Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Heart of a Killer

The Heart of a Killer is book one in The Killers Series by NYT’s bestselling author Jaci Burton. From the author’s website.~

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?

I’m a huge fan of Jaci Burton and was so excited when I saw The Heart of a Killer was available on NetGalley, and even more excited when I was able to get an early copy. This is Jaci Burton’s first romantic suspense book and I think she hit it out of the park.

Twelve years ago Dante, Gabe, Roman and Jeff were foster kids living with George and Ellen Clemons and best friends with Anna Pallino. Anna and Dante were dating and in love, until the worst night of the lives had Dante leaving town with no warning. On the night he returns, someone important to Dante is found murdered and the attack and calling card, a heart carved into the above the heart, are similar to what happened on the worst night of his life.

Dante and Anna are thrown back together as he helps her investigate the attack and murder. Since the attack is in the same location and similar to the one Anna lived through twelve years ago, they start to wonder who else saw what happened that night. Of course, Anna isn’t ready to trust Dante as soon as she sees him. He has been gone for 12 years and no one really knows where he has been or what he has been doing. However, the attraction between Dante and Anna is just as strong today as was when they were teens. When another person important to Anna and Dante is found murdered, there is no doubt they will work together to find out who is behind the latest murders.

I figured out the “bad guy” pretty early on. However, even as I was guessing who was behind everything, I was really hoping I was wrong. I did enjoy watching Dante and Anna work together and when they finally decided to move their relationship to that next level, it was explosive. Dante was 18 and Anna was 16 when they dated as teens, so they had never taken that next step. As adults, they can explore their relationship on every level and work towards having a long-term relationship.

I loved both Dante and Anna best of all the characters. I also liked getting to know a bit more about the guys, Gabe, Roman and Jeff. I have to say I was most intrigued by Gabe of all the secondary characters and really hope we get his story in the future. Even figuring out the bad guy early on, I still loved The Heart of a Killer and hope we get many more romantic suspense books from Jaci Burton in the future.

The Heart of a Killer is set for release on October 18, 2011 and can be found at your favorite bookstore or online retailer. I’ll be heading to my local B&N to pick up my print copy for my keeper shelf.

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