Review: A young widow receives messages purportedly from her dead husband, a man she's now not sure she ever knew when he's accused of killing a number of women as long as ten years ago, in Dying Scream, a romantic suspense thriller by Mary Burton.
Craig Thornton was injured in a car accident and died nine months ago, never awakening from the coma he was in. Taking back her family name, his widow, Adrianna Harrington, is wrapping up the sale of their estate in suburban Richmond (Virginia). The house and grounds date back almost 200 years, and include a private cemetery that the new owners are requiring be relocated prior to moving in. The company moving the graves, however, makes an unexpected discovery: the skeletal remains of a body not in a grave proper. Detective Gage Hudson is assigned to the case, and immediately tries to make a connection to two cold cases for his department, women who went missing, both having a direct association with Adrianna's late husband, Craig. But Adrianna has a problem of her own: someone is trying to make her believe Craig is still alive … and wants to be with her again.
Dying Scream starts quickly, sketching in the details of Adrianna's past and present life in the first few chapters and setting the stage for the (unfortunately rather predictable) final chapters. But the pacing of the story is uneven, there is far too much irrelevant and unnecessarily repeated information, and the overall impression is one of a thriller that isn't quite as polished as it could have been. Stylistically it wavers between being a police procedural and a Southern gothic-style suspense novel, yet is not really satisfying from either perspective. Even the romantic elements come off as obligatory and half-hearted, as it were. Dying Scream may work well as a lunchtime or subway read, but it's not a book that will take your breath away.
Acknowledgment: Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting provided an ARC of Dying Scream for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Zebra (Mass Market Paperback), January 2011
ISBN-13: 9781420110197; ISBN-10: 1420110195
Location(s) referenced in Dying Scream: Richmond, Virginia
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Dying Scream by Mary Burton
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $6.99