cover image The Hangman: Forgotten Files, Book 3

The Hangman: Forgotten Files, Book 3

Mary Burton. Montlake Romance, $12.95 trade paper (385p) ISBN 978-1-50394-369-8

Burton’s disquieting third Forgotten Files tale (after The Dollmaker) is a gut-wrenching romantic thriller. Virginia State Police Agent Julia Vargas is cool and collected on the outside but secretly haunted by her last undercover assignment, which left her with physical and mental scars, and her personal obsession with solving the high-profile Hangman serial killer case. The murders stopped in 1992, when Julia’s detective father committed suicide, spurring rumors that he was the killer. When a woman who threatened Julia is killed Hangman-style in Richmond, homicide detective Tobias Novak—who happens to be Julia’s occasional lover—is assigned to the case, and they work diligently to put the puzzle pieces together. As Tobias patiently nudges Julia toward more than just clandestine hookups, Julia is flattered, but she puts him off: “You’re nice and normal; I’m crazy with issues.” The nail-biting moments are even more tense because the reader knows the killer’s motives while the characters do not. Newcomers and fans alike will enjoy the slow-burning passion and dangerous action in this gritty tale, as the law enforcement lovers discover that romance is as satisfying as solving a case. Agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill Associates. (May)