Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton

Title:  The Heart of a Killer
Author: Jaci Burton
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: - 
Main Characters: Dante & Anna
Release Date: November 2011

Publisher: Mira
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Story Overview:
Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.
The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

My Review:
It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Jaci Burton's Play-by-Play series, but I haven't ever read any of her other work, so I wasn't sure when I saw that she was writing romantic suspense, whether it was going to be for me or not. Well, it's official...Jaci Burton simply writes books that I LOVE! OMG, this book was good!!

Twelve years ago, Anna was attacked while taking out the trash at the ice cream parlor where she worked. Inside were the gang of 4 foster boys that were her closest friends, including her boyfriend Dante. When they realized that she was being attacked, they ganged up on the man who attacked her and accidentally ended up killing him. That night shattered their lives and tore them all apart as they covered up the crime with the help of Anna's police detective father. They haven't all been together since, until Dante comes home to help celebrate the boys' foster parents anniversary. Suddenly there are a string of murders happening that are directly related to that original crime that occurred twelve years ago and no one knows what's going on.

There are quite a few suspense lines going on in this book besides the serial murder suspense story. There is mystery around exactly what a couple of the boys have been doing in the last 12 years. There is mystery as to what exactly happened between Dante and Anna's father to cause him to leave so abruptly. There is the suspense of the trauma that Anna still feels from the original attack. Then there is the suspense of a romance between Dante and Anna that you only hope will be able to get back on track after 12 years apart because these two truly still love each other. The problem is that the last 12 years have left them both horribly scarred emotionally.

Personally, I thought that I had the murder suspense line figured out after the second murder and I was right...that never happens. LOL! But I was definitely second-guessing who I thought did it right up until the reveal. Whoa! Such a fabulous book. I loved the cast of characters and the story line with the four foster boys that became basically brothers. There is one of those boys left besides Dante (I won't say who because I don't want to spoil anything,) but I am really truly hopeful that Jaci will find it necessary to write his story. OMG, I want his story...there is a LOT going on there!

But at the heart, this is a romance novel and it was romance at the highest level. Anna took these four boys under her wings and protected them when they were all pretty young. She is a protector and cares about people, but after her attack, she became a harder person. Not different...just harder. She didn't let people get close to her anymore and she became a detective so she deals with some real low-lifes. Dante has spent the last 12 years, working black ops for the military doing some really awful jobs as basically a killer. Yep, he has some issues too, especially as he realizes how emotionally traumatized that Anna still is from the attack. With anyone else, neither one of these people would have a chance at a successful relationship, but they have a level of trust between them that was there before all the emotional scarring took place. It's a small kernel, but it allows their love to grow.

Like I said, really good romance! I need to check Jaci Burton's backlist and see if she has any other romantic suspense. Regardless, from now on, Jaci is on my auto-buy list...any genre!


Anonymous said...

I haven't been able to start her Play-by-Play series but I'm hoping to read those sooner than later! I know that you really enjoyed them and I'm glad this book didn't disappoint you! :-) I'm happy to see so many authors who will work in different genres and that their readers can enjoy them all. Like Gena Showalter, I love that kind of talent. :-D

Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

This is one of the few NetGalley's I have left and I can't wait to read it! Oh yep I am sooooooooooooooooooo looking forward to it :)

I loved the Play-by-Play series :)