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Never Look Back by Mary Burton

Title: Never Look Back (Criminal Profiler #5)

Author: Mary Burton

Published on: 1st July 2020

Genre: Romantic Suspense

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

Never Look Back is the fifth book in Mary Burton’s Criminal Profiler series and can be read as a standalone.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Melina Shepard makes an impulsive decision to go undercover after multiple prostitutes’ go missing. While working on the street, she narrowly misses being the serial killer’s next victim. She manages to stab the guy before he escapes. The DNA test results bring FBI agent Jerrod Ramsey to Nashville. The two agents must work together and catch the serial killer before it is too late…

My first Mary Burton book and definitely not the last. Irrespective of the rating I gave this book, I am really impressed with Burton’s storytelling and am looking forward to reading the rest of the Criminal Profiler series.

The story starts with the serial killer preying on his next victim – who happens to be Melina. When she refuses to enter his car, he attacks her, trying to forcibly pull her into his car. She stabs him and before he could hit back, he hears a car nearby and drives away. Melina identifies herself as an undercover officer and asks the cops at the scene of attack to take the knife for a DNA test. The results are out and the DNA is that of a serial killer who’s been killing women across seven states.

FBI Agent Ramsey arrives at Nashville. He and Melina investigate a scene where a little girl was found abandoned in a crashed vehicle. The trunk of the car holds a pickle jar filled with fingers. The agents realize they have not one but two serial killers with completely different MOs on the loose.

Melina was found abandoned on the highway decades ago. The local sheriff took her in and finally adopted her. Years later, history repeats when a young girl is found abandoned in a vehicle. The girl reminds Melina of her younger self. As the investigation proceeds, Melina learns she and the little girl are somehow connected.

Until halfway through the story, I did not realize the agents were dealing with two serial killers; I was thinking it’s the same guy who changes his identity according to the situation. Now, wouldn’t that be an interesting plot? A serial killer with two MOs… Anyhoo, this story had too many coincidences for my liking. The conclusion did not seem to do justice somehow. One of the killers speaks to his grandchild soon after attacking Melina. Why wasn’t this angle explored? I would have loved to see the killer fall into his own trap. Grandpa gets a little sloppy with the killings and the cops catch him red-handed, ay?

The spotlight is on Melina and her past. Or rather, the past she almost never had… Since this book is of the genre romantic suspense, we do have some ‘romance’ (well, it was just sex). No guesses as to which two characters got a little mushy-mushy with each other!

The ending was meh. Things ended so conveniently and I wish there was some suspense and action involved at the end. Two serial killers in the story and both seemed weird (Well, they all are!!). At times, I had trouble following which killer is doing what… The pickled finger killer was… um, pickling fingers while the other killer was… he doesn’t appear until the end so I really do not know what he was up to!

I really do not like it when the endings do not do justice to the suspense built up. Also, a family angle and some emotional scenes in a suspense story is not something I like. But overall, this was a pretty good read.

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