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Dead by Midnight

Review

Dead by Midnight

No matter how hard she tries to enjoy a normal life after
returning to her hometown of Dunmore, Alabama, Lorie Hammonds
cannot escape the mistakes she made while seeking fame, fortune and
stardom in Hollywood. Almost a decade after fleeing California with
her pride and reputation in shambles, the former Playboy
centerfold and porn film actress starts receiving death threats
warning her to say her prayers and ask forgiveness for her
sins.

Because of her sordid and much-whispered-about past, Lorie is
accustomed to being the object of gossip and scorn by some of the
“good” citizens of Dunmore. After receiving the first
threatening letter, she immediately dismisses it as a vicious prank
and tosses it in the trash. Then a duplicate letter arrives with
the same wording: “Midnight is coming. Say your prayers. Ask
for forgiveness. Get your affairs in order. You’re on the
list. Be prepared. You don’t know when it will be your turn.
Will you be the next to die?”

This second letter convinces Lorie to take the threat seriously,
but because of her past relationship with Sheriff Mike Birkett, she
doesn’t want to ask the Sheriff’s Department for
assistance. Normally, she would approach her best friend, Cathy
Perdue, for help, but Cathy and her husband Jack are away on their
honeymoon. So Lorie turns to Jack’s sister, Maleah.

Maleah Perdue, a seasoned investigator with Powell Private Security
and Investigation Agency, immediately recognizes the danger and
agrees to help Lorie. It isn’t long before another Powell
investigator, former FBI profiler Derek Lawrence, gets on board
with the case. Maleah and Derek, who mix together like fire and
water, set aside their differences for their client’s sake,
and they coordinate their investigation with local Dunmore
authorities.

Initially, Sheriff Birkett believes that Lorie has concocted the
threat in a desperate attempt to get his attention. Because of
their past relationship, he refuses to forgive the woman he once
loved before marrying his late wife, Molly. As a widower with two
children and a reputation to protect, he is reluctant to get
involved in Lorie’s case. But he joins the investigation once
he realizes the threat is genuine and her life is in
jeopardy.

Because of the Powell Agency’s vast resources and law
enforcement connections, it soon becomes apparent that a serial
killer is on the loose. Investigators learn that murder victims in
other states had received threatening letters with the exact
wording as Lorie’s prior to their deaths. In addition, the
victims are also connected with the porn movie Midnight
Masquerade
. The clock ticks as investigators try to apprehend
the murderer, protect Lorie and warn other potential victims before
the killer strikes again.

Once the media learns about the contents of the letters, they dub
the serial murderer the “Midnight Killer.” With the
barrage of unwanted media attention, Lorie’s past becomes
even more public. It seems no matter how hard she tries to overcome
the mistakes she made in Hollywood, someone is ready to point them
out to her and shame her for them. But the Midnight Killer, who has
taken seeking retribution to a deadly level, is hell-bent on making
Lorie pay for her sins --- with her life.

DEAD BY MIDNIGHT is a sizzling romantic suspense novel with a huge
cast of characters and lots of surprises. New York Times
bestselling author Beverly Barton’s latest book has the right
ingredients for a sex-charged thriller --- lovers torn apart by
time and circumstances, a deranged killer on the loose, lurid
sexual obsessions, graphic sex scenes, vicious gossips, shameful
secrets, shocking scandal, and unexpected twists and turns.
Barton’s unflinching style and vivid writing are sure to
please her fans and have them eager for more.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (dvolkenannt@charter.net) on January 7, 2011

Dead by Midnight
by Beverly Barton

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Romantic Suspense
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Mass Market
  • ISBN-10: 1420100513
  • ISBN-13: 9781420100518