What would you do if the man of your dreams hides the soul of a killer?
Jim Beckett was everything she'd ever dreamed of . . . But two years after Tess married the decorated cop and bore his child, she helped put him behind bars for savagely murdering ten women. Even locked up in a maximum security prison, he vowed he would come after her and make her pay. Now the cunning killer has escaped—and the most dangerous game of all begins. . . .
After a lifetime of fear, Tess will do something she's never done before. She's going to learn to protect her daughter and fight back, with the help of a burned-out ex-marine. As the largest manhunt four states have ever seen mobilizes to catch Beckett, the clock winds down to the terrifying reunion between husband and wife. And Tess knows that this time, her only choices are to kill—or be killed.
Lisa Baumgartner makes her debut as a writer of romantic suspense under the name of Lisa Gardner with this sexy and smooth-talking first. The villain, Jim Beckett, cuts off the fingers of his victims with a dull Swiss Army knife--before he bats their brains out with a Louisville slugger. His poor ex-wife, Tess, who helped to get him arrested, is on the run with her daughter because Jim has escaped from jail and vowed to cut the still-beating heart out of her chest. Tess offers retired mercenary and sometime drunk J.T. Dillon $100,000 if he will teach her how to defend herself. J.T., like the others of his ilk, has muscles of steel attached to viscera of mush. He takes up her cause and gives Tess her first orgasm--psycho-killers apparently are not good lovers. In what might be termed the new genre of "grisly romance," Gardner delivers a streamlined bang-up addition to the oeuvre of Tami Hoag, Karen Robards, Elizabeth Powell and, these days, even Nora Roberts.
There are a lot of things I really liked about this book including the twists and turns and the reality of the writing. The hideous mastermind of a husband was well-done. I could feel the main character’s fear and sense her desperation and I admired her tenacity. What I did not like was the way the 2 main characters interacted; a very unconvincing love story, often sugary and not very believable. Some great sideline stories one of which made me very sad and I thought about it long after I finished the book. Had the writer tamed down the love story to make it more realistic and believable I could have bought it. Overall, a very good read and I just speed-read through the sugar coating.
Lots of graphic violence