Monday, July 20, 2009

One Scream Away - Kate Brady


One Scream Away
Kate Brady
Grand Central/Forever

Romantic Suspense

Nearly seven years ago, Beth Dennison survived an encounter with a killer. Since then, she’s taken every precaution to ensure her safety and that of her daughter, Abby. Since the death of her husband, she’s been on her own in every way, but has worked hard to make a life for herself and Abby in Arlington. She’s learned to shoot, to kickbox, and to distrust nearly everyone. It’s safer that way. Then she gets a phone call from the killer. He tells her that he’s on his way to see her.

The killer called Beth on a cell phone belonging to a woman he just killed in Seattle. He wants her to know that he’s getting closer. He makes more calls, after killing more women on his way across the country. Since he’s moving from one state to another, authorities have little chance of tracking him. Eventually, the police in Arlington become aware of the calls to Beth. They know they were made from the vicinity of several murders and wonder what Beth would have to talk about with a killer.

Neil Sheridan was once an FBI agent, until he shot an escaped suspect. The suspect confessed to a series of murders, then tried to escape. Too late, it became clear that the suspect was not the murderer. Now that another series of murders has started, the FBI calls on Neil for his expertise. He was the lead on the previous investigation and he knows how the killer’s mind works. Neil, too, is highly suspicious of Beth and her connection to the killer. It’s obvious to him that Beth isn’t telling everything she knows.

This is the kind of romantic suspense novel I like best. There’s a romance in it, but that’s not really the focus of the novel. The focus is on the killer and his plans. The first few pages detail the gruesome death of the woman in Seattle. It’s fairly intense, and does a great job of pulling the reader into the story from the start. Not for the faint of heart, perhaps, but necessary to understand what follows. The reader is aware of the killer’s identity from the start, but that doesn’t get in the way of the story at all, since the point of view switches from Beth/Neil to the murderer throughout the novel.

The author does a wonderful job of providing each character with a detailed history. No one in the real world exists in a vacuum, and neither do any of the characters here. They’re all complicated and realistic. I was never quite sold on Beth’s reasons for stonewalling the authorities for so long when she knew she was in real danger, but it’s an understandable enough reaction given her past. The story moves at a very fast pace. I admit to staying up far too late because I was unable to put down this book. Ms. Brady is clearly an author to watch.

Rating: 8
July 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-54152-7 (paperback)

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