Review

Don't Say a Word

by Beverly Barton

When Julia Cass accepts a position as a homicide detective with the Chattanooga Police Department, she's looking forward to the chance to spend more time with her older brother, J.D., and her teenage niece, Zoe. Unfortunately, when she arrives at the airport, J.D. is tied up in court as part of his job with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and sends his friend and co-worker, Will Brannock, to pick up Julia and her trusty bloodhound, Jasper, from her flight.

"DON'T SAY A WORD is a fast-paced novel of romantic suspense with engaging characters and endless twists and turns."

Instead of being impressed with the tall, sexy special agent, Julia is put off by his behavior at the airport. When J.D. called Will to ask him to pick up Julia, Will was in the middle of a tryst with a steaming hot redheaded stewardess. While the pair has an intimate, physically demonstrative and very public goodbye at the airport, Julia is watching from nearby. She immediately pegs Will for a playboy and writes him off, no matter how attractive he is.

While en route from the airport, Will receives an urgent phone call about the murder of a prominent federal judge, Lucien Lockhart. He immediately heads to the scene, Julia and Jasper in tow. The judge has been hung and his tongue has been removed. In addition to the body, Will and Julia discover a set of scales with the judge's tongue on one side and a stack of 30 dimes on the other.

Julia's superior officer is at the scene and immediately assigns her to work closely with Will as a liaison officer between the two law enforcement agencies. Just when she was about to write Will off as a womanizer, she suddenly glimpses a side of him that's all business, and she likes what she sees.

Before Will and Julia can make much progress on the case, other bodies start turning up. Each victim suffers the same mutilation and is left in the same position as the judge.  A controversial shock jock, a notorious criminal defense attorney and a rich, sexual deviant are the next victim of the notorious Tongue Slasher.

As Julia and Will race to catch the killer who seems nowhere close to stopping his reign of terror, they find it difficult to deny the growing attraction between them. However, Julia is hesitant to become involved. Will is strangely secretive and reveals very little about his life, even to those closest to him. On top of that, Julia is still haunted by the loss of her former police partner and lover, Bobby, who was killed on a domestic violence call. Can she dare let herself explore her attraction to the man who makes her heart pound unlike any other?

DON'T SAY A WORD is a fast-paced novel of romantic suspense with engaging characters and endless twists and turns. Will and Julia are both so protective of their privacy, but are willing to put self-preservation aside to explore the feelings that are assailing them both while striving to make the Chattanooga streets safe for the public again.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on August 17, 2012

Don't Say a Word
by Beverly Barton