Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DEAD END by Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: 2005
ISBN: 978-0345483812
Romantic Suspense
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained via library

Dylan Shields death—assassination—has haunted the Shields family since the day they lost their favorite son. It almost destroyed brother Aiden and if not for the love of a good woman, he would have joined his brother in death. While Aiden pulled his life back together with Mara Douglass (DEAD WRONG) it took a bit longer for Dylan’s former fiancĂ©, Anne Marie McCall to find a way out of her own darkness. The last thing she expected when she met Detective Evan Crosby was to fall in love with him. Evan and Anne Marie learn that sometimes when the dead do not rest it is not that they don’t want to; sometimes it is those left behind who keep them in the room. When Aiden and Mara’s wedding turns into a memorial for Dylan, Evan questions his place in Anne Marie’s life. He finds an easy out from the untenable situation when he receives a phone call—another dead girl has been found.

Evan has always been passionate about his work, but something about the Schoolgirl Slayings calls to him to right an egregious wrong. Nameless girls, defenseless girls, needlessly killed. When a second series of killings begins, this time with a slight twist that only someone on the inside could know about, Evan turns to Anne Marie and her boss at the FBI for assistance.

Anne Marie does not want to lose Evan and in a bid to save their relationship she turns to Dylan’s file. Together she and Evan hope that with one more look they may find the thread that leads them to Dylan’s killer. That thread could unravel the entire fabric of the Shields family.

I found myself so disappointed with Mariah Stewart’s DEAD END, the fourth installment of her “Dead” series. After the out-of-breath, white knuckle ride of the other stories, this one left me cold. At times I felt that someone asked her to write it and she agreed, but didn't have her heart in it. The story had gaps and leaps that left me scratching my head.

Early on the killer says he would kill one of his victims if he only knew what the man looked like. If you work with someone, know their family, talk with their family, why wouldn’t you know what they look like? Or at least have an idea? Or ask?
In VOICES CARRY and the other DEAD books Ms. Stewart pulls the reader in with tense confrontations between killer and hero. In DEAD END, someone close to the investigation dies, but there is no real build up for it, nor is there much emotion given to the character’s death by the spouse. The characters had little substance which was surprising given the depth of Ms. Stewart’s other books.

She does have her signature garden—one I wish I had and she does address a societal ill. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Stewart, especially her pulse pounding romantic suspenses.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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