Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Author Interview and Giveaway No Escape by Mary Burton




Burton's Latest Suspense Novel, Published by Zebra Books as a Paperback Original on Sale

October 29th Continues the "Action Packed Tension"* of her Austin Set

THE SEVENTH VICTIM and its Texas Ranger Lead Investigators


"An excellent thriller...a very twisted saga that readers will find unbelievably hard to put down!""Burton (Before She Dies) delivers action-packed tension...the blooming love interest between Beck and Lara, the number of red-herring suspects, and the back story on the victims make this a compelling romantic thriller."

--Publishers Weekly

"With plenty of procedural details, red herrings and spine-chilling danger, this tale of romantic suspense will keep readers up all night."


"Burton's crisp storytelling, solid pacing and well-developed plot will draw you in, and the strong suspense will keep you hooked and make this story hard to put down."

--RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

"Best-selling author Mary Burton unleashes her most terrifying romantic suspense yet."

--Happily Ever After, USA Today

"A thrill-a-minute rollercoaster ride with curlicue plot twists and a breathtaking sudden-stop conclusion."


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary Burton, whose work has been compared to that of Stieg Larson,** Lisa Gardner*** and Lisa Jackson,**** left behind her Virginia roots to move the action west in her latest thrillers, NO ESCAPE, a paperback original on sale October 29th, and her highly praised bestseller THE SEVENTH VICTIM.There she put her murder investigations into the hands of the elite, Austin-based Texas Rangers and their colleagues. One associate, forensic psychologist Dr. Jolene Granger, has helped solve cases of multiple murders in the past.Now, she's about to become a victim.

Jo did her dissertation on serial killer Harvey Lee Smith.That's the only reason she can think of for why he wants her--and only her-- to be the one to hear his dying confession.She agrees, vowing not to let this monster who buried his victims alive claim a foothold in her psyche.She hopes to learn about bodies never found and to bring closure to families who have not been able to lay their missing loved ones to rest. She knows Harvey has secrets to share.They're just not all the kind that Jo wants to hear.

She's also not expecting to encounter Brody Winchester, whose arrest of Harvey earned him his Texas Ranger star.But there he is.Newly transferred to Ranger headquarters in Austin and determined to stick close until the unaccounted victims are found.Too bad the two haven't spoken since the divorce that severed their brief and painful marriage.

As the investigation continues, Harvey hints at secrets that involve Jo, and seems to know more about her than makes sense.Unnerved by the man and his insights, Jo questions why Harvey's really pulled her into his sphere and why, suddenly, she and those around her are targets of unexpected violence.

Ill and with his every movement monitored, Harvey exudes menace, despite no longer being a threat. Or is he?Someone is killing women just the way Harvey did, sending furtive messages to him claiming credit and seeking approval.

Harvey's got a prot g , one who's becoming bolder and more vicious every day.Brody and Jo have to find the secrets among the shallow graves and complete the puzzle before its creator takes his final bow.They need to do it now.Harvey's about to die, and the killer isn't finished yet.

Once again, Mary Burton weaves strong, distinctive characters and a plot with one foot in facts and the other in nightmares to create a story that one can only hope will never be "ripped" from the actual headlines.



New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Mary Burton has been intrigued by investigative work and the people who do it since Virginia, her home state, was stung by a string of serial killings that spanned more than twenty years.Not surprisingly, many of Mary's suspense novels are fueled by the acts of multiple killers and the people who pursue them, as is NO ESCAPE, her latest and the second in a trio of stories set in and around Austin that began with THE SEVENTH VICTIM. Her third Austin-set novel, YOU'RE NOT SAFE, will be published in April 2014.

The author of twenty novels and three novellas, her earlier novels include I'm Watching You, Dead Ringer and Dying Scream, set in her home town of Richmond, and Senseless, Merciless and Before She Dies, set in Alexandria.

Mary's research has led to meetings with key members of law enforcement, to seminars and classes, and to the firing range.She is a graduate of the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy and the Richmond FBI Citizen's Academy, and has attended Sisters in Crime's Forensic University program and the Writers Police Academy in Jamestown, North Carolina.

A Richmond native whose family roots run as deep as the nation's, Mary has lived there for most of her life.She graduated from Virginia's Hollins University and had a career in marketing before deciding to write full time. Her first manuscript, a historical romance, was published in 2000.

She is a member of Thriller Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, for which she is president of the Central Virginia chapter. She travels often for signings, speaking engagements and other appearances.She is a frequent speaker regarding writing and genre fiction, and continues to present her "Unraveling Romantic Suspense" workshop and her day-long program "Writing Your Book...The First Step."

Mary is currently at work on her next novel, set in Nashville, and anticipating the November publication of her new Union Street Bakery novel, Sweet Expectations, written as Mary Ellen Taylor.


Mary, welcome!Thank you for joining us.

You've created homicide departments for both the Richmond and Alexandria police departments for your books.Why the switch to what seems to be a more formal "agency?"Aren't the Texas Rangers more like the FBI?

The Texas Rangers are an elite group of men and women within the Texas Department of Public Safety and have a lot more resources than most local Police Departments.I thought it would be interesting (for me and readers) to have more and quicker access to information and forensic data in the pursuit of this particular killer, especially considering the condensed time period in NO ESCAPE. I was also influenced by the reputation and history of the Rangers.They're the source of legends.Often you hear the phrase 'One Riot, One Ranger,' associated with this elite group of lawmen.Created in 1823, the Rangers have state wide authority, which also opened up some plot opportunities.

THE SEVENTH VICTIM was the first time you set a book in Austin, the headquarters of the Texas Rangers. Now you're taking us back there in NO ESCAPE.What's happening now?

I'm betting you've already guessed there's trouble afoot.It begins with an old case, when serial killer Harvey Lee Smith insists on telling his deathbed confession to THE SEVENTH VICTIM'S forensic psychologist Jo Granger. She wants to find out what Harvey has yet to share--the whereabouts of victims whose families hope for closure.She doesn't expect him to get inside her head.And she doesn't expect to encounter ex-husband Brody Winchester, who earned his Texas Ranger star arresting Harvey. And nobody expects a new killer, one that's mirroring Harvey's terrifying M.O. of burying his victims alive.

Harvey manages to "get inside" Jo's head by turning the conversation to her, asking her questions and telling her to "look inside herself." What makes her susceptible to his probing?

She's grown up with questions about her family.Her parents told her one story all her life and, for reasons she's never been able to explain, that story just never rang true.Harvey seems to understand that she has questions about her childhood.

Brody Winchester and Jo are suddenly thrust together because of Harvey.It's the first time they've seen each other since they divorced fourteen years ago, after a brief, painful marriage. They have a lot of baggage.What made you think they could ever get over their past?

They were young when they were first married and both have grown up over the last fourteen years. I had confidence that they'd realize it was okay to forgive each other for mistakes that they both regret.

Brody takes a lot of heat for his past behavior. How difficult was it to make him a character readers can root for?

How many of us have made mistakes in our youth?Brody is no different.However, he owns up to his mistakes and he wants to make amends.I thought he deserved a second chance and that readers would come to agree with me.

So many characters in the book are keeping secrets.Harvey, the copy-cat killer, and Jo's mother keep people in the dark.What are Jo's secrets?Brody's?

Brody's secret is that he never believed he was good enough for Jo.That belief plagued him greatly when he was younger and may have contributed to some of his bad decisions.Now that he's older, confident, and a success in his own right, he can be the man Jo deserves.And Jo, well, I don't see her as having secrets.She's the one honest person in the book.She's always suspected her mother held secrets and she decided early in her life to be upfront and honest.

Suspense novels and romantic suspense are consistently popular with readers.Why is that?

In my mind romance and suspense are the prefect blend of genres.You've got the sizzle of romance and the smoke of the mystery.One offers the reader hope at the end and the other offers justice.And what I really love about the blend is that each creates such delightful conflict for the other.


I love it.There are so many angles that I can use to approach romantic suspense that when I'm writing one I just never get tired of it.

What's next?

I'm calling upon the Texas Rangers again for YOU'RE NOT SAFE, which will be published in April.This time it's Ranger Tec Bragg and vineyard owner Greer Templeton.Though favorite characters will return to the story, this is the first time readers will meet Tec and Greer.And, as do NO ESCAPE and THE SEVENTH VICTIM, it takes place around Austin, this time on a vineyard in the Hill Country.

Where can readers find out more about your books and work-in- progress?

I post updates and photos and check in often on Facebook, so there's lots of info there.And my site is always open at www.maryburton.com.Now, as my calendar is shaping up for 2014, I also expect to have lots of opportunities to visit with readers and other writers in person.Events are listed on my site at http://www.maryburton.com/events/.

Thanks for having me!



Mary Burton

Zebra Books/Mass Market Original/Fiction

November 2013/On Sale 10-29-13/$7.99 ($8.99 Canada)





Her phone buzzed again twenty seconds later and she snapped it up, annoyed."Mr. Gentry said this is in reference to Mr. Smith."

"Mr. Smith?"

"That's all he'd say."

"I'll take the call."She punched line two."Mr. Gentry, this is Dr. Granger.What can I do for you?"

A man cleared his throat."I was the attorney for Mr. Harvey Smith.I assume you are acquainted with him."

"I am."She clicked through her memory."And you defended him at his trial."

"That is correct, Dr. Granger."

She picked up a pen and doodled circles on her blotter."What can I do for you?"

"Before he was arrested three years ago, he contacted me and gave me a package, which I was to deliver to you at the time of his death."

She held her breath."What's in the package?"

He hesitated."I do not know.All I know is that I got his assurance that it contained nothing considered illegal."

What did Mr. Gentry consider illegal?When she'd read the trial transcripts she'd judged his definition as relaxed."Can you send it to me?"

"You are to come to my office and sign for it personally."

"I don't have time for that.Would you courier it to me?"

"Mr. Smith was specific that I see you sign for it."

She didn't like having her actions dictated by a dead man.But to ignore the package was to ignore possible evidence that could help with the current murder investigation."I'll be there in fifteen minutes."

"Good.Very good."He gave her his address.

The drive across town took twenty minutes, and by the time she parked, a half hour had passed.Gentry's office was located in a high-rise with sleek glass windows and a marble foyer.A scan of the directory in the lobby and a punch of the buttons and she arrived at Gentry's tenth-floor office.

The offices were as nice as the entryway, and she could see that Gentry's practice was profitable.He'd garnered a great deal of publicity from the Smith trial and had shown himself to the world to be a quick-minded attorney.

The receptionist was as sleek as the office and the moment she saw Jo she announced her to Gentry.The attorney greeted her within seconds of her arrival.

Gentry was a short man in his mid-fifties with a thick belly and dark hair that had thinned considerably.

But his suit wasn't off the rack as it had been during Smith's trial, but custom.Gold, monogramed cuff links winked in the light from a large picture window behind his desk.

He extended his hand to her."Dr. Granger.So glad you could come quickly."

She accepted his hand, noting it was too soft for her liking."You made it difficult to resist."

"I am following my client's instructions."


He escorted her into his office and to a plush mid-century modern chair by a chrome desk.Behind him, glass windows offered a spectacular view of the river.

"Can I offer you coffee or tea?A soda perhaps?"

"I'm fine.I need to collect what Smith left me and be on my way."

"Yes."He reached behind his desk and lifted a small beaten-up shoebox wrapped in duct tape.The box stood in stark contrast to the office's sleek surroundings.A spider in a lush bowl of cream.A cancer.A reminder that no matter how much money Mr. Gentry had spent on his new life, it had been built on the back of something very ugly.

She accepted the box, noting it wasn't too heavy.God, but she did not want this box.Did not want this morbid connection to a dead man who'd dedicated his life to evil.

"I have a letter opener if you'd like to open it now," he said.

She stared at the secured lid."Thank you, but I'd rather not open it now."

His face frowned his disappointment."You aren't going to open it?"

"Not now."As he continued to stare she added, "I was to sign for it but I don't need to open it in your presence."



He cleared his throat."If you do not want the box I can take it for you, examine the contents and destroy it."

She really looked at him for the first time.Keen interest sparked in his gaze."What was Mr. Smith like when you represented him?"

"Honestly, he was delightful.He was courteous.Kept up with the current events and was always curious about what was going on in the world."

"I would think he'd have worried about his defense."

Gentry adjusted a cuff."He never had a real interest in his case."

"Odd, considering the consequences he faced."

"Believe me, we had this discussion many times.I wanted him to be engaged and to worry about what

could happen.But he didn't care, as if relieved to be behind bars.As long as he could read and write he was happy."

She dropped her gaze to the box and smoothed her hand over it.

He leaned forward."Do you mind me asking you a question?"

"You may ask."

"Why ask me to hold a box for you?Who are you to him?"

"I don't know."

"Only once did he mention you.He'd been convicted and sentenced to death.I'd come to talk to him about appeals, but he showed more interest in an award you'd earned.It had been written up in the paper."

She smoothed her hand gently over the rough cardboard as if it could bite.Finally she rose."Thank you."

"You'll let me know what is in the box?"

"Why do you care?"

"The most notorious serial killer in the last fifty years leaves a box in my charge.I'm curious.Curious enough in fact to have it X-rayed soon after he gave it to me."


"I wanted to make sure there wasn't anything really unseemly in the box."He dropped his voice a notch."I've read how killers like him like to keep trophies.Body parts and such."

Somehow she doubted Mr. Smith would have left her anything gruesome.It would have been rude, uncouth.

She signed the receipt stating she'd accepted the box and with it in hand, she left a disappointed Gentry.Outside the building, she inhaled deeply, savoring the warm air, which eased the chill seeping from the box.

She didn't think about where she was going because she knew if she thought too hard about her destination she'd find a way to second-guess herself.Going to Brody was getting to be a habit.A bad habit.And if she had sense, she'd find another way.But right now, she couldn't think of another person to be with when she opened the box.

Fifteen minutes later, Jo walked through the main doors of the Rangers' Austin office and stopped at the reception desk."Is Ranger Winchester here?Jo Granger to see him."

"Let me check."The officer cast her a skeptical gaze when he announced her on the phone.His eyes widened with a startled surprise.Brody was coming.

Seconds later, Brody emerged from a side door.Jacketless and hatless, he had rolled up his sleeves to reveal tanned muscled forearms."Jo, is everything all right?"

A week ago he'd called her Dr. Granger.Formality had been a polite a barrier between them.Somewhere along the way that fence had dropped and awareness had developed.They'd never be lovers again, but maybe there could be room for friendship.She certainly needed a friend right now.

"Is there somewhere private where we could talk?"

"Up in my office."He pulled the box out of her hands as if he understood she hated touching it.

She flexed her fingers as they made her way to his office and didn't release the breath she was holding until he closed the door behind them.

"Who sent you the box?"

She explained about Gentry and the call.

Brody's jaw tightened, released."First the visit. Now the box.Smith can't stay out of your life."

"Don't forget the letter."

"Smith didn't write it.It's a great forgery."

She smoothed her hands over her skirt, trying to erase the weight of the box from her hands."They're taking over my life."

"No, they are not."Brody reached in his pocket and pulled out a pocketknife, flipped it open and pressed it to the old cracked tape."I'm going to open this?"

A single nod was all she offered as she folded her arms over her chest and watched.

With a quick sure stroke he pulled the blade over the tape's crease between the lid and the box and sliced it open.Carefully, he removed the top.

Inside were stacks of letters.He picked up the first and studied the address."It's addressed to you.Dated twenty years ago.March 24."

She frowned."My birthday."

(c) Mary Burton

1,490 words
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