Click here to read reviewer Bob Walch's take on Don't Cry.
Iíd not previously read any books by Beverly Barton and didnít know what to expect when I picked up Don't Cry. What I found was myself gripped by a well-plotted, fluidly-written book with a range of characters and an interesting puzzle to solve.
A womanís body found in a rocking chair cradling a toddlerís skeleton is the
first in a series of deaths, each with a baby skeleton. The Rocking Chair Killer, as he is called, seems to have the key to a decades-old mystery of what happened to five dead toddlers who were snatched by a woman. Although a sixth toddler was found alive with Regina Bennett, she never revealed what happened
to the previous five.
This story focuses on Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent JD Cass, who is working on the Rocking Chair Killer case at the same time as
he tries to build a bond with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Zoe, who has come to live with him
following the death of her mother. We also follow events from the viewpoint of grief counselor Audrey Sherrod, whose baby brother, Blake,
was one of the toddler victims all those years ago. In fact, a large proportion
of those working on the case have some links with it, which I find perhaps a trifle too coincidental.
Several possible characters could actually be the Rocking Chair Killer, and
Barton ably introduces them and shows their possible motivations. The actual killer, when revealed at the end,
isnít a surprise, but the small twist in the story is, although there are hints to it right at the beginning.
A romance burns slow throughout the story, which works really well. The pacing
is good and I liked the way the author writes - with one exception. She seems to have a bit of an obsession with adjectives, as this extract from Chapter 4 shows: ďShe filled the white enamel kettle with fresh water and placed it on the Jenn-Air range to heat. A hint of daylight peeked through the closed blinds of her Walnut Hill town house as she padded around on the Brazilian Cherry hardwood floor, set out her favorite teacup on the countertop, and removed a bag of Earl Grey from the maple cupboard.Ē To me, we could do without white, enamel, Jenn-Air, Walnut Hill, Brazilian Cherry and maple, at least as they donít really add anything to the story.
All in all, I very much enjoyed Don't Cry and look forward to another book from this authorís flowing, confident, blue Mont Blanc pen.