Publisher: Montlake Romance
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: November 15th 2016
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
Dr. Tessa McGowan had never seen anything quite like it. But the mutilated bodies on her exam table tell a stunningly macabre tale: someone with a twisted mind is kidnapping women and altering their faces to resemble real, life-size dolls. As a forensic pathologist, it’s her job to aid the agent leading the case—even if that agent is her estranged husband.
Twelve years ago an unspeakable tragedy destroyed Dakota Sharp’s world. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, he’s devoted himself to capturing killers. His only regret is that it cost him Tessa. Now, as the Dollmaker case brings them together—and raises his suspicions that he’s crossed paths with this deranged psychopath before—they may just have their second chance. But it seems Dakota’s not the only one who wants to make Tessa his own…
She may be the Dollmaker’s next target, but Tessa has no intention of winding up as another toy on his shelf. Can she and Dakota stop this ghastly killer before his next deadly playdate?
"The Dollmaker" was twisty, suspenseful, creepy, and intriguing. The romance and the mystery are intertwined with the killer having a connection to detective Dakota Sharp's past and the killings a connection to Dakota's wife, Dr. Tessa McGowan. Dakota and Tess married after a fast courtship and separated almost as quickly. Tessa left town, heck left the country, but now she's back and her new job brings her into direct contact with Dakota.
Burton spins out the story, slowly revealing facets of the characters and the mystery. While the mystery kept me engaged, the romance left me feeling ambivalent. Dakota was a good detective but had a tendency to pull away from Tessa and bury himself in his cases. While that was good for his work, it was hell on his marriage. To be honest, I found myself wishing they wouldn't get back together as he didn't seem willing to meet Tessa halfway or change at all. Tessa did all of the changing and compromising. She fought for their marriage while he kept pushing her away for her own good. I wish she'd made him grovel more.
The mystery was full of coincidences but Burton made most of them believable. She took seemingly random facts or events and wove them into a cohesive whole. The killer was devious and patient and frightening. He wanted the perfect woman and was willing to invest time and money in creating her, right down to giving her a new face. I had ideas about his identity but even so, the final reveal took me by surprise. Burton threw in some twists throughout the story and kept the pace even but fast-paced.
"The Dollmaker" was a suspenseful read that will keep you awake at night and eyeing your dolls suspiciously.