Before She Dies 

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Bestselling author Mary Burton is making life difficult for Detective Daniel Rokov and his colleagues in Alexandria, Virginia’s Homicide Unit in BEFORE SHE DIES. Along with Rokov, Burton brings back Detectives Malcolm Kier and Deacon Garrison, Angie Carlson and high-powered attorney Charlotte Wellington. Charlotte is a woman with secrets. She’s reinvented herself, fighting hard to escape her past as a youthful, orphaned carnival fortuneteller and the horror of her sister Mariah’s murder. Today, no one would guess that her new name, law degree and perfect exterior hide memories of Grady Tate, the hard, cold alcoholic carnie boss who had been her stepfather. They also disguise the hole in her heart left by Mariah and her daughter, who was adopted as an infant. When Grady shows up offering to trade his silence for help with a trumped-up shoplifting charge, Charlotte is stunned to find out that she’ll be defending eighteen-year-old Sooner, the niece who was eight days old when she last saw her. Furious at Grady for reneging on his promise to find Sooner a real home, she’s even angrier when she learns Sooner’s been working as “Madame Divine”—the fortune teller role her late mother and both Mariah and Charlotte played. Leaving court after having charges against Sooner dismissed, Charlotte runs into Rokov. The memory of their all-too-recent night together rekindles her fear that he thinks their casual affair can become something more. Rokov, however, has too much on his plate to worry about his love life. He’s just come from Alexandria’s touristy Old Town, where a young woman has been found dead, staked to the floor of anabandoned building, the word “witch” tattooed on her forehead, her body surrounded by a circle of salt. A second ritualistic killing confirms suspicions that a multiple murderer is at work, and hints at a pattern among the victims. Both are connected to the occult. Grady becomes a key suspect as news ofsimilar deaths along the carnival’s route emerges. Meanwhile, emotions run high between Rokov and Charlotte as he tries to break through the hard exterior she’s created to protect herself. Suddenly, Sooner goes missing. Charlotte’s certain it’s because of Grady trying to increase business by touting Sooner’s psychic ability and saying she was on the trail of the killer. Unfortunately, it seems the killer’s motives go much deeper, with roots planted two decades ago and unfinished business that can only be concluded with Charlotte’s death.

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