October 17, 2011

No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

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?

Author: Jaci Burton
Series: The Killer series, book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: MIRA Books (Harlequin)
Year of release: 2011, October 18
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received an ARC from author for review

First line:
He shouldn't have come home. (chose first line of Ch 1, not the prologue)

Memorable Scenes:
- the prologue > I was immediately hooked
- the love scenes > there weren't many but those that were there were exquisite
- suspense wrap-up scene > nail-bitingly awesome

Anna Pallino is headstrong and fierce, sharp, tough and tenacious. Ever since the attack 12 years ago she has PTSD-induced panic attacks but she doesn’t let that hinder her in any way. I loved Anna as the heroine of THE HEART OF A KILLER.

Dante Renaldi is protective and mysterious. I connected more with Anna than with Dante and this was probably because of this air of mystery that surrounded him and the way he kept his feelings close to himself.

The romance is subtle as the focus in THE HEART OF A KILLER is more on the suspense but the subtlety did bring that perfect balance between romance and suspense I look for in romantic suspense novels. The love scenes are excellently done, though there aren't many the ones that are in the book are plenty sexy because of the simmering chemistry between Anna and Dante. They fit the romance perfectly and follow the characters' emotional path throughout the book seamlessly.

As usual with romantic suspense, there are quite some secondary characters. They way Jaci Burton used all these characters in the plot was awesome. She really surprised me with some of the twists and choices and I love to be surprised when it comes to secondary characters. Gabe, one of Dante’s foster brothers, especially intrigued me and I hope he'll get his own story in this series.

The prologue immediately grabbed me and set the pace and premise: gritty and action-packed yet with room for a little romance. Within 50 pages I was totally immersed in the suspense that was brilliantly set up from the start. It was not too mysterious and not too revealing either, giving me enough rope to form suspicions, some of which were spot-on, yet leaving room for some utterly unexpected turn of events.

This is my first encounter with Jaci Burton's full-length work. I read some contemporary e-novellas some years ago. Since then I bought her backlist as I liked her writing style and I’m so glad my intuition was right. In THE HEART OF A KILLER she does a great job of penning down a romantic suspense with just the right amount of gritty, nail-biting suspense to keep you breathlessly in its grip. Yet, there is the counterbalance of an emotional romance that was built up gradually yet held firm in the turmoil of the suspense.

As known I read quite some Romantic Suspense and I must say that THE HEART OF A KILLER, though light on the sexy (in terms of quantity...), and subtle on the romance, is engaging in the heart-wrenching emotions and has an awesome suspense plot. Not only the plot itself (serial killer copycatting an accidental manslaughter from 12 years before and now after the people involved) was impressive, but also the execution of it. The way it was written, it kept me in its grip from the prologue, throughout the investigation right to the moment it was all revealed and wrapped up.

I totally loved this book and I’m now anxiously waiting for the next romantic suspense from Ms. Burton. All the right buttons were hit by voice, writing-style, pace and plot leading the way but romance, trope and heat-level were very close behind them. My first taste of it has definitely left me craving more.

Favorite Quotes:
He laid his palm against the door above her head, his body hot and enticing as he stared down at het with sea-blue eyes that made her want to dig her teeth in to his shirt and rip it off, then bury her face in his neck and lick the bead of sweat that had formed there.

Though she would have clocked other men for grabbing her, she melted against him. Dante’s body was familiar to her. She couldn’t help herself, she had to touch, to test her reaction. She slid her palms along his biceps. Hard muscle and soft skin eased across her hands, making her tingle in places that just flat out never tingled.

That’s what he wanted. Anna engaged, listening to the needs of her body instead of walking through the motions of sex as if it was a road map. She had a lush, beautiful body that was made to be loved, and he knew she’d either had lousy lovers in the past or she just hadn’t allowed any man to take his time and giver her the attention she deserved.

Her mouth tempted him, always had. Besides the sassy things that came out of it when she spoke, she had full, sweet lips and she knew how to kiss. She wasn’t tentative about it and she’d always thrown herself fully into a kiss. He loved a woman who did that.

“Everything I am is here for you to see, to touch, to taste,” he said, rising up to meet her again as he took her hands in his. “I won’t hold anything back from you.” Dam him for his honesty, for letting her see the naked truth in his eyes. His fingers dug into her hips and he dragged her against him again, taking her so close she had to bite down on her lip to keep from catapulting over the edge.
“It’s only fair to give me the same, Anna. Let go.


Aurian said...

Ooo you are going to make my wishlist resemble an ancient scroll, aren't you? I really don't need to add new romantic suspense authors to it, but how can I skip this author?

Blodeuedd said...

I really should read the old Burton book i have :)

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