First you drink, then you DIE.--Killing Me Softly by Maggie Shayne, Copyright ©2010 by Margaret Benson, published by Mira Books
The Nightcap Strangler, who terrorized the town of Shadow Falls sixteen years ago, has finally been executed. Case closed. Until Bryan Kendall’s lover is murdered in the notorious killer’s unique style and the rookie cop stands accused. Has someone committed the perfect copycat crime…or was the wrong man put to death?
A continent away, Dawn Jones hears that her first love has been accused of murder and knows that only she can help him. But to do so, she’ll have to face the very fears that drove them apart.
Together they’ll work to uncover secrets someone’s willing to kill to keep, and renew a love as dangerous as it is inevitable. And their best lead is the gril found dead in Bryan’s bed, reeking of the whiskey poured down her throat before her killer squeezed it shut.
A killer who thinks that Dawn, too, could use one last drink…
Surely this must be the work of a copycat. Very few people knew the intimate details of the case. Nick di Marco, the cop who cracked the case, the chief of police, and Bryan himself.
On the other side of the continent, Dawn Jones receives a call from her mother, telling her the news. She’s sorry, but she can’t return home. There’s too much unfinished business between her and Bryan and that’s the way she wants to keep it. But her mother insists, and Dawn reluctantly boards the flight her mother has booked for her. When she arrives at the bed and breakfast run by her mother (and Bryan’s father), the tension between the former teen lovers is palatable. Before they can even attempt to resolve any of their issues, though, another woman is killed. Bryan was “a person of interest” before. Now the police have obtained an arrest warrant. Though it goes against his instincts, Bryan goes on the run, taking Dawn with him.
Working with Nick, his mentor, Bryan and Dawn begin to investigate the details of the case, trying to track down the real killer and answer some questions. If the man convicted of the crimes sixteen years ago was just executed, who’s committing the crimes now? How did he know the unique signature of the Nightcap Strangler, a detail never released to the press?
And what about Dawn’s special “gift,” passed down to her by her psychotic father, the one that lets her talk to the dead? She left Vermont five years ago to escape the gift, leaving Bryan in the dark as to why she left. Now that she was back, would the dead talk to her? Was the ability gone for good? Or would it come back in time to save not only Bryan’s life, but her own?
I give this story THREE AND A HALF STARS.