Don't Say a Word
Beverly Barton
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Buy *Don't Say a Word* by Beverly Barton online

Don't Say a Word
Beverly Barton
416 pages
July 2012
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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A good read

Within the first few pages of Don't Say a Word, I realized that it was a follow-up to a previous book (which, happily, I had already read). Despite references to the previous murder mystery (Donít Cry) and to the main characters from that book, it doesnít matter if the reader hasnít read that book yet. Anything important is explained.

I note that I awarded Donít Cry five stars and, having finished Don't Say a Word, I can say that it also deserves five stars. These books may be murder mysteries, but they also focus quite heavily on the central romance, particularly in this book. As much time is given to the slow-build romance between Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Will Brannock and Chattanooga Police Detective Julia Cass as to the hunt for a murderer who cuts out their victims' tongues and stags a scene that  hints at righting an injustice.

Of the two aspects (romance and murder mystery), the romance is more successful. The gentle slide into attraction, understanding and love is very believable, and I liked both characters. We are told multiple times that they are  attractive (does everyone have to be attractive in Beverley Bartonís books?), but it is clear that their meeting of minds is more significant in the story than visual appeal. I liked how Willís excessive privacy about his life is unveiled, even if it feels over-the-top in terms of his family background and situation.

Although I enjoyed the aspect of the murder mystery, it isnít given enough space in the novel. Our investigators donít seem to actually do that much investigating and, as in the previous book, a significant coincidence plays a part in our heroes finding out whodunnit. Halfway through the book, I thought I had guessed who the perpetrator was (although I turned out to be wrong), but I didnít find myself all that taken by this aspect of the story. I was more interested in how Juliaís and Willís relationship would work out.

I read Don't Say a Word in just two sittings, finding it well-paced and easy-to-read. That the author doesnít force her characters to have some big misunderstanding or one of the other hackneyed plot devices to spin out the tension is a relief. Instead, this is a good read about two people thrown together for work who find they work well together, both professionally and privately. Worth a read!

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Helen Hancox, 2013

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