Book Review: Never Look Back by Mary Burton
Agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Melina Shepard knows she’s had a lucky escape when she narrowly escapes begging dragged into a ‘murder van’ while undercover. A DNA match brings Jerrod Ramsey of the FBI to Nashville to try and crack the case of the Key Killer, a sadistic serial killer who leaves a key on his victims’ bodies. But Jerrod Ramsey isn’t the only new arrival in town; a woman and child bring back deeply buried memories for Melina and may unlock the secrets of her past, even while their presence stirs another dangerous predator into a killing frenzy.
With two serial killers having their focus on Melina - albeit for different reasons - for a long time I felt deeply frustrated and like this ought to be two separate stories, one for each case. However, at the book’s climax, the two story threads do collide pretty inextricably. That said… I still think this would be better off as two separate books. There was enough ‘meat’ on the bones of either storyline to flesh it out properly… and maybe there could have been a bit more focus on the ‘romance’ part of the romantic suspense, then. That was really very much skimmed over.
I liked Melina and Jerrod both, and there’s an interesting cast of side characters. We get quite a lot of glimpses into the mindsets of three different antagonists, who are different enough from each other that it’s not really confusing, but it was still probably at least one too many. I think more time needed to be spent on building up Melina’s work at the mission and her relationship with Sam, because when the reveal of who he actually was came, there was no emotional impact; he’d only been mentioned a couple of times in passing, so Melina was just TELLING us that she felt betrayed by a friend, we hadn’t really been SHOWN that she was.
Looking back at my review history, this is the fourth Mary Burton book I’ve reviewed in the last couple of years. I like the sound of them which is why I keep trying, I like the concepts, and the general writing style is good, but the plot execution isn’t cutting it for me. My previous reviews have been one 2-star and two 3-stars, and this one’s getting three stars as well… and I’m calling it time to say that this author’s work just isn’t for me.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.