Following in her father's and grandfather's footsteps, Bernadette "Bernie" Granger is the sheriff of Adams County, Ala. Generally a friendly place, Adams is rocked by the kidnapping, torture and murder of a young woman. Luckily for Bernie, she's hired former Memphis detective Jim Norton as her chief deputy.

To be near his son, divorced father Jim is willing to take a pay cut and move to a small town. Jim barely arrives in town before the first body is found, and he rightly suspects she won't be the only victim. The Secret Admirer killer sends his prospective victims gifts first and attempts to woo them in his own twisted fashion. But he soon falls out of love and then disposes of them -- only to start the terrible process all over again. The most terrifying aspect of this case is that this clever killer always seems to be one step ahead of Bernie and Jim.

A deep exploration of the twisted psychosis of a serial killer makes Barton's thriller creepy to the bone. The protagonists here are no superheroes, just decent people, doing their best under extreme circumstances. This is definitely a book that will make you lock your windows and doors. (Jul., 448 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly