The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton
Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder--corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before--on the worst night of his life.
The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of hte connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault that Anna only survived thanks to him.
More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?
Twelve years ago, Anna was attacked in an alley. Her attacker had time to carve a heart into her chest before she was saved by her four friends, foster brothers who would protect her with their lives. When her attacker dies in the alley, Anna worries that the brothers will get in trouble and she hides their involvement with the help of her cop father. To keep from being implicated in the crime, Dante leaves despite his deep love for Anna.
Now Dante is back and before he can even check into a hotel room someone he knows well is found dead in the same alley where Anna was attacked--a heart carved into the chest wall is another unmistakable sign that someone knows about the past and is dragging terrible memories into the present. When Anna is assigned to the crime as the detective in charge, Dante is amazed at the changes in the sweet loving sixteen year old he had to leave behind. The current Anna is tough and ready to take on whatever and whomever she has to to solve the mystery of who knows about that night from twelve years ago.
Dante has a lot of ground to make up with Anna--she doesn't trust him after he left her and his unwillingness to share what he has been doing for the last twelve years does not endear him to her either. Soon Dante is a suspect and as more crimes occur, Anna and Dante find themselves getting deeper--both in the case and with each other. However, as the mystery continues and people close to what happened in the past are put in danger, Dante's innocence becomes more clear while who is really perpetrating the crimes remains frustratingly unknown.
I liked the first half of this book and then the story began to drag. The story felt like it began going in circles without ever getting closer to any type of resolution. And then BOOM at the very last minute the bad guy was revealed and taken out. The reason behind the "who" and "why" of the killer wasn't enough for me--it felt like the person was only chosen for shock value and not because of the reasons outlined in the book. I didn't buy it which made me regret sticking with the book for 400+ pages. Bummer.
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I purchased this book with my own funds.