“Walking Dead Man”
My aunt died suddenly at age 52. My uncle was out of town and later swore that she’d called and talked to him on the phone an hour after the coroner said she died. He is a very matter-of-fact guy, not prone to vivid flights of imagination, and this bothered him a lot. He didn’t know what to believe – that the dead could talk, or that he was losing his mind
In Mary Burton’s gripping and suspenseful “Dying Scream,” Adrianna Thornton can’t trust her own senses. Just as she’s about to put the past behind her, she starts hallucinating. What else can she call it when she hears her dead husband’s voice, when the scent of his cologne haunts her?
As the last surviving member of the wealthy Thornton family, she wants to sell the estate and move on. When a corpse is found on the Thornton property, the clues point to Adrianna’s husband, Craig, as the murderer. Only he can’t be connected to the crimes – because women are still dying. Cards and flowers arrive purporting to be from Craig, and Adrianna fears she’s losing her mind. And the detective assigned to the case is not a man she’s likely to confide in.
Detective Gage Hudson never trusted Craig Thornton, and it wasn’t just because he married the woman Gage wanted – he suspected Thornton was a psychopath. Craig Thornton was bad news, and Gage hadn’t mourned when the creep died and left Adrianna a widow. But when bodies start turning up on the Thornton estate, Gage is torn. He’d give anything to prove Thornton’s guilt, but he doesn’t want Adrianna hurt.
Gage suspects Adrianna is at the core of the mystery – either she’s involved up to her pearl-clad neck, or she’s the next victim. Gage has to find the murderer before he strikes again – and there’s more at risk than he suspects.
In “Dying Scream,” Mary Burton has written a mystery/suspense/thriller wrapped in a romance. But while the romance is important, the mystery is the focus. You never forget that lives are at stake, and then there’s the 100-thousand-dollar question: is Craig dead or alive? If you like mysteries seasoned with romance . . .
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As I read “Dying Scream,” the thought running through my head wasn’t “Will Adrianna and Gage get their happy ending?” It was “Who is killing these women, and how will they catch him?” But then I like mystery as much as romance. Do you like mystery with threads of romance or a romance with elements of mystery? How would you define romantic suspense?