Mary Burton loves writing suspense, getting to know her characters, keeping up with law enforcement and forensic procedure, morning walks, baking, and tiny dachshunds. She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels. Library Journal has compared her work to that of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, and Fresh Fiction likened her writing to that of James Patterson. When it comes to research, she’s known for taking a hands-on approach, whether it means interviewing professionals, attending forensic seminars or studying evidence collection and analysis.
Interview by Elise Cooper
Q. Why did you have the detective going blind—sort of like the 1970s TV show “Longstreet?”
Mary: I played on the theme of Detective Poe being injured. Having talked with some nurses I came up with her having ocular nerve damage after a blow to her head. I wanted to show how someone who loses their sight that was needed for their job could use their heightened senses. Readers will see how this disability makes her better as she navigates the world.
Q. Did you originally have her as a detective?
Mary: Originally, I had her as a teacher in the forensic academy who was blind. She had to go back and solve an old cold case. But I felt I got ahead of myself. I took her through the injury process so readers can see where she was and where she is going.
Q. In the book you show how Jordan must overcome this handicap?
Mary: In the beginning Jordan did not want to adjust to the blindness. It became a learning curve for her. At first, she did not want a cane but gradually accepted it because she is pragmatic and eventually realizes she must move on. She went through a lot of emotions including mourning, loss, grief, fear, denial, depression, anger, and finally acceptance. If this becomes a series, she might get a seeing eye dog. She will only be able to see shadows. Technology can help. There is this sonar training where the blind can be taught to be attuned to sound. They can hear gaps within buildings.
Q. How would you describe Jordan’s sister Avery?
MB: She is a drug addict trying to stay clean. If there is a next book, I envision her as Jordan’s driver. They become their own little team. Her past affects how she feels about herself. She knows it is all about moving forward. She and Jordan are characters whose problems cannot be fixed with a good conversation.
Q. How would you describe Jordan?
Mary: Very tenacious and protective of her sister. Family is very important to her. She is smart, ambitious, savvy, seeks justice, impatient, caring, and fearless. After her accident she wants to gain back her independence and is determined to do so.
Q. How would you describe Texas Ranger Carter Spencer?
Mary: I think the relationship defines him. He became the anchor for Jordan with his steadiness. He is loyal, protective, and a straight talker. At first, they found common ground because both do not like to play politics. Right now, he wants more from the relationship then she is willing to offer because she is still struggling with her handicap.
Q. After the accident Jordan and Avery switched roles?
Mary: Jordan needs to accept that Avery has grown up. Now Avery realizes she has more power to help Jordan and can take care of her. They have each other’s back.
Q. Your next books?
Mary: It is titled The Lies I Told and will probably be out next fall. A cold case will be solved. As far as making this book into a series that depends on my editor. I think it would be fun for me to write a series with continuing characters where Jordan would be a private detective so she can still do what she loves with her sister’s help. If readers want more books, please have them email me at [email protected].
Review by Elise Cooper
Don’t Look Now by Mary Burton shows how each story gets better with every book. There is a lot of suspense and detective work with a tinge of romance. The plot has sexual assault, drug addiction, and graphic scenes of battery along with sibling love.
The plot opens with a serial killer suffocating small blonde females who were drug addicts, by wrapping them in plastic sheeting. Austin homicide detective Jordan Poe fears this is the same man who assaulted her sister Avery two years ago. Because the investigation stalls while the victims mount up, Texas Ranger Carter Spencer is brought onto the case. He butts heads with Jordan, who refuses to step away from the case.
Unfortunately, she suffers a blow to her head and is left with impaired vision after trying to save the killer’s next victim. Now she must come to grips with her daily life, career, and future changed. She realizes she must overcome this along with other things she had to cope with as a child. Having a mother with substance abuse, Jordan had to take care of herself, her mother, and her younger sister. After their mother died, she had to deal with a sister who handled the grief by descending into drug abuse. Thankfully, Avery has been clean and sober for two years because now she must be the eyes and strength for Jordan.
Although Jordan is hard-working and tenacious, she is stubborn and resentful about her condition. But she is also determined to continue working the case despite the impairment. Understanding that Jordan needs a distraction, Texas Ranger Carter Spencer allows her to continue working the case with him. They have a good chemistry between them and form a friend with benefits relationship. Their goal is to capture the killer before there is another victim.
Once again Mary Burton does not disappoint. It is more of a cat and mouse game because some readers might guess the killer, but the emphasis is on how he will be caught. The story is fast paced with non-stop action involving mystery, drama, strong family ties, and a light romance. In fact, if readers want these characters as part of a series with more books email her at [email protected].
Mary Burton's Latest
Austin homicide detective Jordan Poe is hunting a serial killer she fears is the same man who assaulted her sister, Avery, two years ago. The details line up: the victims are the same age, same type, dead by the same grim MO. Luckily Avery survived. But the terrible memories linger, making Jordan more determined than ever to stop this monster in his tracks.
Texas Ranger Carter Spencer isn’t one to poach on a detective’s territory. Yet no matter how resentful a capable lone wolf like Jordan is, when she is attacked at a third crime scene and suffers a trauma that leaves her with limited vision, it’s up to Carter to help Jordan navigate a world she no longer recognizes. He needs her instinct, her experience, and her fearless resolve to crack this case. A case that’s about to get even darker.
A stranger is watching. He’s closing in on his ultimate prey. And no one but the killer can see what’s coming.
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