by Heather Graham

March 2003
ISBN: 1-55166-681-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Trade Paperback

Ashley Montague is a soon to be police officer, who also happens to be a talented artist. When she and two of her friends take a much-needed vacation from Miami to Orlando, they come across a near fatal accident with the victim laying in the median in only his underwear. No matter how hard she tries, Ashley cannot get the disturbing scene out of her mind – or the mysterious figure in black standing in the background, which she sketches repeatedly.

Homicide Detective Jake Dilessio has been obsessed with trying to solve the reasons behind the death of his partner, Nancy, whom he happened to be in love with, since it happened five years ago. When another body is found murdered in a manner similar to killings on the case Nancy was involved with before her death, Jake’s determined to put the real killer behind bars for good. When he meets Ashley, a strong-minded and too-stubborn-for-her-own-good Academy student, she reminds Jake of Nancy, so he immediately reacts in an over-protective chauvinistic manner that has them butting heads from the very beginning.

Ashley definitely wasn’t impressed by her first impression of the highly regarded Detective Dilessio. However, when Ashley discovers that the man she saw laying on the road after the accident she passed is none other than an old good friend of hers, she must seek Jake’s help to uncover the reasons behind the accident. Their work together sparks an instant and undeniable attraction between them. But will Ashley’s investigations into her friend’s accident bring her too close to a killer? And will Jake be able to stop him from striking again?

Picture Me Dead is full of excitement, thrills, suspense and especially the latter half of the novel, it was impossible to put down. Heather Graham is very adept at throwing the suspicion on several of the characters throughout the novel, so you are always pinpointing a different character as the killer. The conclusion was nicely done, explaining the actions of the suspects without long, drawn-out narration.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the suspenseful side to Picture Me Dead, I felt as if the romantic aspect was lacking. When Jake and Ashley are together, they are either having sex or discussing his murder investigation or her friend’s accident. I felt as if there was little chance for them to develop much of a relationship. Also, Jake is initially attracted to Ashley because she reminds him of his old partner Nancy, which he admitted to her. But despite one instance where Ashley contemplates this, it is never brought up again. I think it should have been addressed so that the reader knows that Jake fell in love with Ashley for herself and not because of any resemblance to a former love.

If you enjoy a novel full of suspense, with a bit of romance for good measure, Picture Me Dead is sure to keep you turning the pages until its exciting conclusion!

Reviewed in February 2003 by Nicole.

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