cover image Don’t Say a Word

Don’t Say a Word

Beverly Barton. Kensington/Zebra, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-1-4201-1037-1

The late Barton (1946–2011) returns to Chattanooga and the characters of 2010’s Don’t Cry for her solid final romantic suspense novel. Once again, a serial killer is loose in the city, and the investigators at the center are Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent Will Brannock and recently relocated cop Julia Cass (sister of the first book’s hero, J.D.). The hunt for the creepy killer—dubbed the “Tongue Slasher” in the press due to his gruesome techniques—is balanced against the romantic tension between Will and Julia. Will has a dark past, and that plus Julia’s first impression of him as a womanizer keep the mutually attracted law officers apart. Barton neatly juggles multiple points of view, carrying forward plot lines from the previous book as well as expanding the potential pool of suspects. Some of the characterizations fall a bit flat, but Barton keeps things moving too quickly to let the occasional bump interfere with the core story. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Aug.)