Nicole Powell's best friend, Maleah Purdue, is a strong, smart and independent woman. Trim and curvy with a peaches-and-cream complexion and sun-streaked shoulder-length blond hair, Maleah has survived an abusive childhood and a life touched by grief. She is one of the Powell Private Security and Investigation Agency's most skilled and dedicated agents.
Born to an enormously wealthy Southern family, former FBI profiler Derek Lawrence has shunned the privileged life of a trust-fund millionaire. As a top-notch profiler and consultant for the Powell Security Agency, Derek has made his mark on the world by his own terms. From the moment they first meet, Derek has been fascinated by Maleah, but Maleah has disliked and distrusted the tall, dark and dangerously handsome profiler.
Brutal murders and chilling circumstances bring the two together to track down and catch the Copycat Carver. The cunning murderer is a madman mimicking the grizzly murder methods of Jerome Browning, a serial killer locked up for life in a Georgia State prison. The copycat killer has Maleah in his sights, and he knows how to lure her into his wicked game.
One of Browning's murder victims was Maleah's college boyfriend. To help catch the Copycat Carver, Maleah must put her emotions aside and jeopardize her own welfare when she visits the psychopathic Browning in prison. As she gets closer to the truth, the evil Browning plays mind games with her, trying to trap her in his twisted fantasy world.
While Maleah and Derek begin to unearth clues and connect the dots to identify and track down the copycat killer, the body count of Powell Agency colleagues and their families rises. As Maleah and Derek begin to close in on the murderer, the danger intensifies --- and romantic sparks begin to fly.
While the mystery starts unraveling, the identity of who is behind the quest for revenge and why he is set on destroying everyone close to the Powell Agency creates more questions. The truth about the mastermind behind the evil plot and his motives tests the love, trust and future of Nic and Griff Powell.
DEAD BY MORNING, the second book in Beverly Barton's romantic suspense series, brings back familiar characters from the Powell Agency and sheds light on the secrets that connect Griff, Sanders and the mysterious Yvette. A killer in the midst, a stunning twist and the breathtaking cliffhanger will keep Barton's loyal fans reading into the wee hours --- and anticipating the trilogy's final installment, DEAD BY NIGHTFALL, in December.
Barton, who passed away suddenly just days before the novel's publication, knew how to build suspense and create intriguing characters while ratcheting up the romance, action and intrigue. She will be sorely missed.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (firstname.lastname@example.org) on May 3, 2011