cover image Before She Dies

Before She Dies

Mary Burton. Kensington/Zebra, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-1-4201-1021-0

Burton’s latest romantic suspense will have readers sleeping with the lights on. Charlotte Wellington escaped her life as a carnival fortune-teller at age 16, after her sister’s murder. She also left behind her infant niece, Sooner. Now, 18 years later, Charlotte has become an ice-veneered defense attorney in Alexandria, Va. Her secret background catches up with her when her stepfather pulls his carnival into Alexandria, and Sooner is the new Madame Divine. Meanwhile, Det. Daniel Rokov, Charlotte’s strictly sex-only-no-commitment lover, is working on the murder case of a woman staked in an abandoned building, “witch” crudely tattooed on her forehead. When a second ritualistic murder occurs, Charlotte worries that Sooner could be next. The terrifying viewpoint of the killer, who tortures his victims and has reserved stakes for Charlotte and Sooner, adds tension to this well-paced thriller with a gloss of romance. (Feb.)