While reading the Mary Burton books in order, we continue with The Dollmaker, where we meet Dr. Tessa McGowan, a forensic pathologist, who has recently returned from working abroad to find the strangest case on her table: the mutilated body of a woman who was made to look like a real-life doll.
Dakota Sharp, a Virginia State Police Detective is Tessa’s ex-husband and is the one who caught the strange case.
It seems that there is a serial killer on the loose who kidnaps women, tortures them, tattoos them all over and leaves them in places the where they can be easily found.
But why are the women’s faces tattooed so heavily and what do they have in common with the teen who was killed during a drug deal recently?
Things turn interesting when it is revealed that Tessa is somehow connected to the killer and she might just become one of his next victims because he knows that she is close to finding the clues to his identity.
Now it’s up to Tessa and Dakota to not only find the killer but also find him before Tessa becomes his next life-sized doll.
And when it’s more and more likely that Dakotas’s sister, Kara, was one of the Dollmaker’s first victims some 12 years ago, there is no stopping them from finding out the truth.
Tessa and Dakota had once an explosive but short marriage and now that they’ve met again and have to work on the case together, they realize that their feelings for each other are still as strong.
She is very clear right from the start: she wants to give their relationship, and ultimately their marriage, another go. She knows that they have a real chance at a happy relationship, of only Dakota weren’t so stubborn.
Dakota, however, is afraid.
Is their trust in their love equally strong? Because if Tessa could leave him once, some 8 months ago, maybe she would do it once more, breaking his heart all over again. And that he could no longer endure.
The story is well crafted and as usual, in Mary Burton’s books, the romance elements are strong, but not overpowering the suspense.
The Dollmaker is the second book in The Forgotten Files series, however, it can easily be read as a standalone novel. There is a very tiny overlap in some characters, but the focus is on other couples, which I assume will be the case again in the third book, The Hangman, which will be published next month.
This is another winner from the master of romantic suspense, Mary Burton, and I can’t wait to get my hands on her latest offering.