Series: Killer Instinct #2
Published by Harlequin Books on July 25th 2017
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Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Mason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Mason's final victim—Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous "Iceman."
It's Tucker's up close and personal experience with evil that's made him perfect for Samantha Dark's experimental profiling division in the FBI. Samantha wants agents who have personal ties with killers, who have unique insights into the minds of monsters. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.
The last person he expects to see is his ex-lover, Dawn. Ten full years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother…and since he last saw Dawn. But the dark need still burns just as hot between Tucker and Dawn. As they grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both Tucker and Dawn have the same question—has Mason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?
‘Before the Dawn’ is a bit more predictable than Cynthia Eden’s first book in her Killer Instinct series, with a copycat serial killer (with a specific MO) that is typically a trusted ally. But it’s also a second-chance story, where a couple separates for more traumatic reasons than usual—in this case, where neither really didn’t seem to be in a good place to be together—only to be brought back together when a copycat killer emerges.
Romantic suspense—of the thriller kind—and I have a certain relationship: the story unravels as the clues go out while I do the guessing whodunnit game. It’s always fun and entertaining and the stranger and more shocking the twists, the more memorable it is for me. Despite this, the predictability factor, or at least how far into the book I get before guessing who the perpetrator really is, isn’t the only criterion for my rating and/or review of the book. In this case, I had my suspicions but Eden does throw out red herrings that do cause you to doubt your own conclusions.
What frustrated me however, was the push-pull that always comes when both Dawn and Tucker try to rationalise their own feelings away from each other and that sex came rather inconveniently before several truths were brought to light. Such delay tactics simply added to the layer of unrevealed secrets that tainted the relationship before when all they had to do was to sit down and put things out in the open before letting more bodily needs come into play.
‘Before the Dawn’ is an absorbing read nonetheless, even if Eden’s heroes and heroines in all her series do inevitably meld together, bound by the similarities in their tortured backgrounds and hidden pasts. And this probably makes this book less of a standout than it really is because it’s not easy to differentiate between her plots and characters after a while. I’d love to continue this series however, as much as I’d love to have Eden’s protagonists who are somehow more memorably unique in their own ways.