cover image The Shark

The Shark

Mary Burton. Amazon/Montlake Romance, $12.95 trade paper (395p) ISBN 978-1-5039-3447-4

Burton’s launches her Forgotten Files series with the dark tale of Riley Tatum, a Virginia state trooper who is still struggling to remember what happened when she was kidnapped in New Orleans as a teen. When she discovers a body that resembles her physically and has the same high-quality playing cards on it that were found on Riley years ago, she realizes that she might have escaped a worse fate than she imagined. The case also brings in Clay Bowman, formerly both an FBI agent and Riley’s lover, who is now working for the private contractor Shield Security. Their personal reconnection increases as their investigation reveals more about Riley’s past and the titular villain, a man who makes his opponents in card games ante up young girls whom they must kill if they lose. Burton throws in a number of twists and a nice variety of characters, including Riley’s foster daughter, Hanna; Shield’s eponymous founder; and Duke, Riley’s father figure, who helped her get her life back together. This romantic thriller is tense, sexy, and pleasingly complex. Agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill Associates. (May)