Forensic psychologist and single mother Ann Bailey has joined forces with Montana Highway Patrol officer Bryce McCabe. An expert in untangling the motives of depraved minds, Ann is tasked to help solve the mystery of two murdered women doused with gasoline and set aflame.
It’s not hard for Ann to be reminded of the charismatic Elijah Weston, who served a decade in prison for arson – a crime that nearly cost Ann her life. Elijah may have been exonerated, but the connection to these rage killings is impossible for Ann to ignore. One of the victims has been identified as an obsessed Elijah groupie. Elijah has obsessions, too. Ever since Ann returned to town, he can’t take his eyes off her. And as a mother with a secret, she’s the perfect victim for an infatuated psychopath.
The deeper Ann and Bryce’s investigation goes, the nearer they get to each other and to danger. After another murder hits close to home, Ann fears a clue is hidden in her own past. Only one thing terrifies her more than the reveal of her long-held secret. It’s that the secret itself has put Ann into a killer’s line of fire.
Rating: Narration – B-; Content – B
Mary Burton’s Near You is the sequel to last year’s Burn You Twice, and it continues the story of two women who were best friends in college and who survived an arson attack that almost killed them both. The previous book focused on Joan Mason, who moved away from Missoula and became a detective in Philly; in Near You, the focus switches to her friend Ann Bailey, who remained in Montana, married her college boyfriend, and continued to live there with her husband and their son – until the devastating events of Burn You Twice ripped her family apart.
There are spoilers for Burn You Twice in this review.
Sergeant Bryce McCabe of the Montana Highway Patrol is enjoying a rare day off at home at his ranch when he receives a call from the local sheriff asking for his help investigating a particularly gruesome homicide. He arrives at the scene to find the charred remains of a woman who is later revealed to have been stabbed several times before having the skin of her face removed, and then doused with gasoline and set alight – exactly as in the case of the victim of an identical murder around a month earlier. Shortly after Bryce’s arrival, Joan Mason – who has taken the position of death investigator for the medical examiner – arrives and makes the same connection; it’s she who suggests they involve Dr. Ann Bailey, a professor of forensic psychology at the University of Montana, whose expertise in the field could be invaluable in getting into the mind of the killer. In the absence of much by way of physical evidence, Bryce is inclined to agree.
You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.