The victim is a prominent member of society, found in the backyard of his gated, secure estate. He’s been dismembered, and alongside his body is a message. Julia
Special Agent Will Brannock works for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. Julia’s assigned to be his liaison to the police department, and she’s impressed with his no-nonsense approach to the job, his attention to detail, and his skill at putting all the pieces together. But off-duty Will’s a completely different animal: casual, charming, breezy. He likes to fish and drink beer, and flirt with Julia. She can’t get a handle on him; whether he’s in a silk suit or jeans and t-shirt, he looks like a model but there’s something about him that’s hard to pin down. And all the while, they’re in a race against time, to catch a deranged madman…
Beverly Barton’s Don’t Say a Word is compelling and cringe-worthy, a procedural who-done-it with enough twists and turns and possible culprits to keep you guessing. At the same time, Will and Julia are winsome people caught in a larger-than-life situation. They love their dogs and their families, and are learning how to let themselves love each other. The pages pulse with their conversations, and all the while, I felt a wistful sense of bittersweetness reading this.
This book has been published posthumously. Beverly Barton died in April of 2011; a bright shining light in the world of romance fiction that was extinghished too soon. I saw her speak at a conference once; her exact words elude me, but she told a story in that southern accent and with those twinkly eyes that had the entire room guffawing, putty in her hands. She was a lovely person and a terrific writer.
Don't Say a Word is a fitting tribute to a master craftswoman. Her books live on, and we can sadly wonder at what else she had in store for her Chattanooga detectives.
Melanie Murray is a writer and editor, and the moderator of Romantic Reads, BN.com's all-romance, all-the-time community forum. You can follow her on Twitter at @Melanie_Murray and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.
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