Sunday, February 7, 2016

Colton Copycat Killer - Marie Ferrarella (HRS #1879 - Jan 2016)

Series: Coltons of Texas (Book 1)

Just moments away from marrying a woman he doesn't love, police detective Sam Colton discovers his bride brutally murdered. The only shocking clue: the MO matches another notorious killer -- Sam's long-imprisoned father. A copycat? The victim's sister was the last to see her alive -- and heard arguing with her. Sam would bet his life that shy, impossibly sexy librarian Zoe Robison had nothing to do with the murder. But when he learns what the argument was about, the former foster kid's heart hardens. Yet as Zoe is targeted by a madman, Sam discovers just how far he'll go to save her.

Terrific opener for the new Colton series. In the beginning of the book, Zoe is arguing with her sister Celia, who is about to marry Sam Colton. Celia brags about the fact that she has tricked Sam into marrying her. Zoe is horrified and walks out on her sister for a few moments to decide what to do. When she returns, Celia is dead. Sam's brother Trevor tells him that the MO matches two other recent murders - and that of their father, a convicted and imprisoned serial killer.

The effects of the murder on Sam and Zoe are very interesting. We know right from the start that this wasn't a love match. Sam is upset over Celia's death, but it's not the devastating blow that it could be. He's determined to find the killer because, as a cop, that's what he does. Zoe is upset at the loss of her sister and also feels guilty. If she hadn't left her sister alone, perhaps she would still be alive. Whatever their feelings, both are determined to find out who killed her. Another complication is that Zoe has been in love with Sam for a long time, but he has never noticed her.

I loved the developing relationship between Sam and Zoe. Without her sister there to overshadow her, Zoe starts to stand out more. She isn't the nearly invisible wallflower that Sam thought she was, but a woman with a mind of her own. Though it isn't always easy for her, Zoe stands up to Sam and lets him know that she wants to be involved in the investigation. She also sees that Celia's deception has been a blow to him and wants to be there to support him. It was fun to see Sam's reaction to Zoe's stubbornness. He suddenly starts to see her in a whole new way. He is surprised by the attraction he feels for her as she's nothing like the women he's usually attracted to. What really gets to him is her support when he has to deal with his siblings and his father. Because of what happened with his father, Sam and his siblings were split up into foster care, so Sam has grown up keeping his emotions buttoned up. What he's feeling for Zoe is something he has no experience with and has him cautious. But when she becomes a target, Sam realizes just how much he needs her in his life.

The suspense in this book is great. There is a lot going on. First is Celia's murder, and its apparent link to two previous murders. Sam's brother Trevor is an FBI agent who is working on those. Something of great concern to them both is the similarity to the murders carried out by their father. Though he doesn't want to do it, Sam, along with Zoe for support, goes to the prison to see his father. He wants to find out if some prison groupie is modeling his actions after his father's. What he finds is a man who is dying, but still manipulative. He promises his limited help if Sam gives in to his conditions. His father also says that he wants each of Sam's siblings to visit him at the prison, and that if they do he will give them clues as to where he buried their mother's body. Lastly is the question of whether Celia was killed by the serial killer or someone else and if it has anything to do with the attack on Zoe. The ending is exciting with the mystery of the attack solved, but the murders are still happening. I also believe that the mystery of the missing body will continue through the series, as each sibling gets their book.

I liked the introduction of all the siblings. Their discussions about their father gave a good indication of their personalities. Most of them ended up in law enforcement. I also found it interesting that they all went to different foster homes, so the effects on each will probably be different. There is also a missing sister that may play a part in the long term also. 

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