This time out, I have Jamie Denton's latest, Dead Stop (Brava). Reporter Ainsley Brennan has finally gotten her youngest sister off to college in their small quiet town, and she can finally have a life again. But the cd that lands on her desk at work might mean that their quiet hometown isn't as quiet as she'd like it to be; the cd's filled with the sounds of a woman's screams. Then, when the dead body is found nearby the same day, it's a really bad sign. The new deputy police chief, currently acting chief, Beck Raines doesn't want a nosy reporter mucking up his murder investigation. Of course, he's not all that thrilled to have a murder investigation at all; after all, that's why he's back in Ohio from his last job in L. A: he wanted something calmer, more peaceful. Looks like he's not going to get his wish when another body is found, another young woman goes missing, and Ainsley gets another recording. Then Beck knows he's got bigger problems, because the killer knows Ainsley, and she might just be a target as well, so Beck's going to have to keep a close eye on her. For purely professional reasons, of course. I like these characters very much, as well as Ainsley's younger sister. Ainsley's a very strong young woman, not afraid to meet life's challenges, and Beck is yummy. But I didn't love the story. I don't mind knowing early on who the villain is, but in this case, it didn't feel quite right in the story, and his motivations weren't believable to me. Then, too, there is some of the same really bad copy-editing that I found in Dragon Actually, another story I liked. The editing errors are beginning to be a distraction for me, but they weren't the reason I don't find this one a keeper. I can't call this one a keeper because I need to love more than just the characters; I need to love the story, and, while Ainsley and Beck are fantastic, the story that serves as their backdrop is not. It was just okay. The story moves along pretty quickly, almost too quickly for me to believe in a long-term relationship developing between these two so fast. I won't stop reading Denton, but I will hope I like her next one better. This one's earned only two and a half of Cupid's five arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!