I just finished this book and it was just as good as "The Dying Game." I couldn't put it down. I can't wait to read more of her books!
This is really not a romance so much as a thriller with a romantic storyline thrown in. BUT....I highly enjoyed it! The storyline drags you in from the very beginning and keeps you interested. Enjoyable read.
Like some of her contemporaries, Beverly Barton has become a master at combining two popular genres --- romance and suspense. With THE MURDER GAME, Barton definitely is at the top of her game. She achieves the perfect balance between a heartwarming, falling-in-love romance and a heart-pounding, nail-biting suspense novel. FBI agent Nicole Baxter and billionaire private investigator Griff Powell have had a hate-hate relationship since they worked together on a previous murder case. Now they are forced together again as the serial killer phones each of them with clues about his next victim.
The story is set in the Deep South that Barton knows so well. While she doesn't overdo her descriptions, she produces a flavor so rich that you can almost smell the magnolias. Even the minor characters are well-mannered and full of Southern charm. With the exception of the killer, the author has created a charismatic cast of supportive and capable individuals who we would be glad to have on our side if we ever had to fight for our lives or our sanity. As for the Hunter, as he wants to be known, we always hope in our heart of hearts that such people do not really exist, but one look at any large city's daily newspaper will confirm that they do. There in fact are conscienceless predators who have no regard for anyone but themselves and what gives them pleasure.
The murder game that is being orchestrated by this monster, who is quite capable and devious himself, begins with the kidnapping of a woman who is strong and intelligent --- in other words, one who will provide him with the most challenge as they play out his sick scenario. The Hunter manages to remain one step ahead of the law because no one can find his "hunting ground." Meanwhile, he continues to taunt Griff and Nicole with obscure clues that take them too long to figure out. By the time they know who the next victim will be, he already has kidnapped her.
The improbable attraction between Nicole and Griff affords another storyline that includes a mysterious 10-year period in Griff's life that he has yet to talk to anyone about. The only ones who know what happened are his two closest associates because they went through it with him. Nicole feels at once drawn to and repelled by this self-sufficient trio; she has decided that she would never be close to anyone who might be a threat to her independence. Agent Nicole Baxter has some mysteries of her own lurking in the past. Doesn't that make for a delicious backstory? Trust me, it does.
THE MURDER GAME is guaranteed to keep you turning pages well into the night as you discover how this talented author works it all out.