Cold Hearted by Beverly Barton

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Cold Hearted by Beverly Barton

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Jordan Price does not look like your typical serial killer… young and beautiful she exudes innocence and vulnerability. Then her latest husband dies in mysterious circumstances…
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 410 Date: January 2009
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 978-1847560612

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A newly-pregnant Jordan Price is dry-eyed throughout the funeral of her latest husband, the much loved and respected political figure, Senator Daniel Price. No-one outside the immediate family has any idea about Jordan's marital arrangements with Dan and when he is found dead, initially everyone suspects that he has taken his own life, having recently been diagnosed with a degenerative disease. The thought that he may have committed suicide to protect them all from having to cope with his illness turns out to be of little comfort when investigator Rick Carson shows up, hired by Daniel Price's brother. He immediately suggests that Dan has been murdered and such an announcement is not well received. Jordan hates Rick Carson on sight and with good reason as she fears that he will suspect her guilty of the crime when he discovers that she is having an affair with Price's assistant, Devon Markham.

The vultures begin to circle and the media and newspapers get hold of the scent, printing a headline that implies Jordan Price is some kind of Black Widow. The focus on her tightens and her past is investigated and uncovered for all the Price family to see, her marriage to Dan picked over and scrutinised as if it were public property. Then there is another murder and the finger of blame swings straight to Jordan, the identity of the victim making it seemingly impossible for anyone else to be guilty. Is Jordan Price the Black Widow? If Jordan is as innocent as she claims, Rick Carson may have inadvertently placed her directly in the line of fire. But if not, will he be her next victim?

There is not enough room on the page to list each of Beverly Barton's novels – she has been a best selling author for more years than I care to count with something in excess of sixty novels under her belt. She is spectacularly, if a little quietly, successful, particularly in the US. Cold Hearted was, for me, a little bit 'series romance' tinged. It actually felt a little bit like a Mills & Boon with a murder twist – the language is a tad flowery and bodice-ripperish and I got the distinct impression quite early on that the protagonists were going to end up in each other's arms – in fact Barton even looks like a young Barbara Cartland. With a cast of thousands, Cold Hearted has plenty to keep your mind occupied whilst reading (mainly keeping track of Price's huge family and a multitude of hangers-on) and satisfyingly enough the plot winds this way and that as you consider whodunnit?.

Barton is an established author with a clear longevity, likely many more stories, probably a lot like this one up her writing sleeve and a legion of loyal fans who will buy this book and send it straight into the top ten. On a personal level, I did not enjoy Cold Hearted as much as I thought I might. I like these thriller/killer books but there was too much going on, the characters were a smidge on the side of predictable and overall it felt a little Hollywood. Having said that, the storyline itself was a good one and if you can keep up with the cast and remember who everyone is and what they do, it's a fairly decent, pick-up-put-down read, but it will not grab your attention and hold it, like say Broken Bodies by June Hampson and certainly not like The Falls by Ian Rankin or The Edge by Clare Curzon though admittedly both of these novels are both more police-procedural based.

If you're a fan of Beverly Barton then you will want to buy, read and keep Cold Hearted. The formula clearly works. However, you might also like to take a look at Keeping The Dead by Tess Gerritsen and probably The Next Accident by Lisa Gardner though both of these authors tend to steer away from the romance aspect of the story and just stick to the crime/thriller. Alternatively, you might like to read a story that takes you on a journey like Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole or if you are looking for an award winner in the genre, I'd recommend Raven Black by Ann Cleeves.

Lastly, we at Bookbag would very much like to thank the ladies and gentlemen at Avon for sending this copy to us for review.

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