of the kids, Amber Ryder, at the bottom of a ravine. Her arm was badly broken and she suffered a head injury. When she woke up in the hospital the next day, she swore she had no memory of what had happened in the woods. Search crews continued to look for weeks but the two other students, Bethany Reed and Mike Marlowe, were never found.
Mr. Marlowe has been pressing the Missing Persons Unit relentlessly for answers. This year, he again made a sizable donation to the police foundation, a kind of gesture that expects a return. Marlowe was clear that he didn't want to hear any more bullshit theories about his son Mike and Bethany running off like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet.
"So Deke's balls are in a vise with the mayor?" KC asked.
She shrugged. "He's getting a hell of a lot of pressure from City Hall, but it doesn't look like it's fazed him. He hopes to kill two birds with one stone. Give me a cold case that I've been clamoring for and pacify the powers that be. It's a win all the way around."
"I was still on the job then. But because the case was considered a missing persons investigation, homicide never got a crack at it. I think they pulled Buddy in once."
"Well, it's now being investigated as a homicide."
"Too bad your old man and I didn't get a real crack at it."
"I wish you had. So far, I've got eighty hours invested in reading witness statements, search crew reports, interviews, and examining the forensic data."
Dark eyes sharpened as they did when he'd been on a homicide investigation. "What about that kid that survived?"
"Amber Ryder. I tracked down her number through her mother, Tracy. The woman wasn't thrilled to see me or talk, but she gave me a phone number. I've called it a couple of times but so far no return calls."
A tall waitress with dark brown hair signaled KC she had an order. He filled three steins with beer and set them in front of her. As he moved back toward Georgia, he faced the register and punched in the order. "You working the case alone?"
Georgia swirled her drink in the glass. "No, as luck would have it, Deke has assigned Jake Bishop to the case with me."
"He's a solid cop."
He shook his head, understanding that stubborn ran as deep in Georgia as it did in her brothers and her late father. "So, what now? You don't want to share?"
"Not that. Jake irritates me."
Amusement tweaked the edges of his lips. "How so?"
She leaned forward. "Started flirting with me in the last year. Hell, I stayed off his radar just fine and then suddenly I'm right in the middle after he caught one of my shows here."
"That so bad?"
She held up a finger as if reading her lists of cons. "He's a cop and I've always made it a policy not to date cops."
"My late wife never had any issues with being married to a cop."
"Well, Deb was a saint and we both know I'm not. I watched Mom do it with Dad and I don't want any part of that."
He pulled a bar rag from his shoulder and wiped up the few peanut shells she'd dropped. "I don't think he's looking to put a ring on your finger."
"No, he's looking for a roll in the hay and I don't need a quickie with a guy that will forget me before his pants are zipped."
KC's laughter rumbled. "Jesus, Georgia, ever thought that you might not be so easy to live with."
She held up her hands in surrender. "No arguments here, KC. Not a one. Which is why I don't need any more cops in my life."
"You got him wrong, kid."
She took a long sip of soda. When she was down to ice, she crunched a few pieces between her teeth. "Don't care. My focus is the case and the case alone."
"Have you found anything the old teams missed?"
"Nothing so far. They didn't leave a stone unturned. And none of those guys gets any criticism from me. Hard to solve a case when you don't have bodies, no suspects, and a witness with no memory."
"You really think you can crack the case after all this time?"
She shrugged. "It's only been five years. Maybe someone knows something and will talk. Maybe Amber Ryder will call me back and tell me she's remembered something."
Skepticism deepened the lines of his face. "Amber always said she never could recall a single detail about what happened in the woods."
She fished through the nuts in the bowl searching for a cashew. "Her testimony was consistent throughout the police files."
"She was a suspect, but her unwavering testimony won over a lot of cops."
She tipped her glass up, drinking until she drained the last bit of liquid. "Could be as simple as she was telling the truth."
Carrie, a tall, thin waitress, wore a tight red Rudy's T-shirt and figure-hugging jeans, placed a drink order with KC. "Georgia, long time no see."
"Looking good, Carrie. How's the baby?"
"Fat and happy. Two months old now."
"Time goes fast." Georgia noticed the dark blue bruise ringing Carrie's forearm. Last she heard from KC, Carrie had broken up with the boyfriend that liked to pepper her with bruises. "You still seeing Hal?"
Carrie turned so the bruise was no longer visible. "Yeah. He loves the baby."
"So much he puts bruises on her mother."
Carrie's skin pinked with embarrassment. "It's not like that. Got this from an accident."
How many times had Georgia had this conversation with Carrie? Too tired to argue, Georgia grabbed a napkin and a pen from behind the bar and scrawled her name and cell phone number on it. "When you and the baby are ready to leave, call me. You can stay at my place."
Carrie shook her head, her eyes wide with panic. "It's not like that. Hal loves me."
"Put the napkin in your pocket. One day you might decide that love doesn't have to hurt like that."
Carrie crushed the napkin, but she tucked it in her jeans pocket before arranging the beers on her tray.
Nodding, Georgia flattened her palms on the bar, wanting to scream at the woman but unwilling to repeat what she had said a dozen times before.
A frowning KC filled the order. "Go on and get those served."
"Sure thing, KC." She offered them both an apologetic smile before she hurried away.
"Damn it," Georgia muttered.
"I know what you're thinking."
A wry grin twisted her lips as she turned from the waitress now smiling at two middle-aged men dressed in flannel and jeans. "And you know it's not legal to track old Hal down and run him over with a car."
"No, it's not." No doubt KC had noticed the bruises and spoken his piece to the waitress.
"Yeah. Too bad."
KC refilled Georgia's glass.
Hard not to see what was coming. "Hal is gonna kill her or that baby one day. It's a matter of time."
"I've talked to her until I'm blue." He rested his big hands gently on the bar.
"I know," she said.
KC shrugged, chasing the fresh tension knotting his shoulders. "So when do you and Bishop start on the case?"
Crunching ice, she thought about the five calls from Bishop now on her voice mail. As she raised her glass to her lips, fatigue crawled up her spine and reminded her she'd not slept in over twenty hours. "Tomorrow. We're meeting with Deke. He's wrapping up another homicide."
KC flipped a white bar towel over his shoulder. "Don't you think you better get some sleep?"
"It would be the logical thing." As Georgia slid off the bar stool, her brain hummed with nervous energy from the performance. A live gig always left her juiced and thinking she could run a marathon. Experience told her that the adrenaline crash would come in about an hour. Just enough time to get home and fall into bed.
Turning to leave, she caught sight of a tall, slim, athletic woman with shoulder-length blond hair and blue eyes. She wore an oversized sweater, jeans, and heeled brown cowboy boots. A backpack slung over her left shoulder, the woman approached Georgia.
She paused. "Can I help you?"
"You're Georgia Morgan?"
"Amber Ryder. You've called me a couple of times."
The name took her by surprise. "Wow, Amber Ryder. Sorry to looked so shocked. I wasn't expecting you out of the blue like this. Or you to be so blond."
Amber tightened her grip around the strap of her backpack. "I changed the hair a couple of years ago. New start."
After the case of the missing teens hit the airways, Amber was besieged with reporters as well as haters who did not believe her story. According to police reports filed, bricks were thrown through her mother's front window and she was harassed and chased several times. Some distrusted her. Some pitied her. But everyone, good or bad, had weighed in with an opinion about Amber Ryder. Finally, forced to drop out of high school, she homeschooled herself until a Good Samaritan offered her a scholarship to the University of Texas and she left Nashville for good.
"How did you find me?" Georgia asked.
"I called the station. They said you were singing tonight."
She wondered who had given out her location to a stranger. Wondered who would get an earful.
"You said you're reopening the case."
Georgia rose off her barstool. "That's right. We're going to be treating the case as a homicide now."
"You found the bodies?"
Amber nodded toward an empty booth. "Can we sit in one of the booths? I'm starving and could use a meal."
"Yeah, sure." Amber had done more than change her black hair to blond. Gone were the thick bangs and heavy eye makeup that made her pale skin look sallow, the multiple piercings in her left ear, and the half dozen rings on her fingers. Now, natural gold-blond hair and faint traces of mascara accentuated vivid blue eyes and a peaches-and-cream complexion as smooth as a stone.
Georgia caught KC's gaze and noted the raised eyebrow. He was curious as well. Sights set on an empty booth, she led Amber to it and stood waiting until the woman lowered into the seat.
This unexpected meeting had Georgia thumbing through all the questions she wanted to ask Amber. Instead, she raised her hand toward Carrie. "Can I get two menus? Starving."
Carrie grabbed a couple of menus and came toward the table. "Don't you want the regular?"
Excerpted from Vulnerable by MARY BURTON. Copyright © 2016 Mary Burton. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Held my interest to very end
I simply loved it .
Vulnerable is the fourth book in the Morgans of Nashville series by Mary Burton, but the first one that I have read. I did not have a problem following the story and this book can definitely be read as a standalone novel, but I will go back and read the rest. After quickly perusing them, they will tell the stories of Georgia's three brothers. Five years ago three teenagers went into the woods to work on a school project. When the they didn't return home there was a massive search which found only one of them. Amber Ryder was located at the bottom of a ravine with a broken arm, serious head trauma causing a grade three concussion and amnesia. The last thing she remembers happened three days prior to entering the woods. Many in the town did not believe her and the father of one of the victims was sure she had killed him. She left town and headed to Dallas Texas where she was living and working when she was contacted by Georgia Morgan. Georgia has reopened the cold case determined to find out what happened to the two missing teens. When the body of a young girl is found by a hiker and his dog in a small cave in the woods, Georgia makes gruesome discovery at the site. Sealed in a back area of the cave she finds the missing remains of the case she had just opened. The killer has returned. Georgia is teamed up with Homicide Detective Jake Bishop to untangle the clues and put the killer behind bars once and for all. Jake is know as a bit of a houndog, and Georgia has no intention of becoming another notch on his bedpost. The banter between the two of them is refreshing and it does not take the reader long to figure out where this is heading. This the romance in the "romantic suspense label", however it is not a huge part of the book. I enjoyed getting to know these two characters. The author gave a lot of information and their backstories which made me like them very much. Georgia is a bit of a soft touch. Having been rescued as a young child herself, she fights for the underdog, which might just put her in harms way. Jake is the skeptic. He trusts his gut feelings and wants to protect Georgia as well as solve this case. This book is full of twists and turns that are sure to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I read this book in two days because I wanted to see what happened next. I will say that I did figure out who the mastermind was, but the ending still surprised me. Overall, this book was a great thriller that I certainly recommend. Now off to find out what the story is with the rest of the Morgan family. Thank you to Kensington for generously providing me with a copy of this book to read.
The opening scene is downright creepy. A pervert manages to awaken the sexy side of young Elisa, a stranger who had shared a few cups of coffee. The scene that started as hot and sexy becomes cruel, then scary, and finally fatal. The stranger thinks to himself there are many Elisa’s. That is just the start of this horrific tale! The story in some ways is familiar. Young girls getting attention from a charm who sprays them with compliments. The warnings from others are ignored with the usual comment, “I know what I’m doing.” Warnings that morph into realistic out-of-control attack and then death! Georgia Morgan is a forensic technician working with the Nashville Police Department. She’s known as superb at her work and never gets rattled when testifying at trials. She’s also a sexy singer on the side. Now Amber, the only girl to survive the disappearance of three young girls in the woods near Nashville, appears and wants to find the girls who were never recovered. Georgia wonders why Amber, who had a very bad concussion from the event, would return to get involved in what she can’t remember. Amber was suspected of knowing more than she was saying, so much so that she went out of town and got a college degree. But now that she’s returned, how can she possibly help? She gets mugged on her first night home. But the tale is really only just beginning for Amber knows so much more than she is letting on and bad liars leave traces of their activities. The reader, however, will be unable to figure out Amber’s role in the kidnapping and murders as well as her motives and those of a guilty male. It’s a great story but it’s definitely not a romance! It has just enough spins and twists to keep the reader guessing. Very fine, realistic murder mystery!
A well-written book with lots of suspense. The Morgan family of Nashville cops has been called in on an old case. A cold case involving the disappearance of two teens has been handed to Georgia Morgan, forensic technician with the Nashville Police Department, and Jake Bishop, detective. The disappearance occurred five years ago but the father of one of the teens is wealthy and is pressuring police for action. Three teens went into the woods but only one came out and she is claiming amnesia. The father is not buying this. At the same time, a young woman has disappeared from a college campus and was last seen in the company of a street musician. Detectives had no way of knowing that these two cases would soon be linked to a psychopathic killer.
I really enjoyed this suspenseful story that had me all tangled up in its web. Georgia is given a cold case to dig around in and boy does she dig in, barely getting out. She is teamed up with Detective Jake Bishop who she has a love hate relationship with. As they get further into the case, a few twists and turns later has you wishing the story would go on but thus the end has came. A great addition to the series. I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Everything you could look for in a romantic suspense. Vulnerable is part of the Morgans of Nashville series which involves siblings who work in different departments of Tennessee Law Enforcement. There are three brothers and one adopted sister, Georgia, who is the youngest. Georgia Morgan is a Crime Scene Investigator. Her older brother Deke assigns her a cold homicide case from five years ago and all heck breaks lose. Georgia is a top notch CSI and she is partnered with a hot-tempered but very good homicide detective named Jake Bishop who comes from Boston. Together, they are a combustible combination of part-time singer and full-time hard nose cop. Mary Burton does an amazing job of tossing in just enough shady characters to make it very difficult to figure out who murdered two teens five years ago. It doesn’t help that their bodies were never found and that there is a third person who doesn’t have any memory of what happened due to a concussion that she suffered at the time. Throw in some mommy issues, domestic violence, and the classic tale of being from the other side of the tracks and the plot gets rather thick. As fresh bodies start turning up, the suspect pool increases. Somehow, Georgia’s cold case starts getting really warm in a hurry. An unexpected spark between Georgia and Jake makes things even more intriguing. With the pace of the investigation escalating, it was a race to see if Georgia and Jake would end up between the sheets before or after the investigation comes to a head. You’ll have to read the book to find out the answer to that but I can assure you that it was fun to watch. As the killer began to come into the light, I found a lot of hidden clues that I overlooked. There are a lot of layers you have to be peeled back to understand exactly what happened and why. Some of the plot twists, you just can’t see coming and that is the hallmark of any good mystery. I was guessing until the very end. And man, was the ending action-packed. Vulnerable had everything that I look for in a romantic suspense. It was well-rounded and I felt like I got to know each of the main characters. Note, while Vulnerable is the fourth book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. **Received a copy from Kensington Books in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
A great addition to the Morgan's of Nashville series with little sister, Georgia taking center stage this time. Filled with intrigue and keeps you guessing to see who the guilty party is, and why! Five years ago, three high school friends went into the woods at a park to collect data for a science project. A couple of days later, one is found injured at the bottom of a ravine, and the other two are never found. Georgia Morgan, forensic tech for Nashville Police Department is reopening this cold case with Homicide Detective, Jake Bishop's help. Shortly after they start interviewing people again, another young woman's body is found in that same park, murdered and placed in a small cave. While collecting evidence in the cave, they stumble across the bones of the other two kids bodies from 5 years ago! Will they be able to figure out who is hurting these young people before danger strikes again?
Forensic Technician Georgia Morgan is called to the crime scene of a young woman who was found in a cave. During her preliminary examination still in the cave, she discovers two more bodies in another chamber. The remains belong to two teenagers who have been missing for 5 years. The only survivor from that time was found at the bottom of the hill with a broken leg, a concussion, and no memory of anything that happened. When Georgia calls Amber to let her know that her friends have been found, she shows up hoping that this will close the door to that part of her life. Detective Jake Bishop has his doubts about Amber, but nothing concrete. She's either a master manipulator, a murderer, or as innocent as a newborn lamb. The twists and turns just keep popping up. Just when I thought I had it figured out, I was dragged into another direction altogether. As with all of Mary Burton's books, it is very well written. Her characters are always multi-layered, enticing the reader to learn more about them. Georgia, as her family will attest to, is a firecracker. She's very good at what she does, and will go to any lengths to find the truth about what happened to these teens. Her partner, Bishop, is not so trusting of people ... but he does trust his gut feelings. And as they get closer to the truth, more bodies fall and Georgia becomes a target, leading to an explosive ending. This is a Romantic Suspense with an intriguing blend of suspense and spicy romance. Many thanks to the author / Kensington Books / NetGalley who provided a digital copy in exchange for a honest, unbiased review.
Wealth, poverty, intelligence, sex, cunning, family and murder all play parts in the solving of a recently reopened cold case in Nashville. Five years earlier three young people went into the woods but only one came out – the other two were never seen again. Five years later a young woman murdered and found in a cave opens new doors of inquiry for the old cold case. Files are opened, read and scrutinized. The team follows leads from the past and present looking for the murderer of the young people wondering if the same person killed all three. Georgia and Jake are the main couple of interest in this book. Georgia is the only sister of three older brothers and works in forensics. She is paired with Jake Bishop to work on the cold case. Their awareness of one another grows as they work in close proximity with one another during the case. There are interactions while on the job and off the clock, with family and friends and also with potential suspects. This was an easy read and interesting. I have to say I was fairly certain who the murderer was early on in the story but wanted to find out why…and…I am not really certain I know WHY even though I finished the book. I sometimes think evil is just that – evil – and there is no valid explanation for why evil people do what they do. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC to read and review.
Intriguing, arresting and analytical story about the police investigation during a multiple murder case. This is the book four in the series, and in the bright lights is now Georgia Morgan, the adopted daughter of the family. The tale is told from several different points of views, giving a good rounded picture of the event escalating around the murders. To be able to handle the constant crime, devastation, and injustice of their jobs, the law enforcement holds their feelings close to their hearts, not letting them show at the job site. This cold, emotionless, facts only attitude carries through the book, also to the reader, making it hard to connect with the characters. Georgia was supposed to be the fire-cracker of the family, but her manners, temper, and behavior were very much in check at all times. The crimes committed themselves are interesting, the whodunit question is in the air, and the answers are not that clear. I wish there would have been more closure for the crime as well at the end of the story. The romance was more on of an afterthought, a shadow at the back of the story. There are a couple of sex scenes in the book, some between other characters in the story, as well as between Georgia and Jake. Those scenes didn't seem to fit well into the story, the flow, or the tune. Might be added just because of it, came to mind. I have read one of the previous books of the series, and enjoyed it immensely. This story is good, it is well written, and the crimes are hideous, gruesome, and grim. The investigation is very organized, with gripping details. But it is missing the spark, the deep emotions the characters have to be feeling, faced with the situation they are in, the depth of a story, that will lure the reader into the tale, and keep the hold tight. I think it was a good story, but it had the potential to be great ~ Three Spoons