Don’t Cry by Beverly Barton

Don't Cry by Beverly Barton

Title: Don’t Cry
Author: Beverly Barton
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publication Date: August 2010
Mass Market Paperback: 468 pages

I do love a good mystery. A -good- mystery. Not a flaky, predictable, loosely written mystery with loose ends flapping all over the place. I like it when I don’t already know what’s going to happen by the end of the first five chapters.

This book delivered.

Amazon.com and several reviews I’ve read of it list this book alternately as a Mystery/Thriller and a Romance. I would definitely put it more in the Mystery/Thriller category myself, though there is a bit of chemistry going on between the two main characters.

Audrey Sherrod is a grief counselor who occasionally offers her services to the Chattanooga police department. J.D. Cass is employed by the TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) and he’s investigating a new series of kidnappings and murders.

The prose is nice – it flows evenly forward even when the author switches narration from the third person to first (the victims and the killer). I also thought the pace was spot on – just enough happens to keep you newly informed and still wanting more every time you turn the page.

One of the biggest aspects of the novel that interested me was J.D.’s relationship with his teenaged daughter, Zoe. She’s depressed over the loss of her mother to cancer, bitter because her father was never even known to her before her mother was diagnosed and nearly dead, and conflicted in general because of her stage of development. I love that the author did not make J.D. instantly a nominee for the Most Perfect Father of All Time award. He doesn’t know how to relate to this child who showed up and “ruined” his bachelor living and the author does a wonderful job of portraying the development of that relationship. I love that even a relatively minor character like Zoe had enough depth to make her memorable.

As far as the actual mystery part of this book goes, I’m rather pleased. I did not have a single inkling who the killer actually was until nearly the last two or three chapters, though of course there’s enough information to make you suspicious of a few key people.

Definitely a good read. I’ll give it 8 of 10.

This was book one of the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 for me.

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