Dollmaker Book Review *Mary Burton*
Dr. Tessa McGowan had never seen anything quite like it. But the mutilated bodies on her exam table tell a stunningly macabre tale: someone with a twisted mind is kidnapping women and altering their faces to resemble real, life-size dolls. As a forensic pathologist, it’s her job to aid the agent leading the case—even if that agent is her estranged husband.
Twelve years ago an unspeakable tragedy destroyed Dakota Sharp’s world. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, he’s devoted himself to capturing killers. His only regret is that it cost him Tessa. Now, as the Dollmaker case brings them together—and raises his suspicions that he’s crossed paths with this deranged psychopath before—they may just have their second chance. But it seems Dakota’s not the only one who wants to make Tessa his own…
She may be the Dollmaker’s next target, but Tessa has no intention of winding up as another toy on his shelf. Can she and Dakota stop this ghastly killer before his next deadly playdate?
The Dollmaker(The Forgotten Files #2) by Mary Burton is a great suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It has a great CSI/Law and Order feel, and has a nice romances that should appeal to romance readers. There are many twists and turns here, and some interconnecting stories that come out of nowhere and add to the tension and suspense.
The title is regarding a serial killer named The Dollmaker who drugs and kidnaps women in order to transform them into dolls. He goes as far to tattoo makeup on their faces to transform them into human dolls. But this killers wants these dolls to be lifelike but not alive. As soon as he finishes their transformation, he kills them, has sex with them and then discards them, looking for his next victim to make into a doll.
Tessa has become part of the medical examiner team after a year of some heartache. She is separated from her husband, Dakota, a detective who just lost his stepfather, who he was never really close to. Dakota’s life has been full of tragedy, staring with his younger half-sister who died 12 years ago. It was assumed she died of a drug overdose. At Dakota’s father’s funeral, the retired sheriff says that there’s more to his sister’s death, even though it has been closed. Dakota’s step-father spent the least decade trying to prove that his daughter was murdered. Dakota will humor the sheriff and see if there are an inconstancies. Around this time, a young teenager is found stabbed and dead, including another women found, but tortured and dressed and made up as a doll. Tessa is called on the case, which puts her and Dakota in an uncomfortable situation because of their separation. Tessa wants to work on their relationship and stay married even though Dakota thinks it’s over between them.
The serial killer is targeting specific woman, and Tess may be the next victim. Dakota’s sister may have been the killer’s start of creating his macabre dolls but made a mistake. Not only does Dakota have to solve this case and put all the puzzles pieces together, but keep Tessa safe before the killer can grab her and transform her into his most special doll of all.
The Dollmaker is an excellent suspense thriller that will keep you guessing. Things didn’t come together for me until the last few chapter. As the case unravels, the reader is with Dakota who used great investigation skills to figure out why the killer is striking, and when it all began. Dakota is a bit tortured emotionally because of his guilt of not protecting his younger sister. Tessa wants to help Dakota, but doesn’t know how to. But their love and passion for one another is strong, and they help heal comfort one another through sex. Their relationship doesn’t take over the plot since the main plot is about the case and a sick individual obsessed with harming women for his own pleasure. His connection to Dakota and Tessa is the ultimate surprise, which I didn’t see coming.
The ending is pretty typical of what you would find in romance suspense. But the way we get there won’t disappoint. The murders are gruesome and may give you the chills, but not overly graphic. I can really see The Dollmaker as a great TV movie. A recommended read for fans of romantic suspense and/or police procedurals dealing with serial killers. (Montlake Romance)
Final Grade: B+